The upcoming sixth series of the hit BBC drama Peaky Blinders will be the penultimate, a new dance-drama production written by show creator Steven Knight to tell the Birmingham gangster saga on the scene.
Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby, announced on Monday, will open this autumn at Birmingham Hippodrome and then tour in 2023. It is a collaboration with dance company Rambert and will feature a cast of 20 and a live band playing specially commissioned music.
French choreographer Benoit Swan Pouffer, announced as Rambert’s new artistic director in 2018, will stage what he describes as an “inspiring and uplifting” production. The stage show picks up the story of the Peaky Blinders at the end of World War I and opens in the trenches. It will focus on the romance between Tommy Shelby (played in the Cillian Murphy TV series) and bartender-undercover agent Grace Burgess (played by Annabelle Wallis).
Knight said the series “has always had music and movement at its heart and now the beating heart of the show will be transferred to the stage”. The production “is dance for people who don’t usually watch dance,” he continued. “If the concept of a Peaky Blinders dance seems odd, reserve judgment and book a ticket.”
Helen Shute, CEO and Executive Producer of Rambert, said: “We are incredibly honored by the confidence of Steven Knight with his beloved Peaky Blinders…We look forward to welcoming a new generation of audiences to theaters with a story that talks to so many people.”
The show will have its world premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome, where it will run from September 27 to October 2. It then moves to the Troubadour Wembley Park theater in London (from October 12 to November 6) before embarking on a tour in 2023.
Pouffer, who will direct and choreograph the production, said the show “is something on a scale we’ve never done before” and “couldn’t be more up for the challenge.” Rambert is Britain’s oldest dance company and had a 14-month hiatus from touring caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – the longest hiatus in its 95-year history. A grant from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund helped the company return to the stage last May. In September 2019, Pouffer choreographed a performance by Rambert at the first official Peaky Blinders festival, a weekend also featuring Primal Scream and held in the Digbeth and Small Heath areas of Birmingham, where the original gang who took over were based. inspired the series.
This isn’t the first time Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has written for the stage. His play The President of an Empty Room, set in a day in a Cuban cigar factory, was staged by Howard Davies at the National Theater in London in 2005. Last year, Knight said the story from Peaky Blinders would continue as a movie after the TV series ended. “My plan all along was to end Peaky with a movie,” he told Deadline. “That’s what will happen.”
Ahead of Rambert’s show opening, a separate stage production is hoping to attract the huge fan base of the TV juggernaut which first aired on BBC2 in 2013 and whose fifth series – taking a big time slot listens Sunday nights on BBC1 – launched to an audience of 6.2 million in 2019 The immersive theater show Peaky Blinders: The Rise will be presented at the Vanguard Theater in Camden, north London, this summer. It is directed by Tom Maller and designed by Rebecca Brower whose immersive Doctor Who: Time Fracture adventure began in the summer of 2021.