panto pic The festive season is a time of yule logs, holly, carols . . . and panto, as well as shows to bring festive cheer without having to look behind you and we have collated a directory of the region's Christmas shows. More.  
troupers Pantomime's origins, at least in name, stretch back more than 2,000 years, building through the middle ages, adding on an Italian import, finding there is nothing like a dame, and even incorporating mediaeval religion. That's Panto for you, Oh yes it is! More   
mis cast Victor Hugo's Les Misérables didn't have an easy ride at its launch as either a book, or what is now a worldwide phenomenon as a musical. It runs at Birmingham Hippodrome in August 2022 and we look where it all started. More  
chottofeat After falling victim to Covid lockdowns last year Birmingham International Dance Festival is back with an on line June and a full blown live encore in September. More  
Elmhurst Ballet School ends a tumultuous year and its Principal, Jessica Wheeler talks about the problems faced by her and her staff protecting and teaching pupils form around the world. More  
womenfeat Raising a glass or five to Elmhurst Ballet School in the cause of helping to fund the ballet and dance stars of tomorrow. More  
quuen on bike old rep

The Snow Queen is an easy rider in this sparkling production at The Old Rep as Hans Christian Andersen's dark fairy tale is given a modern twist of the throttle More


feat forza

 It's a touch of the Vorsprung durch techniks with Welsh National Opera's collaboration with Bonn's Oper der Stadt Bonn to create their Verdi Machine to be seen for the first time in La forza del destino at Birmingham Hipporome. More.


new cast Sam Rabone talks to Gary Longden about his role as Widow Twankey in Aladdin at Lichfield Garrick More  
russia cast John Asquith has had the task of teaching the WNO cast and chorus to sing the Russian season heading for Birmingham Hippodrome in . . .  Russian More  
sampdad feat Sampad, the prominent South Asian arts organisation, is already involved in Utsav 2017, the Year of South Asian Arts, and are now gearing up for Birmingham Weekender in September. More  
cast Stage2's adaptations of Claire Dowie monologues into ensemble pieces has seen Bloomsbury publish four of the plays with the expanded scripts aimed at schools and youth theatres. More  
BTA Awards, 2016. Behind the Arras reviewers Roger Clarke, Roderic Dunnett Alison BrinkworthJeff Grant and Gary Longden look back on the highlights of 2016.  
nicolette3 BRB's The Nutcracker has become the herald of Christmas and opens with a celebrated guest conductor at Birmingham Hippodrome in front of it's creator, Sir Peter Wright, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday. More    
gaslight feat Kara Tointon, star of Strictly Come Dancing, Mr Selfridge and the West End, talks to Roger Clarke at The New Alexandra Theatre about her role in the new tour of Gaslight. More.   
panto launch The Belgrade in Coventry has launched its pantomime with high tea at Coombe Abbey and high jinks from Iain Lauchlan More  
tempest features David Bintley's new ballet, The Tempest, has its world premiere on 1 October at Birmingham Hippodrome More  
tom features Tom - the Musical arrives at The New Alexandra Theatre this week- the story of how Tommy Woodward, a miner's son from the Valleys became Tom Jones. More.  
lisa maxwell End of the Rainbow: Lisa Maxwell talks about appearing as Judy Garland in Peter Quilter's hit musical drama which tours in Malvern and  Wolverhampton. More.  


Zizi Strallen talks about acting and her role as Mary Poppins which opens at Birmingham Hippodrome on 9 March. More

impossible pic Three of the stars of Impossible, the mega-magic and illusion show at The New Alexandra Theatre this week, have been in Conversation with Behind The Arras. More  
tom and charlotte Tom Chambers and Charlotte Ritchie talk about appearing in the Noal Coward classic Private Lives. More  
sweeney feat The BTA Awards, 2015: For the first time BTA reviewers Roger Clarke, Gary Longden and Alison Brinkworth.are giving their own awards for the productions they have seen during the year. Pictured is Sweeney Todd which won two best opera awards.  


The stars of The New Alexandra Theatre's Christmas cracker talk about their roles in the new touring version of Hairspray More


sweeney feat

Welsh National Opera are bringing the blood and gore of Stephen Sondheim's dark musical Sweeney Todd to Birmingham Hippodrome and we have been along to see the preparations More


gran and ben

David Walliams talks about his novel Gangsta Granny and the Birmingham Stage Company adaptation which comes to the Alex in November and Coventry Belgrade in February next year. More


adrian jackson

Adrian Jackson talks the next chapter in the life of Wolverhampton Grand as he starts his first season in charge as chief executive More


cast of Jack

Jack Trott and Princess Jill are getting ready for a traditional panto treat with Jack and the Beanstalk at Lichfield Garrick More

dancers for weekender

Birmingham Weekender has given its first hint of what is to be launched on the streets of Birmingham in what has been dubbed Super September More while the Weekener's creative director, Roxana Silbert, talks about her first time running a festival More

Doug Nicholson

The man selling BRB to the world, Doug Nicholson, Head of Scenic Presentation at Birmingham Royal Ballet More

cast of DRS

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The stars of the hit musical comedy which starts its national tour at The New Alexandra Theatre have been talking to the Arras. Noel Sullivan, Carley Stenson and Mark Benton

shrek and fiona

SHREK - The Musical is a love story between an ogre and a Princess and we have been looking behind the scenes with Shrek, Princess Fiona and backstage.

satin and steel

VINCE is an aging club singer who still dreams of hitting the big time, Teena is a Polish karaoke enthusiast with a voice that could just be Vince’s ticket to stardom. Read on.


Welsh National Opera need hundreds of costumes a year on the grand scale and Diane Parkes has been to see how they do it More

open all hours

Co-director Jane Aston talks to Gary Longden about the touring production of Open All Hours at Lichfield Garrick More

dominic Antonucci

Dominic Antonucci, Ballet Master at Birmingham Royal Ballet, talks about his new venture as a music promoter More

Interactivos? Birmingham is a mix of workshops and perfromance to bring art and digital technology togther, Diane Parkes investigates. More

picture of Blackpool

John Godber's gentle comedy September in the Rain opens at Lichfield Garrick this week and We have been talking to its stars More

Thirty years ago the Miners Strike changed the face of industrial relations and policing and a generation on its effects are still felt today. Brassed Off is set in the aftermath of the strike, ten years on, as pit closures threaten a whole community . . . and the Colliery Band More

 Roger Clarke explains why he thinks Wet Side Story is the best musical ever More

Birmingham Royal Ballet star Iain Mackay talks about the daily slog of four and a half hours intensive work on the long hard road back to fitness after crippling injury in The Nutcracker More

The Strictly Live Tour 2014 opens again in Birmingham's NIA on January 17 and Behind The Arras has been talking to some of the stars of the smash hit show More

Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer Ruth Brill talks about choreographing George Gershwin's iconic Rhapsody in Blue for BRB's Evening of Music and Dance at Symphony Hall  More

Nick Arnold, creator of Horrible Science, tells Diane Parkes how he was a horrible child and has always been fascinated by gore . . . More


Welsh National Opera who arrive at Birmingham  Hippodrome on November 12 have 50 ticket every performance at a fiver in their Under 30s scheme aimed at attracting young people to opera More

Students from Birmingham Conservatoire have been finding out what it takes to play in a professional orchestra with Welsh National Opera More

After six years as Kelly Crabtree in Coronation Street Tupele Dorgu is going back to school as a working class hairdresser looking to learn about English Literature at lichfield Garrick in Willie Rushton's Educating Rita. More

The final touches to the spectacular scenery, last minute adjustments to the lighting and The Phantom of the Opera is ready to go in its eight week run at Birmingham Hippodrome More

Who is the man behind those words in the sky to tell you what is is being sung when WNO perform opera at Birmingham Hippodrome? Diane Parkes has been finding out. More

Lisa Riley, the surprise star of the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing talks about the current tour of Strictly live More

Bonnie Langford talks to Roger Clarke of Behind The Arras about her role in hit musical 9 to 5 which runs at The New Alexandra Theatre over Christmas - More

Sir Derek Jacobi talks about amateur theatre, Birmingham Rep, retirement and . . .  could we yet see him as a pantomime dame . . .

Sir Alan Ayckbourn's hidden gem, Haunting Julia, which he describes as a "supernatural love story", is on its first National Tour and arrives at Wolverhampton Grand on Monday, October 15. Roger Clarke has been talking to Tracey Childs, who along with director Andrew Hall is producing the ghostly story and then looks at some of the background to the play More

Terry Deary, the man who brought us Horrible Histories has been talking to Diane Parkes about how the idea started and how it has grown into books, TV and stage shows More

Dirty Dancing has been breaking box office records  around the country. Pproducer Karl Sydow has been talking to Roger Clarke about the film and the smash-hit show More 

CAPE Town Opera's acclaimed production of George Gershwin's Porgy & Bess arrives at Birmingham Hippodrome this month and Nancy Groves has been talking to the opera's managing director Michael Williams and one of its stars, Italian based soprano Tsakane Maswanganyi about the current tour. More

Rob Joiner,whose play Without a Helping Hand is one of the centrepices of the Capital Theatre Festival at the MAC, has been talking to Diane Parkes about his work More

Gary Longden has been talking to Simon Quinn, the man who is bringing a new stage  version of Pink Floyd's The Wall to Tamworth Assembly Rooms More

It is 14 years since Birds of a Feather was on our TV screens but the show is still remembered with affection as can be seen by full houses as their stage show tours the country - and it is picking up new fans as it goes. Here Roger Clarke talks to one of the stars, Linda Robson, who plays Tracey More

Birmingham Hippodrome closes for four weeks next summer to replace its 30-year-old stage and has now launched an appeal to find the money to pay the £1.13 million bill. More

Behind The Arras is now running its own theatre starting on October 19-20 at The Station Pub in Sutton Coldfield with Confessions of Honour, a play and cast which had a successful run in the West End More

The National Theatre's acclaimed production of R. C. Sherriff's Journey's End comes to Wolverhampton Grand in October. Paul Marston has talked to one of the stars while Roger Clarke has looked at the background to the play More

Top Hat was widely seen as the best of the 10 musicals made by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Now, 76 years on, the Top Hat has been dusted off, the white tie ironed and tails pressed for a new stage musical. Roger Clarke looks back at the film and the pair who inspired it all. More

Yes, Prime Minister sees our nation's leader Jim Hacker  once again boldly leading the nation in any direction Sir Humphrey Appleby wishes him to go – which is usually a journey which starts and ends somewhere around the status quo. Creators Sir Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn explain why they decided to bring politics' best known double act back twenty three years after they left our screens. More

Wallop Mrs Cox is Brum's very own musical, the story of the Cox family and the Bull Ring but how did it come about? Laurie Hornsby who wrote the songs puts it down to a lazy afternoon and the helpful spirit of his granddad. More

Paul Grace, Birmingham Royal Ballet's technical director, talks to Roger Clarke about the two and half year journey from idea to reality for the world premiere of Cinderella at Birmingham Hippodrome. More

Actress Caroline Nash talks to Roger Clarke about her funny, sad, and very human one woman play From Me to 3792 about a bored housewife who starts to write to a death row inmate in the USA. The play is at The Other RSC pub theatre at The Station in Sutton Coldfield on Wednesday and Thursday November 3 and 4 before heading off to Nottingham and Northampton. More

John Owen-Jones returns to Birmingham Hippodrome in February 2011 for the Three Phantoms with Earl Carpenter and Matthew Cammelle in a show which promises to be a celebration of musical theatre. Roger Clarke has been listening to the latest CD by the man voted the best Jean Valjean ever. More


Christopher Timothy who heads the cast of Haunting Julia which opens at Lichfield Garrick Studio on October 14 has been talking to Roger Clarke about why he took the role.  More The Director The Play


Roger Clarke has been talking to Andrew Hall director of Haunting Julia,Sir Alan Ayckbourn's 1994 ghost story and  the Lichfield Garrick Rep's autumn production and has been looking at the background of the play. The Director The Play Christopher Timothy

Former Young Birmingham Poet Laureate Matt Windle manages to mix  poetry and amateur boxing and talks to Gary Longden about his two passions

Adrian Jackson is the executive and artistic director of the Lichfield Garrick but he talks to Roger Clarke about his other career as an international conductor and musical director. More

Jo Bell is the director of National Poetry Day on October 7 and this year was Glastonbury's website poet in residence. She has been talking to Gary Longden. \More

Keith Jack, runner up in Any Dream Will Do,  has finally got his hands on Joseph's amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and is heading for the Hippodrome. More

Actor turned producer, director and now theatre owner Ian Dickens talks about hi repertory seasons and his fears for the future of theatre to Roger Clarke. More

Jean Bayless, seen left as Maria in the very first British production of The Suund of Music, loaned us her copy of the programme from that 1961 production and as the show opens at Birmingham Hippodrome, Roger Clarke has been taking a look to see how times have changed. More

Norman Pace plays Inspector Pratt in Peter Gordon's Murdered to Death in the final play of Wolverhampton Grand's month long repertory season of four Ian Dickens productions. Roger Clarke met him on stage at the Grand to talk about the play and his life as an actor. More

Christopher Biggins set to play Widow Twanky at the Grand tells Roger Clarke why panto is much more than knockabout fun at Christmas. More

Roger Clarke caught up with Joan Collins in Birmingham where she was at the Hippodrome to talk about her pantomime debut in Dick Whittington. More

Jean Bayless, seen here with Connie Fisher, the latest Maria in a half century of The Sound of Music, was the first to set the hills alive in 1961. She has been talking to Roger Clarke ahead of the musical arriving at the Hippodrome in July. More

As Birmingham Royal Ballet opens its 20th anniversary season  with Sleeping Beauty Roger Clarke talks to  the man who keeps the dancers on their toes - Shoe Master Michael Clifford. More

 Sir Laurence Olivier in what was perhaps his greatest role, Archie Rice in The Entertainer which was revived by Tom Roberts at the Lichfield Garrick studio in October, 2009.
 Roger Clarke looks back at the Britain and theatre of 1957 when John Osborne's play first appeared at the Royal Court. More