Birmingham City Council financial challenges - time to Reset

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In 1991, the work to refurbish and extend the theatre, prompted by the development of the International Convention Centre next door was completed. The Studio and front of house had been re-modelled and there was new rehearsal space and workshops. However, the country as a whole was being hit by recession and the Rep was losing far more money than it was making. The critical success of new initiatives such as Stagecoach for new writers and a continued programme of well-known classics like Sheridan's The Rivals could not sustain the theatre.

In 1992, Adams resigned and was replaced by Bill Alexander. Alexander had experience with the Royal Shakespeare Company and intended to extend the rehearsal period to six weeks, in line with the London theatres. Key productions performed in this period were Othello with Jeffrey Kissoon and Alex Kingston and Romeo and Juliet with Damien Lewis and Josette-Bushell-Mingo and the Christmas production of The Snowman.

Throughout the mid 90s important guest productions such as David Thacker directing A View From A Bridge ensured revenue and there were regular tours to London. However, audience figures remained unpredictable, a national survey revealed that most theatre audiences were made up of people over 45 who attended well-known productions.

The Rep addressed this issue and engaged with new audiences and writers particularly in the Studio with Kate Dean's Rough (1995) and the premiere of East is East by Ayub Khan-Din (1997), but also in the Main House, with David Edgar's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1996) and Frozen (1997) by Bryony Lavery starring Anita Dobson. In 1998, the Studio was renamed The Door in recognition of it being a venue dedicated to new work.

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