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Sean Foley appointed artistic director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Sean Foley will take over the artistic directorship of Birmingham Repertory Theatre later this year. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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Birmingham Repertory Theatre has appointed Sean Foley as its new artistic director.

His appointment comes alongside new deputy artistic and executive directors at the theatre – Amit Sharma and Rachael Thomas.

Foley will replace Roxana Silbert in leading the Birmingham Theatre. She leaves to take up the artistic directorship of Hampstead Theatre in London.

Foley’s directing credits include Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, which won an Olivier award in 2014, The Ladykillers and I Can’t Sing, as well as films such as Mindhorn.

He co-wrote and starred in The Play What I Wrote and Do You Come Here Often?, both of which won best new comedy Olivier awards, and co-founded the theatre company the Right Size with Hamish McColl, which operated between 1988 and 2006.

Foley, who grew up in Birmingham, said he wants to create “a national home for truly popular theatre” at Birmingham Rep, adding: “Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s history as one of the most important theatres in the country is inspiring. Birmingham itself has always had an exceptional level of creativity and innovation, and has a unique and world-class cultural ecology. I’m tremendously honoured to be invited to contribute to that, and to have been appointed artistic director at this groundbreaking theatre.”

Roxana Silbert announced as Hampstead Theatre’s new artistic director

Sharma has been appointed deputy artistic director. He has held the role of associate director at Graeae Theatre Company since 2011 and was associate artistic director of Manchester’s Royal Exchange until earlier this year. His directing credits include Jack Thorne’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water.

He joins the theatre alongside Thomas, who will be its new executive director. She joins from Derby Theatre, where she held the same role, and will replace Stuart Rogers.

Foley, Sharma and Thomas will all take up their roles in the spring and summer of this year, with their first season of work starting in 2020.

Angela Maxwell, chair of the board, said: “The board set out to find a leadership team with a creative and cultural reputation who could take the theatre on to even greater success as a leading player in contemporary British theatre.

“Sean, Amit and Rachael are an exciting combination and in them we have found a dream team with a passion for theatre, commitment to excellence and an ambition to raise the profile and impact of the Rep for the future. We’re thrilled they have chosen to come and work with us and they demonstrate Birmingham’s growing cultural confidence and ability to attract artistic talent.”

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