Theatre Fever is aiming to leave audiences hot and bothered. Marion McMullen finds out why the region's blazing art scene is super-cool.

Don’t panic if men in white coats approach you on the streets over the next few days with thermometers at the ready.

They just want to check if you have theatre fever as a two-week celebration of the theatre scene in the Midlands gets under way.

Theatre Fever will see shows in pubs, hairdressers and even a supermarket car park, as well as the normal theatre venues.

“Nationally as many people watch live theatre as attend English Premiership and Football League matches combined,” says Helen Stallard, of Theatre Fever.

“We will draw attention to this key part of the region’s economic and cultural life with a busy programme of shows by both established and emerging theatre companies.”

Theatre Fever starts next Saturday and will feature more than 30 shows across Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and the Black Country, including eight special commissions.

Helen says: “The West Midlands has a thriving theatre scene, with many playwrights, producers and actors choosing to forge their careers in the region.”

The new work includes a rare return to the theatre by Coventry-based Talking Birds.

They present We’re Only Here Today at the mac in Birmingham and also hope to take the stage special on tour next year.

The award-winning company has built up a reputation for performing in weird and wonderful places and have been touring the UK with a giant aluminium whale, but the new work sees them back in the theatre.

Writer Nick Walker says: “The regional arts scene is really working hard and thriving in difficult times for the subsidised sector.

“Theatre Fever shows the range of activity, creativity and persistence that is keeping audiences watching.”

Also at the mac is Soul City Arts and If Walls Could Speak, which tells the story of how the Birmingham ward of Sparkbrook has been a gateway into the city for generations of migrants. Award-winning Women & Theatre premiere their new 15-minute play Something Out Of The Ordinary in the Co-Op car park in Stirchley, Birmingham, while Tin Box invite audiences to meet Maggie, a lady with many stories, in pubs across Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country.

There is even work for people who don’t want to leave home, with Palimpsest City by Bohdan Piasecki. He is inviting people to navigate his digital city to find new poetry.

Fresh new talent also sit alongside some of the region’s most established companies.

Kindle Theatre present their dramatic rock-chick gig The Furies in the former industrial unit @AE Harris, while internationally-renowned Stan’s Cafe premiere The Anatomy Of Melancholy at Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre.

Theatre Fever has been organised by Holding Space, a consortium of arts organisations including Birmingham Rep, Black Country Touring, mac, Stan’s Cafe and Warwick Arts Centre.

Nick Walker says Theatre Fever highlights the best of what is on offer across the region, adding: “There is a real buzz about the event and it shows the work companies are carrying out across the region.” 

* Go to for full Theatre Fever listings.

Fever Hot Spots


Alex Brockie – The Inferno Kid

A dark comedy about a former professional wrestler.

@A.E. Harris, Birmingham


The story of two boy penguins who, against the odds, become parents.

mac birmingham

Belgrade Youth Theatre


Are we defined by the music we listen to?

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

University Of Warwick Drama Society

Richard III

Shakespeare’s slickest, sexiest thriller.

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

MARCH 9-10

The Window Collective

Window Dressing

Exuberant fun with some unpredictable twists. All safely behind glass.

Various locations, Birmingham

MARCH 9-16

Blue Orange Arts

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

The controversial DH Lawrence classic novel adapted for the stage.

Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham

Dungate Jury Associates

The Old Queen’s Time

A comedy written for the Old Joint Stock about love, friendship and revenge.

Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham

Tin Box

Pint Dreams

Maggie is travelling around, one pub at a time. Join her for a drink.

Various locations

MARCH 12-13

Talking Birds

We’re Only Here Today

Two strange men appear at your house and know everything about your life.

mac birmingham

MARCH 12-15

Stan’s Cafe

Anatomy Of Melancholy

A 17th century self-help book reveals much about our own modern concerns and obsessions.

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

MARCH 12-15

Theatre Absolute


A 10-minute story of the planet, inertia, desire, and deadly consequences.

Shop Front Theatre, Coventry


National Theatre Connections

We Lost Elijah and Mobile Phone Show

A play about Elijah and the riots. A rhapsody of rap, text, tweet and gabble.

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

MARCH 18-19

Highly Sprung Performance Company

The Mobile Phone Show

Jim Cartwright’s rhapsody of rap, text, tweet and gabble.

Shop Front Theatre, Coventry

MARCH 18-24

Deborah Tracey

Faids, Braids And Keeping It Real

LaToya, hot-shot stylist at Touching Silk Beauty Salon has stories to tell you.

Various hairdressers, Birmingham


Teasel Theatre

Grisly Tales From Tumblewater

Dickens meets Roald Dahl via Horrible Histories with laughs, frights and music.

The Public, West Bromwich.

Supported by Black Country Touring.

Argy Bhaji Arts & Women & Theatre

Something Out Of The Ordinary

Every day is the same, till something changes and nothing is ever the same again.

Co-op Car Park, Stirchley, Birmingham

The Fetch

East of the Sun, West Of the Moon

A tale of adventure featuring a magical white bear, a girl and an anarchic troll!

Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton. Supported by Black Country Touring.

Kindle Theatre

The Furies

A theatrical rock and metal gig for anyone who likes to let it all out.

@A.E. Harris, Birmingham