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2023 Theatre In The Midlands Preview

Happy 2023 readers, it has certainly come around fast! I hope that the year is full of plenty of wonderful theatre for you all.

To preview the Spring and beyond I've focussed on just some of the Midlands venues and some of the productions that you can catch.

Let me know what shows you are looking forward to and what shows you'd like to see in the future.

Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon

It's all change at the RSC with new Artistic Directors Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey due to begin their roles in June but before their work begins the company has a packed year-long programme of Shakespeare in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's First Folio.

The Tempest opens the new season running from 26th January until 4th March. Elizabeth Freestone directs the production with a cast including Alex Kingston as Prospero, Jessica Rhodes as Miranda and Jamie Ballard as Antonio. Tickets are on sale now

Poster Artwork for The Tempest.

Julius Caesar follows The Tempest and will run from 18th March until 8th April. The show then departs on a 9-venue tour. RSC newcomer Atri Banerjee directs. Tickets are on sale from

Greg Doran helms a new production of Cymbeline that will run from 22nd April until 27th May. Tickets are on sale from

The current season concludes in the RST with new productions of Shakespeare's As You Like It and Macbeth. Performance dates are yet to be announced. Keep an eye on the RSC socials and website for further details.

If you thought that was it for the RSC then you'd be wrong. The gorgeous Swan Theatre has been closed since the pandemic began during that time the theatre has been under extensive restorations and renovations. Now the doors are about to be opened once more. Re-opening the theatre will be a new adaptation of Maggie O'Farrell's best-selling novel Hamnet which tells the story of the family life of William Shakespeare. Hamnet will run from 1st April until 17th June

Royal and Derngate, Northampton

Another venue that is about to see change as James Dacre is to depart from Royal and Derngate following the 2022/23 Made in Northampton season. Dacre has enjoyed great success in the 10-year spell which has seen the work go to London and internationally and gain award recognition.

The Made in Northampton season productions begin with Unexpected Twist co-produced by The Children's Theatre Partnership. The production is a re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic by author Michael Rosen and adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Roy Williams. Dacre will direct with the production running in the Royal auditorium from the 11th to the 25th of February. Tickets are available from The show will head on an extensive tour throughout the Spring with details from

A co-production between Shakespeare's Globe, Royal and Derngate and Headlong with Leeds Playhouse sees Henry V staged in the Royal from the 7th to the 18th of March. The production is currently playing at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London until 4th February then tours and stars Oliver Johnstone in the title role.

Another co-production will see Royal and Derngate team up with China Plate, Inspector Sands and Oxford Playhouse for a new production of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Lucinka Eisler directs with the adaptation by Ben Lewis. The show runs from the 24th of April to the 6th of May. Tickets from

Further ahead sees the co-production with Fiery Angel staging of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Lucy Bailey directs the show that runs from 8th to 16th September 2023.

The venue hosts plenty of touring productions as well as one-nighters including Rambert's Peaky Blinders (21st to 25th February), Strictly Ballroom (27th February to 4th March), Jersey Boys (21st March to 1st April), The Commitments (10th to 15th March) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (9th to 13th May). Full details and tickets from

Kilworth House Theatre, Leicestershire

Fresh off the 2022 hit productions of Carousel and Half A Sixpence (both of which made my top 10 shows of the year) the beautiful Leicestershire outdoor theatre this year presents just one production, reviving the joyous musical Hairspray. 

The musical won 8 Tony Awards in 2003 and 4 Olivier Awards in 2008 and has enjoyed great success in the UK, in the US and beyond. 

There are yet to be any details about the creative team but Kilworth doesn't tend to miss. Catch the show from 27th June to 6th August. Tickets are on sale now from The theatre offers a variety of packages including pre-show dining in the wonderful Orangery or Theatre Break packages. 

As well as Hairspray the venue hosts events inside the House throughout the year and shall be hosting its annual Live At Kilworth season later in the summer. Keep an eye on the theatre's socials and website for further details. 

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Another great season awaits at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre. With plenty of one-nighters and touring productions, Spring will be a busy time at the venue.

Highlights in the season include Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) from 7th to 11th February, The Mousetrap (13th to 18th February), The Shawshank Redemption (6th to 11th March), Blood Brothers (28th March to 1st April), Unexpected Twist (11th to 15th April) and Lord of the Flies (25th to 29th April). Coventry Musical Theatre Society will stage Kinky Boots from the 11th to the 14th of May.

Visit for the full season details and booking information.

Curve, Leicester

Christmas time has seen The Wizard of Oz play at the Leicester venue and recently it was announced that the show will transfer to The London Palladium this summer. The production will run from 23rd June until 3rd September 2023. Tickets from

Back closer to home the theatre Artistic Director Nikolai Foster helms the new touring production of Annie which opens at Curve running from 25th February until 4th March. The show will see Craig Revel Horwood return to the role of Miss Hannigan and Paul O'Grady play the role at certain venues. Tickets for Annie are available from

The big Made at Curve production for the season is a new production of 42nd Street which will be directed by Jonathan Church. The big toe-tapping musical runs from 17th May until 3rd June. Tickets for 42nd Street are available from

Curve will also host a plethora of touring productions including The Ocean At The End Of The Lane (31st Jan to 11th February), The Girl From The North Country (7th to 11th March), Ian McKellen in Mother Goose (15th to 19th March), Fisherman's Friends The Musical (28th March to 1st April) and Jersey Boys (25th April to 6th May). Full details and tickets for all Curve shows from

Spark Arts, Leicester

The best Children's Arts Festival returns to Leicester this February running from the 13th to the 19th of February. The Spark aims to offer children a chance to immerse themselves in the Arts.

The 2022 festival's vision was to present work that allowed audiences to find joy in being themselves, a programme that aimed at the simple curiosity of discovering who we are. The 2023 vision is to present work that explores how we can express those discoveries and give them a voice.

Highlights in the programme include Botown Family Gig, which sees the UK's leading Bollywood Live Act performing a family-friendly concert at 2Funky Music Cafe on Saturday 18th February, Choogh Choogh - a delightful train journey through India evoked through dance, music and theatre at Attenborough Arts Centre on 17th and 18th February,  Four Go Wild In Wellies - at various venues on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th February and PALAVER Party at Curve on Sat 18th February.

There are online offerings including Getting Dressed Films by Second Hand Dance and Sound Symphony at Home. 

Venues including Curve, Phoenix Arts and Leicester Museum and Arts Gallery will host a free day of family activities on Saturday 18th February. 

Full details about The Spark Arts festival and booking details can be found from

Leicester Comedy Festival

The Leicester Comedy Festival, one of the best comedy festivals around, returns for its 30th year running from 8th to 26th February.

The line-up once again features the cream of the comedy crop with highlight events including The UK Pun Championships hosted by Jason Byrne on Monday 13th February, The Big Difference Comedy Fundraiser headlined by Milton Jones on Thursday 16th February and The Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year on Saturday 25th February.

The 30th-anniversary programme includes events such as 30 acts for 30 pounds at Hansom Hall, the 30th Anniversary exhibition, at The Old Library Cafe and Galleries and the 30th Anniversary celebrations at the Sue Townsend Theatre on 25th February. The festival ends with Comedy Heaven hosted by Nish Kumar.

The full lineup of the Leicester Comedy Festival can be found at

Running alongside the main festival is The UK Kids Comedy Festival with programme details can be found at

Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse has grown a reputation for its quality of work and 2023 looks to be another strong year.

Dick Whittington continues until Saturday 14th January both in person and available to stream at home. The venue then hosts an array of theatre, comedy, music and dance.

The venue team up with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and UK Productions to stage The Beekeeper of Aleppo. The acclaimed novel comes to the Nottingham stage from the 3rd to the 25th of February. Tickets can be purchased from

Village Idiot sees the venue team up with Stratford East and Ramps On The Moon for a raucous comedy. The show will run from 11th to 25th March. Tickets can be purchased from

Full details of the season can be found at

Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham

There's lots of theatre, comedy and music in Nottingham's Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Halls with a packed programme. 

In the Theatre Royal there is the touring production of An Inspector Calls (17th to 21st January), Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty (24th to 28th January), Fisherman's Friends The Musical (31st January to 4th February), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (7th February to 11th February), Death Drop - Back in the Habit (14th to 19th February), Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) (27th March to 1st April), Big Night Out (16th April), Sister Act (8th to 13th May) 

In the Royal Concert Hall there is The Halle Orchestra (27th January), Belinda Carlisle (11th February), I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (3rd March), Jurassic World in Concert (4th March), Neighbours: The Celebration Tour (20th March), Johannes Radebe - Freedom Unleashed (13th April), Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals (18th May) and Annie (12th to 17th June)

Find out the full listings and purchase tickets at

Warwick Arts Centre

The venue on the edge of Coventry hosts a varied programme in the coming months.

For families, there is Dinosaur Live (25th and 26th February), Ian Nicholson and Sam Wilde's viral lockdown hit I Want My Hat Back (12th February), and Peut-Etre Theatre's The Dark (5th March). While Tall Stories return to the venue having brought The Stickman over Christmas, now the company brings The Smeds and The Smoos from the 1st to the 4th of June.

In terms of theatre, the venue hosts a revival of Abigail's Party (14th to 18th March), Inspector Sands and China Plate's Wuthering Heights (16th to 18th May), and the returning Rifco Theatre Company presents Happy Birthday Sunita (20th to 24th June).

There is a raft of music, comedy and dance offerings including Guz Khan (4th February), Maisie Adams (12th February), I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (2nd March), James Wilton Dance's The Four Seasons (7th and 8th March), Joe Wickes (7th May), The Proclaimers (19th May), Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra (21st May) and Susie Dent (21st May).

In The Mead Gallery, British Artist Katrina Palmer presents her largest commission, What's Already Going On (12th January to 2nd April). The venue's three cinema screens will show the very best of films throughout the season. 

There are plenty of free offerings across the season including Jazz Fridays (weekly Jazz gigs), Family Sundays (free creative workshops), Workshop Wednesdays (drop-in creative sessions) and music-making workshops. 

You can read the latest brochure online at  with booking details at

Birmingham Rep

Constantly producing exciting productions Birmingham Rep begin its 2023 offerings with Spitting Image. Idiots Assemble - Spitting Image Saves The World: Live On Stage. The live stage show will be directed by the Rep's Artistic Director Sean Foley and is written by Foley, Al Murray and Matt Forde. The outrageous comedy runs from 1st February to 11th March. Tickets are available from

Jon Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men sees director Iqbal Khan return to the venue after his productions of East Is East and Tartuffe. The co-production between The Rep, Leeds Playhouse and Fiery Angel runs 18th March to 8th April. Tickets are available from

In The Studio the Rep stage a new comedy about devotion, desire and Dancing Queens. The Way Old Friends Do centres around two friends who reunite to form one of the world's first ABBA tribute bands - in drag. This new play is written by Ian Hallard and is directed by Mark Gatiss. The show runs from 17th February to 4th March

For Sports fans The Rep and Edgbaston Priory Club host the Squash British Open between the 11th to 16th of April

This, of course, only scratches the surface of what theatre and arts are on in the Midlands this Spring. Whatever you do go local and support the venues on your doorstep. Happy Theatre going in 2023!

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