Foley to leave Birmingham Rep

Sean Foley is stepping down as artistic director of Birmingham Rep, a decision he says is unconnected with Birmingham Council’s recent 100% budget cut to the company, which he said created a difficult outlook”.

He will leave in the summer after five years in charge.

"That the Rep has consistently been able to deliver a truly ambitious programme of artistically credible popular theatre across its three auditoria – even through the multiple challenges of the past years – is testament to the tenacity, talent and commitment of the extraordinary staff team here” Foley tole The Stage. “My decision was made before the announcement of the city council cuts to the arts budgets, and is unrelated to them: I know that this staff team will rise to this latest challenge. The ambition we have shown in my time here has seen audiences come back to the Rep at greater levels than before the pandemic, with audiences growing by a further 20% in the year."

The production of Withnail & I will be the last he directs for Birmingham Rep as artistic director and in his time Foley driven a refurbishment of the company’s programme, including the 25th anniversary production of East is East, which transferred to the National Theatre.  He directed the 20th anniversary production of The Play What I Wrote and co-wrote and directed Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image the Musical, which also transferred the West End.

Birmingham City Council announced last month that it was cutting all of the Rep's £158,000 grant, and with its Arts Council grant on standstill the company faces an overall downturn of 30% in its income.

 

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