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Season of black theatre work slated for 2019

Don Warrington, Lenny Henry and Meera Syal will advise on the West End season. Photos: Jonathan Keenan/Manuel Harlan/Tristram Kenton Don Warrington, Lenny Henry and Meera Syal will advise on the 2019 season. Photos: Jonathan Keenan/Manuel Harlan/Tristram Kenton
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A season of black, Asian and minority ethnic-led theatre that was mooted to be coming to the West End this year will be taking place in 2019.

The project, which counts Lenny Henry, Meera Syal and Don Warrington among its artistic advisers, was first announced in 2016 after receiving funding from Arts Council England.

Original reports stated the three-month season would be happening in 2018, however organisers have now confirmed it will be happening next year.

It is being curated by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company, with commercial producers Ambassador Theatre Group and Bill Kenwright.

Birmingham Rep executive director Stuart Rogers said: “Our application to Arts Council England for funding from its sustained theatre season strand was for a season of work in Birmingham and the West End to take place in either 2018 or 2019, depending on the availability of actors, creative team members and venues.

“We’re currently working with our partners Talawa Theatre, Bill Kenwright and ATG on plans for next year, and we hope to be able to announce details soon.”

The project, which is the centrepiece of a £2.1 million programme to create and tour new plays by BAME theatremakers, received £478,671 from ACE. Activity funded by the sustained theatre scheme must take place before the end of 2019.

The plans include opening work in Birmingham before transferring it to the West End, and it is intended to reach people who have rarely or never seen live theatre before.

When the project was first announced, Syal said it was “exciting news for audiences and actors”, while Birmingham Rep artistic director Roxana Silbert said the season would “crash through that glass ceiling”.

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