If this season in Brum is about anything, it’s about taking to the stage. With events and awards running right through to December – from literature, through boundary-pushing live art, to music and film industry accolades – you’ll have no trouble finding entertainment to suit your fancy.
The Birmingham Rep is now 100 years old and returns in considerable style with an extra studio space and a shared foyer with the new library, while this year’s Comedy Festival includes Russell Brand’s biblically sized Messiah Complex hitting town, the opening of a brand new comedy club, and about 60 shows worth of mirth and merriment.
Over at The Rep, Paul Reece – Head of Marketing and Communications – is practically jumping up and down with excitement in anticipation of the inaugural programme, with the main auditorium hosting Alan Bennett’s new play, People, which sent the theatre- loving masses all of a quiver in London last year.
And if you think Macbeth was only just getting going when it finished, help is
at hand with David Greig’s Dunsinane imagining ‘what happened next’ once the hurly burly was done. Siobhan Redmond (frosty Shona Spurtle from anarchic sitcom The High Life) plays Lady Macbeth, so you’ll be able to find out just how mad the old dear went after causing all that fuss, although whether any of the witches finally get a name we cannot say.
Soweto Kinch is a MOBO Best Jazz Act double award winner and is bringing a musical and visual feast to The Rep with a powerful staging of his next album, The Legend of Mike Finch. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno and The Seven Deadly Sins, but quite literally jazzed up for a hip-hop age, it’s a voyage through the struggles of an aspiring musician.
But it’s not just in its auditoriums where The Rep is putting on a show. As well as taking to the streets with a number of outdoor performances, they’ll be sitting poets in corners and giving bands a chance to play their wares.
“The idea”, says Paul, “is that anytime is a good time to wander in and see something happening”.