Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced 12 new commissions titled The Park Bench Plays – a series of micro-plays that illuminate, interrogate and even celebrate today’s socially distanced world.  It’s hoped that the series will bring together the work of some of UK theatre’s biggest writing talents and comedians alongside emerging playwrights to create a suite of new plays.

Made possible thanks to the generous support of The Sir Barry Jackson Trust, these new plays by The REP feature some of the UK’s biggest writing talents amongst emerging playwrights including; Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (A Kind of People/Khandan), Janice Connolly (Mrs Barbara Nice/Stuff), Rachel De-Lahay (The Westbridge/Circles), David Edgar (Nicholas Nickleby/Pentecost), Robin French (Cuckoo/Rebel Music), Tanika Gupta (Lions and Tigers/The Empress), Bryony Lavery (Frozen/The Lovely Bones), Sabiha Mank (The REP Discovery Artist), Amerah Saleh (Author ‘I Am Not From Here’/Commonwealth Games Handover Poet), Frank Skinner (The Frank Skinner Radio Show/Frank Skinner’s Poetry Podcast), Liam Steel (Director/Adaptor – Peter Pan/The Wizard of Oz) and Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials/Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) & Lettie Precious (This Is Us/The Break – BBC 3).

The ten-minute-long plays have been written to be performed in pop-up locations throughout Birmingham – at bus stations, community centers, parks, public squares, foyers and train stations – surprising and delighting commuters, shoppers, residents and others going about their daily business in the city and its environs.

Comedian Frank Skinner commented; “I’m really properly excited to be part of this project with The REP. I’ve had some life-changing experiences on park benches in the West Midlands but I’m hoping this one will be a bit easier on the elbows.”

The Park Bench Plays were to have had their first outing during October, but local restrictions coupled with the new national restrictions have made that impossible. As soon as it is safe to resume outdoor performances, The Park Bench Plays will be put into production to then begin their pop-up tour around the city.

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