Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Rep reopens after revamp

Birmingham Rep's Studio theatre
Image caption The remodelled Rep is part of the £189 redevelopment on Centenary Square, including the new library

Birmingham's Rep theatre has reopened after a two-and-a-half-year redevelopment.

The work has seen the creation of a new 300-seat auditorium, extended foyer and refurbished bars and restaurants.

New backstage facilities have also been built, including dressing rooms, wig and make-up departments and set construction areas.

The remodelled theatre is attached to the £189m new library, which also opened on Tuesday.

The reopening of the Rep coincides with its centenary year.

A preview of Alan Bennett's play People starts later, with it opening to the public on Friday. The Rep said ticket sales were going very well.

Executive director Stuart Rogers said hundreds of people had wandered into the theatre on Tuesday, keen to see the results of the redevelopment.

He said the link with the library also seemed to be working well, allowing people to pass between the two venues almost without noticing.

'Best directors'

Much of the work at the Rep has focused on stripping back additions to the building over the past 40 years, to reveal Graham Winteringham's original design.

Image caption This year marks the centenary of the Rep

"We feel it's true to the 1970s architecture but also includes the best technology of the 21st Century," Mr Rogers said.

"There's a huge amount of work backstage as well, such as new apartments and rehearsal spaces for visiting directors. That's important for the long-term health of the theatre.

"It allows us to attract the best directors and other talent. People will want to work in Birmingham.

"The new venue, in the middle in terms of scale between the main house and The Door, also allows us to diversify our productions."

The reopening of the Rep also brings to a close two and a half years on the road for the theatre company, staging productions in venues such as community libraries, army barracks and even Chinese restaurants.

Mr Rogers said teams were looking forward to working in the new facilities, but would also miss some of the creative challenges of life on the road.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites