Creative Director Corey Campbell, interim CEO Neil Murray, and the whole team at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry are delighted to reveal details of ‘See It First’ – a programme of new plays, workshops involving some of the UK’s leading directors and writers, and conversations between artists and audiences, all running at the theatre from 17 – 27 July. 


There will be a major day-long symposium focussed on co-creation, a Black Leadership panel event, workshops on facilitating, devising and playwriting, and a piece of devised work presented by the Belgrade Ensemble, a cohort of the next generation of local performance artists. These events will be aimed at local artists and creatives who want to develop their craft, and to connect with their peers and industry leaders.

Three shows will be performed in B2 as part of See it First, giving audiences the opportunity to see brilliant new writing prior to the Edinburgh Festival in August. The shows will be performed as part of Paines Plough’s annual Roundabout programme in Edinburgh.

As previously announced, these shows will include darkly comic new drama, My Mother's Funeral: The Show, (a Paines Plough, Mercury Theatre, Belgrade Theatre, Landmark Theatres and Royal & Derngate Northampton co-production), running from Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 July.

Tones – A Hip Hop Opera, will run from Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 July. A piece of gig theatre like no other, ‘Tones - A Hip Hop Opera’ combines the gritty underground sounds of hip-hop, grime and drill with the melodrama of opera to tell the story of a treacherous path to self-discovery. Tones is from writer and performer Gerel Falconer who won Best Book and Lyrics at the Black British Theatre Awards 2023.

Main Character Energy will also run from Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 July. Staring award-winning writer and performer Temi Wilkey, this is a high-energy cocktail of comedy, audience interaction and cabaret, directed by Ragevan Vasan.  

On Wednesday 17 July there will be a panel event aimed at artists of African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx and African-American heritage, including people of mixed white and African diaspora heritage who identify as such, from the West Midlands, titled ‘Re-gathering: - Black Leadership Panel – Leadership as an artist’. This will be a facilitated interactive discussion on how people use artistry in Leadership and what the future holds for new leaders in the Midlands.

This forms part of the Belgrade’s commitment being a Black Artistry Hub in collaboration with The Birmingham Hippodrome and Talawa Theatre. Also on Wednesday 17 July, ‘The Belgrade Ensemble’, a cohort of the next generation of local performance artists, led by Creative Director Corey Campbell and Associate Director Jay Zorenti-Nakhid, will present a brand-new piece of devised theatre. This is the culmination of work after eight months of developing their craft, working on their technical skills and taking part in skill-specific masterclasses from a range of practitioners.

On Thursday 18 July, will be an informal conversation entitled ‘Paines Plough in Coventry – A Conversation with Joint Artistic Director Katie Posner’, where Katie will share plans for Paines Plough’s future in Coventry and answer questions from local artist and creatives about how they can get involved. Paines Plough have recently announced a move to Coventry, with a base at the Belgrade.

Saturday 20 July will see a playwriting workshop led by Ola Animashawun, a National Theatre Associate and Connections Dramaturg and co-founder and Creative Director of the playwriting consultancy, Euphoric Ink. He is also a former Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre, where he worked for 23 years, during which time he founded and ran the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, and set up a nationwide writers’ programme – Critical Mass – dedicated to finding and nurturing new playwrights from the Global Majority.

On Friday 26 July, The Belgrade will host a day-long Symposium entitled, ‘Can we just agree on what co-creation is?’ Guest contributors from across a range of sectors including the arts, social care and manufacturing will share best practice and establish some fundamental principles that can help unlock co creation and its potential to shape new narrative in an ever-changing industry. The speaker line up will be confirmed in due course. 

On Saturday 27 July, Corey Campbell and Jay Zorenti-Nakhid will lead a workshop exploring the practices of facilitating and devising in theatre – looking at the similarities and differences between the two practices and discussing how and where they overlap. Corey Campbell said: “We are incredibly excited about ‘See it First’ – we want The Belgrade to be an artistic hub for the region.

“It will be an opportunity for audiences to see incredible new writing before shows go to Edinburgh – a chance to see this type of work right here in Coventry. It will also provide an opportunity for local artists and creatives to network and learn new skills.”

‘See It First’ will be for the curious, for artists in search of inspiration and audiences in search of new adventure. “We are passionate about new writing, unearthing new stories and sharing them with people who want to see them.”

Further events and workshops and full speaker line up will be announced later this month.