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Lenny Henry headlines Birmingham REP's new season

Lenny Henry makes his Birmingham stage debut in Rudy's Rare Records, the BBC Radio 4 drama adapted for the stage.

Lenny Henry
© Jack Lawson

Lenny Henry returns to the West Midlands to headline Rudy's Rare Records at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in their autumn/winter season. The Dudley-born actor will make his debut appearance at The REP in the show which, as previously reported, is based on the BBC Radio 4 series.

Written by Danny Robins and which Henry co-created as well as starred in, Rudy's Rare Records is a comedy set in an old reggae record shop at risk of re-development in Birmingham. Henry plays Adam, the son of shop owner Rudy, who reluctantly moves home to look after his dad and help run the shop.

Adapted for the stage by writer Danny Robins, Rudy's Rare Records is directed by Paulette Randall and produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Hackney Empire where it will run immediately after the premiere in Birmingham. The production will feature a live band onstage playing music by Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley and the Sugarhill Gang.

"I've performed comedy gigs many times in Birmingham over the years, but this is my first straight acting role in the city and the first time I've been on stage at The REP, which is something I'm really looking forward to," says Lenny Henry. "Growing up in Dudley I would come into Birmingham every Saturday to hang-out in a record shop not too dissimilar to Rudy's so it's a play that's very close to my heart."

The REP's autumn and winter programme marks the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid. Lara Foot's Solomon and Marion staring the South African-born actress Dame Janet Suzman, tells the tale of two injured souls searching for redemption in a fragile, post-apartheid South Africa. The play will be accompanied by a programme of In Conversations, performances via live link-ups with schools and theatres in South Africa and films celebrating 20 years of democracy.

Other highlights of the season include artistic director Roxana Silbert's version of Of Mice and Men. Michael Attenborough, who recently stepped down as artistic director of the Almeida Theatre, directs J B Priestley's Dangerous Corner prior to a West End run. Frantic Assembly make a return to the city with Shakespeare's Othello which comes to The REP as part of a UK tour.

The REP also welcomes the stage adaptation of The Kite Runner. Based on Khaled Hosseini's novel and film and directed by Giles Croft, the production is co-produced by Nottingham Playhouse with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. The REP promises it will be a haunting tale of friendship that spans cultures and continents and follows one man's journey to confront his past and find redemption.

Following a successful run at the Royal Court and in the West End, a trilogy of Samuel Beckett plays, Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby,opens the season in The STUDIO, performed solely by Lisa Dwan and directed by Walter Asmus – a friend and long-time collaborator of Beckett.

The First World War centenary continues to be reflected in the season with the UK stage premiere of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms (19-22 November) by acclaimed theatre makers, Imitating the Dog, who bring their unique theatrical vision to one of the great love stories of the twentieth century.

The season in The DOOR opens with Grounded by George Brant and is followed by Andrew Dawson who brings his one-man show, The Russian Doctor, to Birmingham. Local company Women &Theatre celebrate their 30th anniversary at The REP with For The Past 30 Years. Told By An Idiot return to The REP following last season's Tiswas-inspired Never Try This At Home with My Perfect Mind.

Other season highlights include the previously announced Christmas family show, The BFG, Philip Glass's The Trial by Music Theatre Wales , Bird, Nabokov Art Club's Symphony, dining-drama experience Faulty Towers and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, from the team behind the WhatsOnStage Award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong.

Tickets for Birmingham Repertory Theatre's new season are on sale now.