West Midlands and Shropshire theatre round-up

An historic theatre in Birmingham that has welcomed some of the most famous performers of the past century is celebrating a second first birthday.

The Old Rep is marking the first anniversary of its re-launch as an independent, young-people-driven venue in the heart of Birmingham, with an exciting new season.

New work made in Birmingham and a range of visiting comedy, dance, drama and work for families are at the heart of its new programme.

The Old Rep has been described as one of Birmingham’s hidden gems and is the oldest purpose-built repertory theatre in the country, with 100 years of rich theatrical history.

Spokeswoman Emma Cann said: “Central to the celebration of this first year under the new vision is the Old Rep’s continued relationship with world-leaders Frantic Assembly.

“As the Birmingham partner for Frantic Assembly’s Ignition talent development programme, in 2015, the Old Rep doubled participation in the physical theatre training scheme, with three young men from Birmingham successfully making the national company of 12.

“This year, Frantic Ignition is creating an original piece that will be performed at New Street Station (September 24) as part of B-Side Festival, a new hip-hop event co-produced by The Old Rep and Birmingham Hippodrome.

“Building from this success, the Old Rep is delighted to announce two new partnerships with high-calibre companies. We will be hosting a workshop and performance residency with Motionhouse (Scattered, January 31 to February 3) and welcoming the National Youth Theatre (Saturday February 18 to Sunday 19) for the first time in early 2017.”

Autumn 2016 heralds the return of The Old Rep’s popular New Work Nights: a ‘theatre social’ which sees local artists present new works in development alongside headline touring dance and drama performances. 

Another cause for celebration is Mandala Theatre’s Night Light, first seen as a work-in-progress at a New Work Night in January 2016, which premieres at the Old Rep as the headline of the New Work Night on Tuesday September 27, prior to its national tour.

Another key factor in the Old Rep’s success has been its emergence as a key comedy venue.

The new season includes Marcus Brigstocke, Matt Forde, Justin Moorhouse and, back by popular demand, Stephen K Amos and Shazia Mirza, between October and December.

Ms Cann added: “The season is completed with a visit from one of the country’s leading children’s theatre companies, Little Angel, with family favourite We’re Going On A Bear Hunt.”

More details are available at www.oldreptheatre.co.uk and 0121 359 9444.

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