Birmingham is jam-packed with theatrical venues, from the huge stages of The Hippodrome and The Alexandra, to smaller venues like the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) and the Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre. Whether you’re looking for serious theatre, pantomime fun or amateur drama, there will be something for everyone at one of Birmingham’s arts institutions. Here’s a run down of some of the best productions running in the second city this month.
Birmingham Rep, Saturday 17th February – Saturday 16th March 2024
Another exciting one! Bhangra Nation – A New Musical’s UK Premiere is landing in Birmingham at the Rep Theatre!
The musical follows Mary and Preeti’s Bhangra team as they qualify for Nationals. Drawing from competitive Bhangra, interspersed with a range of other Indian and Western dance forms, Bhangra Nation promises to be a vibrant and intoxicatingly joyful musical comedy.
Created by an international creative team, and brought together by Tony and Grammy Award-winning producers Mara Isaacs (Hadestown), Tom Kirdahy (Hadestown, The Inheritance) and Peggy Koenig, Bhangra Nation promises to be a must-see cultural phenomenon, with a predominately South Asian led cast and input from Bhangra experts Parambeer Samrai (dance) and Kuljit Bhamra (music).
Celebrating traditions both inherited and created, the Rep hope that Bhangra Nation will resonate with Birmingham’s South Asian community, and with a wide audience of theatre-goers. The musical is fast, fun, accessible and entertaining, and tickets are available here.
Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 5th March – Sunday 7th April 2024
An absolute classic, and dubbed ‘One of the most successful musicals of all time’ by BBC News, the epic musical ‘Wicked’ is hitting Brum on Tuesday 5th March.
The musical is based on the critically acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire, imagining a fascinating backstory and a world of future possibilities for the universally beloved characters from ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. Sharing the decisions and events that shape the destinies of two unlikely university friends, on their journey to becoming ‘Glinda The Good’ and the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’, this is a musical for old and new fans alike. The pair struggle to maintain their friendship under the weight of opposing personalities, societal judgements and heartache, and set to a truly magnificent score, this is a story fit to last.
With all of the scenery, effects and truly superb acting that make this musical so special, it promises to be a truly magical production. The play is running for a month at the Hippodrome, but is expected to be very popular, so it will be worth getting your tickets well in advance! They are currently available here.
Madagascar: The Musical
Alexandra Theatre, Thursday 14th March – Sunday 17th March 2024
If you’re looking for a family-friendly fun day out this month, Madagascar: The Musical might be just what you’re after. Featuring much-loved faces from the popular movie, brought to life with cracking costumes, wild and wonderful adventures, and an upbeat score, this one will make you want to ‘move it, move it!’
Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, used to strutting his stuff as the main attraction at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Alongside his best friends – Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo – the group have spent their whole lives in captivity before an admiring public and with regular meals provided for them. Beginning to suspect that there might be more to life than showtime, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape – with the help of some prodigious penguins – to explore the world.
Starring CBBC and Strictly Come Dancing legend Karim Zeroual as fan-favourite King Julian, Madagascar: The Musical is a bundle of laughs and is not to be missed! The show runs for less than a week at the Alexandra, so it is worth booking in advance to avoid missing out. You can pick up tickets for you and the family here.
Birmingham Rep, Friday 22nd March – Saturday 6th April 2024
Another adaptation, this one for slightly older audiences and decidedly not a musical! This electrifying production of Phillip K. Dick’s epic sci-fi thriller challenges our beliefs about freewill, justice and autonomy, in a fast-paced chase through London of the future.
The year is 2050, and neuroscientist Dame Julia Anderton is just about to launch the next phase of her pioneering Pre-Crime programme, monitoring people’s thoughts and detaining them before the crimes are committed. When Dame Julia is accused of pre-murder, she finds herself in a race against time to defend herself from her own system.
If you were lucky enough to catch Life of Pi in Birmingham last month, you’ll be familiar with the directorial marvel that is Max Webster. And if you’ve turned on your TV, or been to the theatre, ever, you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with the wonderful David Haig (Killing Eve, Four Weddings and a Funeral) whose writing Webster has brought to life.
We’re incredibly excited to catch this production at the Rep Theatre this month, and if you are too, you can grab your tickets here.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Friday 1st March – Saturday 30th March 2024
This is a hugely anticipated production from the RSC, and one of Shakespeare’s finest and most popular comedies.
Starring Matthew Baynton (Horrible Histories, Ghosts, Wonka) as the mischievous Puck, the real and fairy worlds collide in this magical classic.
Four young lovers, faced with the prospect of unhappy marriage or worse, flee the court of Athens and stumble into an enchanted forest. Nearby, a group of amateur actors are rehearsing a play, to celebrate an impending royal wedding. As these mere mortals cross paths with a fairy King and Queen, chaos reigns in the natural world. The lines between reality and illusion start to blur and no-one but playful Puck knows what is true and what is magic.
This is a hugely popular production, and tickets are already nearly sold out! To secure your spot, head over to the RSC’s website, here, and snap them up while they last.
Ben and Imo
Swan Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Friday 1st March – Saturday 6th April 2024
Another production from the RSC, over in Stratford-Upon-Avon, this time in the Swan Theatre. Ben and Imo tells the story of iconic composer Benjamin Britten, who has just 9 months to write a new opera about Queen Elizabeth I, before the fast-approaching 1953 Coronation of the new Queen Elizabeth II.
Amidst this chaos, in sweeps the passionate and spirited Imogen Holst, daughter of renowned composer Gustav Holt, and a powerhouse of a musician in her own right. With a can-do attitude, candid manner and oodles of charm, she proves to be the perfect foil for the maddening Britten. Ben and Imo follows the bond which lasts the duration of their lives, in a touching tribute to the duo whose musical influence is felt to this day.
This is something wonderfully fresh for the RSC, and we’re heading to Stratford for tomorrow’s press night. Keep an eye out for our review over the coming days!
There’s a nice long run for this show, lasting until April, but once again, tickets will sell fast – it is the RSC after all! To grab them while you can, head over to their website, here.
And Then There Were None
Alexandra Theatre, Tuesday 5th March – Saturday 9th March 2024
And then there were none. Just kidding, there’s one more fantastic play left on our list, and it’s an absolute cracker.
From the wonderful world of Agatha Christie comes this new goosebump-inducing murder mystery, directed by Lucy Bailey. Considered to be the best-selling crime novel of all time, and already adapted into a hugely popular television drama starring Charles Dance, Aidan Turner and Miranda Richardson, amongst other famous faces, this play is a household name, and has big shoes to fill!
Ten strangers arrive at a mysterious house party on a far-flung island off the coast of Devon. Confusion at their invitation soon turns to suspicion as they scramble to discover the identity of their anonymous host. As guests begin to disappear, it soon becomes clear that whoever the host is, they know all their secrets. In a race against time, the group must band together to root out the killer.
This gripping crime drama is landing at the Alexandra Theatre on Tuesday 5th March, and will run for less than a week! If you’re as desperate as we are to find out who-dunnit, you can pick up your tickets on the theatre’s website, here, while they last.
There is plenty to keep you entertained this month in Birmingham, and if these don’t sound like your cup of tea, fear not! We’ll update this list every month, to bring the best of Brummie theatre to your fingertips.