Talawa Theatre Company and Birmingham Repertory Theatre have announced a major new collaboration.

The two partners will develop an artistically ambitious body of work that will play in Birmingham, London, and nationwide. Black Joy, a season of new work by Black creatives and artists, will take to The REP’s three stages in 2021.

The ambitious co-producing relationship, funded from Arts Council England’s Sustained Theatre Fund, will present a major musical production for The REP’s 800 seat The HOUSE and two new commissioned plays for the 300 seat The STUDIO and the 150 seat The DOOR. In addition, there will be six seed commissions for theatre makers of all disciplines plus training and work opportunities for off-stage and technical teams.

In commissioning the season, Talawa and The REP are continuing to take a leading role nationally in foregrounding the work of Black people in the arts.

Talawa Artistic Director, Michael Buffong said, “As a Black theatre company, now more than ever, we are determined and proud to be celebrating and shining a spotlight on great Black British talent, on and off stage, as well as ensuring that Black talents and creativity are at the heart of building back better. I’m so excited to be working in partnership with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, a brilliant theatre at the heart of a truly diverse city.”

The REP’s Artistic Director, Sean Foley said We are thrilled to be working with Talawa to create new work across our three auditoria, as well as develop the UK Black theatre artists of the future. This relationship forms a major part of The REP’s commitment to celebrating and representing the diversity of Birmingham and the UK across producing and technical departments and on its stages.

Black Joy

Talawa Theatre Company is the most successful Black theatre company in the UK. They have established a track record of producing work that shines a spotlight on Black artists, creating theatre for diverse audiences across the country. Mounting more than fifty productions over their 34-year history, their last co-production, Superhoe by Nicole Lecky, was at the Royal Court. Other recent productions have included collaborations with the Royal Exchange; Guys & Dolls, King Lear (in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and All My Sons (Royal Exchange Theatre, UK tour), and new work including Girls by Theresa Ikoko (co-production with Soho Theatre, HighTide) and Half Breed by Natasha Marshall (co-production with Soho Theatre).

Birmingham Repertory Theatre is the only producing theatre in the UK’s Second City. The oldest building-based theatre company in the UK, The REP has an unparalleled pioneering history and has been at the forefront of theatre in this country for over 100 years. It is a registered charity (number 223660). The REP’s mission is to create artistically ambitious popular theatre for, by and with the people of Birmingham and the wider world. The commissioning and production of new work lie at the core of The REP’s programme and over the last 15 years, the company has produced more than 130 new plays. As well as presenting over 60 productions on its three stages every year, the theatre tours its productions nationally and internationally. The REP’s acclaimed learning and outreach programme is one of the largest and most diverse of any arts organisation in the country.


Find out more about Black Joy here.