The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, with new Artistic Director Jonathan Church appointed, has announced details of a major new season. Opening the programme, on 30 August 2001 will be the National Theatre production of Yasmina Reza's Life X 3. The play will then head out on a UK tour, with the cast including David Haig (pictured), Belinda Lang, David Yelland and Serena Evans.

Also in The Rep's Autumn schedule are Noel Coward's comedy Private Lives and Patrick Marber's Closer, to be played together in repertoire. The same company of actors will be presenting the works, with their contrasting settings of 1930s London and the capital's modern reality. Two offerings intended to affirm The Rep's commitment to new writing are Abi Morgan's Tender, and Behsharam by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti. The former was developed on The Rep's Attachment scheme, whilst the latter is an original debut play concerning a family's secrets and obsessions.

Also forthcoming at the venue is The Rep Company's version of John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men. Presented to tie in with its place in the schools' National Curriculum, the version will utilise Steinbeck's own stage adaptation. The company will also deliver two family shows around December - Alan Bennett's retelling of The Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Witch, based on the popular children's books.

Alongside the productions in the Main House and The Door, The Rep's audience can also take advantage of Discovery Days and Theatre Days activities. Designed to offer educational opportunities for students and the general public alike, the days will be providing an insight into the whole process of putting on a production.

The company's new Artistic Director, Jonathan Church, will also be holding a number of Open House days. These will incorporate informal chats with an invitation to meet the theatre's staff. Church, who replaces the renowned Bill Alexander, has been an associate director with Hampstead Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse. Brought up in the Midlands, he recalls attending shows at The Rep from an early age. Commenting on his appointment, Church said: "My involvement with many regional producing theatres has led me to believe that Birmingham Rep can be a truly local resource, providing the best and most exciting entertainment for the city, the West Midlands and its many communities".

Life X 3 opened at the National Theatre Lyttelton on 7 December 2000, and transferred to the Old Vic on 12 February 2001. Both versions starred Mark Rylance and Imelda Staunton, giving Art author Yeza two simultaneous West End hits. Following its Birmingham stint, the Life X 3 tour will call at Milton Keynes, Bath, Brighton, Woking, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Richmond, Cambridge and Malvern.

- by Gareth Thompson