BREVIEW: The Full Monty @ Hippodrome until 10.11.18

BREVIEW: The Full Monty @ Hippodrome until 10.11.18

Words by Ed King / Promo pic by Matt Crokett, production pics courtesy of the Hippodrome

The Full Monty – an expression born from a Field Marshal’s penchant for a hearty English breakfast, but one that has come to signify ‘the works’. To leave nothing out; to include everything. To bare all. But etymology be damned, the Hippodrome’s audience tonight have come for a show. And flesh. Make no mistake about that.

Simon Beaufoy’s screen play was the ‘sleeper hit’ of 1997, directed by Peter Cattaneo, balancing the depression of a disenfranchised unemployed – in this case those left to rot after the closure of the Sheffield steel mills – with the repressed comedy of proud alpha males subjugating themselves for cash. Cue the probing eye of defensive superiority, comradeship, the class stratification table, feminism by proxy, male pride, and the shadows of Thatcher’s Britain. Or what’s left of it. Or what’s left of any of them. But the film’s narrative struck such a successful balance that it made Beaufoy’s script a silver screen smash. A £200million smash. And that’s hard to ignore.

The inevitable stage show was, well, inevitable. But The Full Monty, despite being an on paper paint by numbers success, has not had the easiest time on stage – with the 2013/14 production pulled by its producers, and the current 2018/19 billed as its last. Seems an odd way to milk a potential cash cow, but I’m far from being Cameron Mackintosh.

We open with a spot lit TV playing appraisals about the ‘jobs for life’ offered by Sheffield’s steel mills, an economy we now know proved to be false. The stage is set as per the inside of the now derelict steel mill where our male protagonists used to work, from crane operator to canteen staff, and continues with this backdrop until the final razzle dazzle.

Our introduction is a comedy of errors, as our central character Gaz (Gary Lucy) and the man behind the male striptease idea, is joined by Dave (Kai Owen) his jokingly henpecked best friend, as the pair try to steal some steel from their previous place of employment.BREVIEW: The Full Monty @ Hippodrome until 10.11.18 Gaz’s son, Nathan, is along for the ride – bringing in an important, but somewhat under developed, subplot of parental responsibility.

The northern accents are a little think and the script a little thin, as we are reminded of the desperate times that were left in the wake of the steel mill closures of the 1980’s. For what it is, it’s delivered well – with confident performances from all characters and ages. And somebody somewhere really wants this to be ‘authentic’.

But the promise of gritty social commentary meets the humour of human endeavor, wrapped up in the comradeship of combined struggle, falls a little short. The odd scene under a neon signed ‘Job Club’ doesn’t sum up the communities ripped apart by Sir Ian MacGregor’s scythe wielding approach to the steel industry, and nor should it. Likewise, when the troubled Lomper (Joe Gill) sees his only option hanging at the end of a rope we get a well delivered run down of alternatives from Dave and Gaz – “have you thought about shooting yourself in the head?” – in a scene that makes me laugh out loud, but perhaps a little too much.

The rest of the first half moves through the plot points of a script that arguably relies on its audience already knowing its outcome, drip feeding both the idea of male stripping as a source of quick cash and the men who eventually disrobe for the grand finale – each replete with nickname, back story, and for want of a better expression their unique selling point.

There are with some noticeable steps up on stage once Gerald (Andrew Dunn) and Horse (Louis Emerick) get their teeth sunk in, and as the ensemble grows so does the camaraderie between the cast. But whilst each actor is confident throughout, and increasingly believable, the script jumps from serious to silly without allowing either side to fully breathe.

BREVIEW: The Full Monty @ Hippodrome until 10.11.18Shock value is a heavy attribute too, as women wee standing up and a pantomime penis brings the interval curtain down, leaving the midway audience engaged but unchallenged. The Full Monty brochure has a double page spread on ‘The Changing Landscape – a time line of British politics’, alongside a repeated ‘back to its Sheffield roots’ mantra from the promotional rhetoric, but not too much would have been lost so far if the story was still set in Buffalo.

The second act opens with the fledgling troupe rehearing their dancing, from the fumbling first attempts to the simple stripteases that sees each actor undress. Wolf whistles and cat calls surround our poster boys in the buff, but soon enough the audience is whooping at every man on stage.

It is here that the magic of this show, the latest run of a production that has danced these steps a few times before, begins to work itself through the theatre. We care. And not just about the nakedness of the men on stage, but for the vulnerability and fight that they begin to represent. The audience ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and Gaz explains the love for his son, we applaud and laugh as Guy and Lomper address their sexuality, and we stand silent in solidarity as Dave confesses his body dysmorphia.

As we rush to the final curtain, both ours and theirs, there is – to end on an adage – a lot of love in the room. This is down to the actors, who could have been given about 20mins more dialogue to help them shape their characters but who play their cards with increasing aplomb.

And by the time we are finally given The Full Monty, the applause comes from an honest desire to see everyone on stage succeed as opposed to what’s under their hat. Birmingham’s opening night closes to a well deserved standing ovation, for a production I suspect will get better and better on as it’s final run progresses. It’s just a shame it will eventually close for good. But as the play’s premise declares many things have to, or are forced to, and who knows what we’ll see next from this very capable cast.

The Full Monty – 2018/19 UK production

The Full Monty runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome from until Saturday 10th November, For direct show information, including venue details and full online ticket sales, visit

For more on The Full Monty 2018/19 UK production, visit 

For more from the Birmingham Hippodrome, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

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BPREVIEW: The Full Monty @ Hippodrome 05-10.11.18

BPREVIEW: The Full Monty @ Hippodrome 05-10.11.18

Words by Ed King / Promo pic by Matt Crokett, production pics courtesy of the Hippodrome

Running from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th November, The Full Monty comes to the Birmingham Hippodrome. Simon Beaufoy’s screen to stage adaptation is out on tour for the final time, playing at theatres across the UK until May 2019.

Tickets are priced from £18-92.50, depending on the day/time of performance and position in the theatre. For direct information, including venue details and full online ticket sales, click here. For full details of The Full Monty’s final UK tour, click here.

Best known for the smash ‘sleeper hit’ film, released in 1997, Simon Beaufoy’s story of Sheffield steelworkers turned striptease troupe has been a phenomenal success – the original cinematic release cost under £3million to produce, a relatively small amount for the big screen, and went on to gross around £200million in worldwide sales.

Beaufoy first adapted his screenplay for the stage back in 2012, premiering at Shefffield’s Lyceum Theatre in February the following year. The Full Monty went on to tour theatres across the UK, before being picked up and adapted for a North American audience – exchanging the Sheffield background for Buffalo in upstate New York.

Now back to its North England roots, The Full Monty is once again being toured across the UK – following the ill-fated West End run, somewhat dramatic (if you’ll excuse the pun) cancellation, and subsequent rebirth in 2014.

Gary Lucy returns as Gaz, having played the role since September 2014, and is joined by clothes removing cast members including Andrew Dunn as Gerald, Louis Emerick as Horse, Joe Gill as Lomper, Kai Owen as Dave, and James Redmond as Guy.

Fully dressed, The Full Monty also presents Liz Carney as Jean, Amy Thompson as Mandy, Bryonie Pritchard as Linda, and Keeley Fitzgerald as Sharon. Other cast members include Andrew Ashford, Stephen Donald, Alex Frost, Fraser Kelly. and Lee Toomes.

The 2018/19 production is directed by Rupert Hill, who previous played the on stage role of Guy in the 2014/15 run of The Full Monty.

Further crew credits include design by Robert Jones (National Theatre and RSC), choreography by Ian West (The Blues Brothers, The Play What I Wrote), lighting by Colin Grenfell (theatre award winner for Blackwatch) and sound by Luke Swaffield (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime).

The Full Monty – 2018/19 UK production

The Full Monty runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th November, For direct show information, including venue details and full online ticket sales, visit

For more on The Full Monty 2018/19 UK production, visit 

For more from the Birmingham Hippodrome, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: Rews + MeMe Detroit, Thousand Thoughts @ The Flapper 17.11.18

BPREVIEW: Rews + MeMe Detroit, Thousand Thoughts @ The Flapper 17.11.18Words by Ed King

On Saturday 17th November, the mighty REWS return to Birmingham – rounding off a five date UK tour at The Flapper in Birmingham.

Support at The Flapper comes from MeMe Detroit – Birmingham’s ‘sleazy rock’ grunge tinged indie punkster, who is out on the road promoting her new Life in the Now EP. Whilst joining REWS on all of their UK tour dates are Thousand Thoughts – Enfield’s fresh faced but ferocious nu metal/alt rockers who are currently promoting their debut single, ‘This One’s for You’.

Doors open at 7:00pm, with tickets priced at £10 (plus booking fees) – as presented by Metropolis Music, arranged by Midnight Mango, and in association with Birmingham Review. For gig info and online ticket sales direct from REWS click here, or visit the Facebook event page here.

It’s been quite a couple of years for REWS – the ‘rock powerhouse’ two piece who have been grafting and gaining fans up and down the country, belting out some of the best live shows on the circuit and backing up every on stage inch with their stellar debut album, Pyro.

Wrapping their debut single, ‘Miss You in the Dark’, around a blue touch paper performance on Glastonbury’s John Peel stage last year, REWS quickly caught the attention of most music based national broadcasters – with Mark Radcliffe citing them as one of his highlights from the 2017 festival.

REWS‘ second single, ‘Shine’, grabbed the airwaves through Kerrang!, Planet Rock, Radio X, Today FM, 2FM, and Radio 1. Whilst the band’s October’s follow up release, ‘Your Tears’, got featured as the BBC Music Introducing Track of the Week – getting public plaudits from presenters including Huw Stephens, Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, Scott Mills, Dev, Adele and Greg James.

Coinciding with their autumn tour, which REWS will finish up and finale in Birmingham, one of the band’s strongest onstage tracks has got a studio spit and polish – ‘Can You Feel It?’ was released on 21st September, mixed and mastered by Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis).

“’Can You Feel it?’ is a song that takes a positive spin on hurt feelings,” explains Shauna Tohill from REWS. “It encourages the listener to ‘let it out’, ‘dance’, ’sing’ and not be afraid to explore how they feel in order to better themselves & learn to love again. It was inspired and written during a period of heartbreak and describes the stages of grief that we endure.”

But not stopping on these shores, REWS recently supported Halestorm on their UK tour – seeing them showcase in front of thousands of new fans across the country, in what we suspect is a precursor to a trip across the Atlantic. And North America is going to go bat sh*t for REWS, if you’ll excuse the crudity. But it’s a game changer and no mistake. REWS have also just come back from a showcase gig at the Music China event in Shanghai, as organised by their label Marshall Records, but we’re going to put out some Can-You-Feelers about this find out a little more… tbc.

Joining REWS at The Flapper will be MeMe Detroit, who is touring the UK with her new Life in the Now EP – set for release on 23rd November. One of the brighter shining stars from the city’s music scene (and beyond, to be fair) MeMe Detroit is self described as ‘sitting somewhere between sleazy grunge and power indie… oozing sultry guitar driven hooks with a head turning vocal’ – a summation we liked so much, we stole it.

Gritty and gutsy, covered in war paint, melody, and the occasional acerbic observation, MeMe Detroit released her debut album, Live to Love You’ll Love to Live, in 2016 – a ten track declaration that manages to kick you in the teeth, guts, and up the derrière all at the same time. Awesome.

Follow up releases came in various shapes, sizes, and sharp undertones – with one of our favourites being the uber pertinent ‘Soc Med Junkies’, which pokes a well deserving stick in the rib cages of those silent conversationalists who are content to share only cyber space together. To check out the video to ‘Soc Med Junkies’, click here.

And appearing with REWS across all of their UK tour dates this autumn are label mates Thousand Thoughts, who signed to Marshall Records in 2017. Currently promoting their debut single, ‘This One’s for You’, the Enfield based four piece ‘take on elements of nu-metal, pop-punk and alt-rock, interwoven with themes of tragedy and loss’ – with messages of hope and inspiration thrown in for good measure.

Committing to a pretty rigorous touring schedule, the band have been playing up and down the UK since January 2017 – originally titled Elsewhere, but changing their moniker to Thousand Thoughts once the leaves of 2018 started to fall. To check out Thousand Thoughts’ debut single, ‘This One’s for You’ – released in June 2018, click here.

Meanwhile back at REWS HQ, we just have one question for you…

‘Can You Feel It?’ – REWS

REWS perform at The Flapper on Saturday 17th November, with support from MeMe Detroit and Thousand Thoughts. For direct event information and online ticket sales, visit 

For more on REWS, visit

For more on MeMe Detroit, visit

For more on Thousand Thoughts, visit

For from The Flapper, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BREVIEW: BE FESTIVAL @ Birmingham REP 04.07.17

BE FESTIVAL - Hub / Jonathan Fuller-Rowell

Words by Helen Knott / Pics courtesy of BE FESTIVAL

The backstage area of the REP is all abuzz, as audience members and performers mingle and grab drinks on another sultry evening in this most singular of summers. There’s a certain amount of trepidation as we file into The Studio.

BE FESTIVAL’s format of presenting four 30-minute shows of different genres and companies from around Europe means that you’re never quite sure what to expect. It’s safe to assume that this isn’t going to be a relaxing, safe evening watching some book-adaptation on the main stage; it’s going to be challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes difficult to watch.

Let's Dance! - VerTeDance / Vojtech BrtnickyThankfully, tonight’s first performance eases us in gently. For me, contemporary dance is right up there with opera as one of the least accessible art forms. Quite often, I just don’t get it. The Czech Republic’s VerTeDance, clearly aware that this can be a barrier for potential audience members, have responded with Let’s Dance, a tongue-in-cheek ‘manual for anxious audiences’ of contemporary dance. The work’s director, Petra Tejnorová, stands at a lectern at the side of the stage, guiding the audience through warm-up techniques, the creative process and dance motifs while the dancers demonstrate… if I’m making that sound a little dry, then it certainly isn’t.

Each dancer steps up and describes an episode from their dancing journey, from the ludicrous (the disadvantages of being a female dancer with short hair) to the touching (the realisation for the male protagonist that he doesn’t have to dance in the hyper-masculine way of his native folk dances, if he doesn’t want to).Three Rooms - Sister Sylvester VerTeDance won the 2015 BE FESTIVAL audience award, and after watching Let’s Dance it’s easy to imagine why; it is a funny, informative introduction to contemporary dance that never takes itself too seriously, while conveying a deep love of the form. I leave wanting to see the full version of the piece (tonight was just a 30 minute segment) and keen to give contemporary dance another go.

After a short break, it’s back into The Studio for Sister Sylvester’s Three Rooms, which links UK actor Kathryn Hamilton (who is here in Birmingham) with colleagues in Germany and Istanbul, over Skype. Hamilton opens the show by announcing, “On stage you can see the outline of the set for a play that we’re not going to perform tonight.”

Hearing that we’re missing out on something grabs the audience’s attention immediately. Hamilton explains that this autobiographical play, about two people fleeing war in Syria, can’t be performed because two of the actors are still unable to get visas to travel. Instead, we join the two through Skype. They show the audience their current homes and, with some visual trickery, perform a couple of scenes from the play.BE FESTIVAL - Interval Dinner / Jonathan Fuller-Rowell

At points in Three Rooms we get a rare insight into the domestic lives of individuals living through Europe’s border crisis, but on the whole it’s too unfocussed and disjointed, as Skype calls with absent friends can often feel. I’d like to understand more about the reality of the actors’ day-to-day lives spent waiting for something to happen, rather than watching them perform sections of the play, which lose their impact out of context. If the aim of the piece is to question how well technology can compensate for the physical absence of its actors, the answer is: not very well.

F.O.M.O, Fear of Missing Out - Colectivo Fango

Next up, dinner. Having the chance to eat a meal on the REP’s main stage is a real treat, even if everything has overrun; it’s 9:30pm and I’m ravenously hungry. There’s barely enough time to shovel down the pork loin, rice and salad on offer before we’re called in to watch the next performance.

This time we’re in The Door, a smaller space, for F.O.M.O – Fear of Missing Out, by Spain’s Colectivo Fango. F.O.M.O describes the pangs of anxiety many of us feel when we see a social media post that suggests we’re missing out on something. The performance starts light-heartedly enough – a lively set of What’s App messages are projected onto the stage, then one of the piece’s female actors uses the front-facing camera on her phone to pose, pull faces and check her teeth. We start to get a hint that things aren’t quite as innocent as they seem when she starts pointing the phone between her legs… it’s uncomfortable to witness such a personal moment portrayed on stage.

Things quickly turn disturbing. Violent acts are portrayed against women, with continual filming through phone screens having a distancing effect on the perpetrators, distorting reality. In one harrowing segment, one of the female characters poses for social media photographs, before the poses become more and more frantic and out of control and she strips naked. All the while, the other performers count, slowly at first, before speeding up to the number 137, which is finally revealed as the number of Instagram followers she has.

Towards the end of the show things have reached crisis point. One of the characters confides that they know nothing about the war in Syria and asks the audience if any of us know anything either. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to be implicated in the violence being portrayed on stage. I’m sure many of us can see ourselves in the characters’ obsessions with digital communication and social media.

By this stage, things have massively overrun, so I don’t manage to see the final performance of the evening which is Control Freak by Cie. Kirkas – public transport just doesn’t run late enough. But BE FESTIVAL 2018 has offered plenty of food for thought. Let’s Dance encouraged me to open my mind to contemporary dance, and Three Rooms and F.O.M.O – Fear of Missing Out both suggested that technology, often heralded as an effective tool for breaking down geographical and political borders, can sometimes distance us from each other further.

It may have been, as suspected, challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes difficult to watch, but that’s exactly what the best art should do.

For more on BE FESTIVAL, visit

For more from Birmingham REP, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: BE FESTIVAL @ Birmingham REP 03-09.07.17

BE FESTIVAL @ Birmingham REP 03-09.07.17

Words by Helen Knott / Pics courtesy of BE FESTIVAL

Running from 2nd to 9th July, Birmingham’s annual BE FESTIVAL showcases theatre, dance and circus artists from across Europe – presenting a week-long programme of performances and workshops, hosted by the Birmingham REP.

And in a chance for the public attending to meet the artists performing, BE FESTIVAL invites patrons to join them for a special Interval Dinner, ‘served on the REP’s main stage after the first half of the evening performances’. To see the Interval Dinner’s changing menu from Marmalade, the REP’s onsite restaurant, click here.

A weekly pass to BE FESTIVAL will cost £100 with dinner, or £60 without dinner. Individual day tickets are also available, costing £24 with dinner and £16 without dinner. Tickets can be bought thorugh the Birmingham REP Box Office, or for online sales click here.

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is the ninth year of BE FESTIVAL – it still seems like a fresh, young pretender on the Birmingham theatre scene. Perhaps it’s because the line-up always presents interesting new talent and some of the latest movements in the arts, or maybe it’s down to the event’s open-minded sense of fun, but BE FESTIVAL is a decidedly cool place to spend a few hours.

For those of you who don’t know (where have you been for the past nine years?) each evening at BE FESTIVAL tends to follow roughly the same format – typically, there are four 30 minute performances from companies or artists from across Europe, with a communal Interval Dinner where you get the chance to rub shoulders with the performers.Ivo Dimchev's P-Project @ BE FESTIVAL 03.07.18 The REP’s backstage area is transformed into the festival HUB, where you can chill out, grab a drink, and debate just what on earth was going on in that piece of contemporary dance you just saw. The audience is then invited to party on into the night to the sounds of a live band or DJ set.

That’s where any sense of predictability ends, however; the performances take in a range of different genres – including dance, puppetry, physical theatre, circus – and typically cover a full gamut of emotions and themes.

BE FESTIVAL co-director, Miguel Oyarzun, says on this year’s line-up: “We invite audiences to reflect on the borders we unknowingly create as individuals and groups. Our 2018 programme features work that tests physical limitations, bodily boundaries, social preconceptions and draws on multiple disciplines.” A fitting theme indeed, for a time when the UK is in the midst of literally bordering itself off from the rest of Europe.

Sister Sylvester’s Three Rooms @ BE FESTIVAL 04.07.18So, what’s on the 2018 programme at BE FESTIVAL? With a veritable smorgasbord on stage each night (and I’m not just talking about the Interval Dinner) you can check out the full programme by clicking here, but here is something from each day that got our mouths watering .

On Tuesday 3rd July, the Bulgaria/UK based Ivo Dimchev will be inviting audience members on stage to perform increasingly extreme acts for cash, in P-Project. The ‘internationally ‘renowned choreographer, performing artist and singer songwriter’ has based his solo performance ‘on several words beginning with ‘P’ such as Piano, Pray, Pussy, Poetry, Poppers’ and further invites the audience ‘to Play with the complex Pussy catalogue’ where they can ‘construct their own Pussy and Print it on a Postcard.’ Presented in collaboration with Fierce Festival, P-Project is for over 18’s only.

Tom Cassani's Someone Love You Drive With Care @ BE FESTIVAL 05.07.18On Wednesday 4th July, Sister Sylvester’s Three Rooms (Syria/ UK/ Turkey) use Skype to present a digital performance that will take place simultaneously in Paris, Istanbul and Birmingham – in a play that ‘was conceived as a response to Europe’s continuing border crisis, which prevented the actors from traveling to either the rehearsals or performances of the original commission in 2016’ and seeks to ‘ to question the possibilities and limitations of technology to mediate absence.’

Then on Thursday 5th July, BE FESTIVAL opens with Someone Loves You Drive With Care from the UK’s self professed ‘performance artist and a liar.’ Tom Cassani’s circus sideshow-inspired piece will ‘challenge the borders of his own body using blunt and scary looking objects’ (yikes!) as the artist ‘questions our collective construction of truth and lies’ using cabaret trickery and slight-of-hand in an impressive sounding solo performance.Poliama Lima's Aqui Siempre (Here Always) @ BE FESTIVAL 06.07.18 / Jean-Marc-Sanchez There is no official age restriction for Someone Loves You Drive With Care, although the faint of heart (or under 16’s) might want to take a hand to hold or something to hide behind.

Friday 6th July presents Poliana Lima‘s Aqui Siempre (Here Always), as the award winning Brazilian choreographer combines styles ‘from Argentinian popular dance to the European ballet tradition’ in a narrative that explores ‘women from four different countries beaming with individual diversity, experiences and traditions’. Now a ‘long term resident of Madrid’, Poliana Lima‘s Aqui Siempre uses the individuality of each person’s physical expression, or ‘movement systems’, in a dance performance piece that explores the ‘ relationships between memory, the present and the future.’

ODC Ensembles The Cave @ BE FESTIVAL 07.07.18 / Karol JarekThen as part of the final day at BE FESTIVAL, on Saturday 7th July, the Greece based ODC Ensemble present The Cave – ‘a digital recalibration of the symbolic potency of Plato’s Cave allegory’ that uses opera, cinema, digital and visual technology ‘to reflect on the walls and shadows we build around us.’ ODC Ensemble were the first prize award winners at BE FESTIVAL 2017, led by the Athens based Elli Papakonstantinou, and ‘their work embraces the bewilderment of the audience in the face of persistent dislocation.’

It can be off-putting to invest an entire evening (and ticket cost) into a programme that you’re not sure that you will like, but BE FESTIVAL takes that risk away – you may not enjoy all of the performances, but with up to four artists on show each evening there’s bound to be something that makes you think.

Above all, BE FESTIVAL, with its communal dining and feedback cafes, is an ego-free place of openness and playfulness. You may even find that you have some of your own boundaries and preconceptions challenged along the way.

BE FESTIVAL 2018 – official trailer 

BE FESTIVAL runs at Birmingham REP from Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th July – with a special matinee programme on the final day. For more on BE FESTIVAL, including the full festival programme and links to online ticket sales, visit 

For more from Birmingham REP, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit