Laurence Olivier, Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branagh and John Gielgud are just a few of the theatrical legends who have trodden the boards at the Birmingham Rep – although those boards were first laid in Station Street in 1913 by theatre impresario Sir Barry Jackson before being shifted to Broad Street in the 1970s.
It’s been a long time since the theatre had its own in-house repertory cast, but Jonathan Church’s inventive stewardship as artistic director in the early 2000s saw audiences balloon to the point where the Rep became the leading light of Birmingham’s theatrical scene.
The building received a lick of paint alongside the development of the new Library of Birmingham, and since its reopening in 2013 (the year of its centenary) the Rep has been balancing the necessity of attracting large audiences with a commitment to risk-taking. It’s done this by offering touring productions in the main house featuring some well-known names, alongside works from new writers – many of them Midlands-based – in its smaller spaces of The Studio and The Door.
The Rep also has its own restaurant, a small affair clunkily known as Rep Eats! that probably won’t blow your culinary mind, but the theatre’s location in the centre of town means there are plenty of other options on offer nearby, ensuring time to have a leisurely meal before opening curtain.