Friday 2 – Saturday 25 May 2024

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

 A brand new adaptation of Bruce Robinson’s 1987 British tragi-comedy film, Withnail and I, will be directed by the double Olivier Award-winning Artistic Director of Birmingham Rep, Sean Foley.  It will have its stage premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, with performances from 2 May until 25 May 2024. Adapted for the stage by Bruce Robinson himself, the Writer and Director of the original film, the show will bring to life some of the most iconic comic characters ever created. The film, based on Robinson’s own unpublished novel, was produced by Handmade Films and  starred Richard E GrantPaul McGann and Richard Griffiths.

Sean Foley said:  “Hilarious, tragic, and wild, WITHNAIL AND I, is a comedy like no other, and I’m thrilled to be working with the legendary Bruce Robinson to bring it to life on stage… In fact, where better for the extraordinarily funny tale of two unemployed actors who go on holiday, ‘by mistake’? Rightly regarded as one of the finest British film’s ever made, our world premiere stage version brings to life the classic dialogue, the insane situations, and above all the boozy, irresistibly hilarious relationship of one of the most famous slacker duo’s ever created…”

September 1969… the swinging ’60’s, rock ’n’ roll, counter culture bohemianism… and two young unemployed actors – the flamboyant, boozy Withnail, and the shy, contemplative Marwood – live in utter squalor in a flat in Camden Town, praying for a job… Their only visitor is their drug dealer, Danny; their only expeditions are to the local pubs; and their only friends each other…Needing a break from the atrocious state of their acting careers, they hit upon the idea of a nice holiday – and Marwood proposes a trip to a cottage in the Lake District, owned by Withnail’s wealthy Uncle Monty. Monty lives in Chelsea, and after a few drinks together, agrees to lend them the key to the cottage – for a price…

Regarded as one of the finest British film’s ever made, this world premiere stage version brings to life the classic dialogue, the insane situations, and above all the boozy, irresistibly hilarious relationship of one of the most famous slacker duo’s ever created…

‘We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here and we want them now!’

Cast and further creative team details will be announced in due course.

For further information please contact Nada Zakula at StoryHouse PR on 07831 766086 or

Box Office information:  Telephone:  0121 234 4455

Birmingham Rep, 6 Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 2EP

Social Media: Twitter @BirminghamRep Instagram @therepbirmingham

THE BIRMINGHAM REP is the oldest building-based theatre company in the UK, and the forerunner of both the RSC and the National Theatre. The Rep has an unparalleled pioneering history and is the only producing theatre in the UK’s Second City. It has been at the forefront of theatre in the UK for over 100 years.

The Rep’s mission is to create artistically ambitious popular theatre – world class, for everyone. The commissioning and production of new work lies at the core of The Rep’s programme and over the last 15 years, with 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. The Rep has nurtured new talent throughout its history – from Laurence Olivier and Peter Brook to its modern day youth theatre, and the ground-breaking Rep Foundry theatre-makers programme, it has offered opportunity and training for thousands of early career writers, directors, and artists.

Many of The Rep’s productions go on to have lives beyond Birmingham. Recent tours and transfers include Idiots Assemble:  Spitting Image The Musical, Of Mice and Men, The Play What I Wrote, Animal Farm, East is East, The Lovely Bones, Brief Encounter, Nativity! The Musical, The Government Inspector, Anita and Me, Penguins and The King’s Speech. The theatre’s long-running production of The Snowman celebrated its 28th anniversary as well as its 25th consecutive Christmas season at London’s Peacock Theatre in 2022.

SEAN FOLEY is an actor, writer and director. A double Olivier Award-winner and Tony nominee, his work – as lead creative on 14 West End shows: as co-writer/star; writer/director; adaptor/director; and director – has also been Olivier nominated multiple times. He has – uniquely – been personally nominated in the acting, writing and directing categories.

Theatre credits include: Spitting Image The Musical, (co-writer and director; Birmingham Rep and Phoenix Theatre); the Olivier nominated The Upstart Crow, (director, Gielgud and Apollo), starring David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan; The Play What I Wrote, (co-writer/director), first major revival guest starring Tom Hiddleston, Adrian Lester, et al; ; his Olivier Award winning production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, (Duke of Yorks), starring Stephen Mangan and Matthew MacFadyen; Olivier Award nominated The Miser, (co-writer and director, Garrick Theatre), starring Griff Rhys Jones; The Painkiller, in Kenneth Branagh’s West End season, (as adaptor/director, Garrick Theatre), starring Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon; the 5 times Olivier nominated The Ladykillers (as director and script associate), including Best Director, Best New Play and Whatsonstage Award for Best New Comedy, Gielgud, starring Peter Capaldi; the Olivier nominated, Arturo Brachetti: Change, (as writer/director, Garrick); the Olivier Award winning Do You Come Here Often? (as co-writer and actor, Vaudeville); the Olivier Award winning The Play What I Wrote, (as co-writer and actor – further jointly nominated as Best Actor, Wyndham’s). The play was also Tony Award nominated on its Broadway transfer); the Olivier Award nominated, Ducktastic, (as co-writer and actor, Albery). The Walworth Farce, with Brendan, Domhnall and Briain Gleeson, Olympia Theatre, Dublin.

Further directing work includes: The Man In The White Suit, (as writer/director, Wyndhams), starring Stephen Mangan; The Dresser, (Duke of York’s); his RSC debut, adapting and directing Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World My Masters, (Swan Theatre, Stratford, and Barbican); Harry Hill and Steve Brown’s, I Can’t Sing! at The London Palladium, starring Cynthia Erivo; Present Laughter, The Critic, and The Real Inspector Hound, (Chichester Festival Theatre); Joe Orton’s What The Butler Saw, (Vaudeville); Ben Hur, (Watermill); Pinter’s People, (Theatre Royal, Haymarket); as writer only, his adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s Amedee, or How To Get Rid Of It, debuted at Birmingham Rep.

Sean has also directed the live shows of leading comedians, including: Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress, (Leicester Square); Armstrong and Miller Live (UK Tour); Catherine Tate Live (UK and Australian Tour)

As co-artistic director of the right size, he created, co-wrote and starred in ten original stage comedies 1990 to 2000. The company played in over 25 countries around the world, winning many international awards.

His feature film directing debut, Mindhorn, written by and starring Julian Barratt & Simon Farnaby, was first seen at the London Film Festival and won the London Film Comedy Award for Best First Feature. TV directing includes episodes of Sky’s anthology series, Urban Myths: Marilyn and Billy, starring Gemma Arterton; and, Diana and Freddy.

Sean is the Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Get our Free Newsletter

Keep up to date with all of the latest news and special offers from Handmade Films with our FREE newsletter.