Theatre News

Ian Rankin's Rebus to make stage premiere in new Birmingham Rep season

The season will also feature Hugh Dennis in a new production of ”The Messiah”, which runs at Birmingham Rep before the West End

Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez
Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Birmingham Rep Theatre has announced its new season, including the world premiere of a new stage play continuing the story of Ian Rankin's Rebus series.

Running from 20 September until 6 October and starring Charles Lawson as the famous detective John Rebus, the piece, entitled Rebus: Long Shadows is a continuation of the existing 20-book series, with this new story told exclusively on stage. The piece is written by Rankin alongside Rona Munro, with direction by Roxana Silbert.

Rankin said: "I've long wanted to see John Rebus on a theatre stage, and it was such a privilege to work with Rona Munro in fashioning a brand new story that could best be told 'in the flesh'. Having lived with Rebus for over thirty years, I know that he has cast many long shadows, but this time those same shadows threaten to engulf him in a story that is tense, gripping, deep and thoughtful. I hope audiences will agree!"

Munro said: "Adapting one of the most iconic characters in detective fiction was both daunting and exhilarating. It was a collaborative process that completely depended on Ian Rankin’s generosity in sharing the man he made and knows so well."

Elsewhere in the season, Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez will star in a new production of The Messiah, which will open in Birmingham before a UK tour and a West End run. The show will be written and directed by Patrick Barlow, and runs from 18 to 27 October. It follows a group of actors who come to Birmingham to tell a biblical tale.

Bruntwood Prize-winner Anna Jordon will present new play Pop Music, in collaboration with Paines Plough. Charting 20 years of chart-topping music, the piece is directed by James Grieve. It runs from 12 to 22 September.

Evan Placey and Korean playwright Ko Sun Duck will present the premiere of bi-lingual play Orange Polar Bear, about two fifteen year-olds who find themselves brought together in a mysterious space. It will play in Seoul after running in Birmingham.

Leo Butler's play All You Need is LSD will run from 4 to 13 October, in a new co-production between Birmingham Rep and theatre company Told by an Idiot. Directed by Paul Hunter, the show is a wild-fantasy play exploring the world of narcotics.

From 17 to 20 October there will be the world premiere of Stuff, a puppeteered piece created by Janice Connolly, Daniel Bailey and Michael Crouch, while Penelope Skinner's show Meek will transfer from the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and run from 4 to 8 September. Stan's Cafe will also present their new production The Capital, exploring the lives of five different people with different ambitions. It runs from 24 to 27 October.

Other shows include the previously announced run of the stage production of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, and the upcoming festive show The Wizard of Oz.