JMK Bob Carlton Bursary at Birmingham Rep

We're thrilled to be launching the JMK Bob Carlton Bursary - which will fund an assistant director bursary at Birmingham Rep. We are delighted that Bob's family have chosen to fund an assistant director bursary in his memory in partnership with JMK. The first bursary is now open to applications from emerging directors/theatre-makers based in the Midlands, and the deadline is Friday 1st February. Further details can be found below:

Bob Carlton:

Bob Carlton was a writer and director who shared Dennis Potter's faith in the power of popular song within drama, most famously expressed in his show Return to the Forbidden Planet, which won the Olivier award for best new musical in 1989. Billed as "Shakespeare's forgotten rock'n'roll masterpiece", it grafted nearly 30 great hits on to plot and dialogue based on The Tempest.

As a young director he cut his teeth at Coventry, Lancaster and the York Theatre Royal, before taking over the London Bubble theatre, which toured the outer boroughs in a tent, offering productions aimed at younger audiences and non-theatregoers.

There he wrote Return to the Forbidden Planet, pioneering the actor/musician show. There were London runs in 1992 for From a Jack to a King (based on Macbeth) and in 1993 for Lust, a Heather Brothers musical based on Wycherley's The Country Wife.

Bob's commitment to popular theatre resumed at the Queen's theatre, Hornchurch, east London, which he ran from 1997 to 2014, winning improved backing from the Arts Council, the local authority and audiences, retaining Shakespeare, Brecht and pop music as his guides. A lifelong socialist, he believed that the theatre should be accessible in all ways.

The JMK Bob Carlton Bursary:

The JMK Trust in partnership with Birmingham Repertory Theatre is offering an assistant director bursary for Roxana Silbert’s upcoming production of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, adapted by Ursula Rani Sarma.

This assistant director bursary will provide a learning and training opportunity for a talented new director, based in the Midlands. There will be lots of opportunity to learn new skills and gain insights into the production process. We particularly welcome applications from members of the Afghan community who are currently under-represented within our workplace and with the artistic community of the Midlands. All applications from this community will be guaranteed an interview.

The assistant director will need to be available for:

W/C Monday 1st April 2019: Rehearsals, London

W/C Monday 8th April 2019: Rehearsals, London

W/C Monday 15th April 2019:  Rehearsals, London

W/C Monday 22nd April 2019: Rehearsals, London

W/C Monday 29th April 2019: Production Week, Birmingham Rep

Thursday 2nd May – Wednesday 8th May 2019: Previews through to Press Night, Birmingham Rep

And subsequently to attend the get-in and opening performances of the following runs:

W/C 20th May 2019: Performances at Hackney Empire

W/C 27th May 2019: Performances at Northern Stage (opens Thursday 30th May 19)

W/C 3rd June 2019: Performances at Northern Stage

W/C 10th June 2019: Performances at Northern Stage

W/C 24th June 2019: Performances in Southampton

W/C 1st July 2019: Performances in Southampton

As Assistant Director, your duties would include:

  • To provide general assistance to the Director and Associate Director.
  • As agreed with the Director, to carry out any research that will inform and benefit the production.
  • To observe rehearsals and have input to discussions and production meetings.
  • To assist the company in documenting the rehearsal process for the purposes of marketing, archiving and evaluating the project through blogs, social media and other forms as agreed.
  • To observe and assist the Director and Associate Director in the production week as required.
  • To attend and participate in post-show discussions by mutual agreement with the Producers.
  • To support the company whilst the play is in performance as agreed with the Director and Stage Manager, including seeing the production in to touring venues and noting the production on tour.
  • Any further duties as required by the Director and Associate Director.


The bursary is for £2,350 and covers the rehearsal and performance period until Wednesday 8th May 2019.


In addition to the above fee, The REP will provide accommodation in and travel for any work outside of Birmingham. No other out of pocket expenses will be covered.

How to apply

Please send a CV and covering letter to  by 6pm on Friday 1st February 2019. Interviews will be held Thursday 7th February 2019.

Please detail:

  • Why you are interested in working with Roxana Silbert on this production.
  • Your relevant experience, in theatre or other areas, and what you can bring to the role.
  • How this assisting opportunity and involvement in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre will contribute to your professional development.
  • Your commitment to living and making theatre in the Midlands.

If you have any difficulties with the above or would like to discuss it further please contact /0121 245 2065 or Lynette Dakin /0121 245 2045