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27th Jul, 2021

Birmingham Rep open new season with comedy look back on pandemic

Sarah Mason 21st Jul, 2021

BIRMINGHAM Rep will be looking back on the Covid-19 pandemic when the curtain rises for the autumn season.

The Covid-19 Variations: A Piano Drama is billed as a unique and outrageously funny film and concert in one that stars everyone from Donald Trump and Elton John to Kanye West and even the Royal Family – because everyone has lived through Covid.

It has been written by Birmingham-born Richard Thomas, an Olivier Award winning composer, lyricist and Artistic Associate of The Rep who was inspired after having had Covid twice.

He shared his experience of being in the grip of the disease for fellow Birmingham born concert pianist Philip Fisher who was extremely ill with Covid in New York in the first days of lockdown.

Philip recovered and played the piece in an empty auditorium on Long Island, a recording of which found its way to BAFTA and multi-Award winning contemporary artist Alison Jackson.

She in turn was inspired to create 19 short films for each of the Covid-19 Variations, drawn from her world of fake news, alternative facts, and celebrity lookalikes, and commemorating life in the time of Covid.

Richard Thomas’s Covid-19 Variations was originally commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum New York. Alison Jackson’s film has been specially created for this event.

The show is also directed by The Rep’s Artistic Director, double Olivier Award winner Sean Foley.

Tickets for the show, which runs on August 27 and 28, cost £17.50 and include a drink.

They are available online at

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