Steve Ball

This month we get up close and personal with the former clown and associate director of the REP, Steve Ball

Been there done that

I trained as a primary school teacher and spent four years teaching in Essex and – for want of a change – Barcelona. I then trained as an actor and spent a couple of years working for educational theatre companies across the UK before moving to Birmingham in 1986 for a job as a clown! I’m not sure that I possessed all the qualities needed so developed the role into a one-person educational theatre company known as Language Alive that is still thriving 30 years later. I’ve also worked as a Producer for the BBC and was Head of Arts for Birmingham City Council before joining The REP in 2003.

It’s what I do

I’m associate director at The REP and I lead our work with schools, young people and communities. The REP is a fantastic learning resource and it’s my job to make sure that as many people as possible can engage with the life of our theatre. We enjoy long-term partnerships with schools, run a network of 15 youth theatres and work with adults in a variety of different ways.

What I’d like to see

I’m not sure that I am hugely ambitious in terms of my own career in that I have the dream job I have always wanted. But I am ambitious for Birmingham. Two of the city’s amazing assets are our young people – we are after all the youngest city in Europe – and talented artists and arts organisations. I’m passionate about finding new and exciting ways to bring them together.

Biggest successes

I think my proudest moment was in Warsaw in Poland two years ago when Birmingham won the bid to host the World Festival of Theatre for Young Audiences with 81% of the votes. The festival, this year entitled On The Edge takes place in Birmingham from 2 – 9 July and as the event has never taken place in the UK before it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to show off the city to festival goers from across the world and a chance to share some amazing theatre from across the globe with children, young people and families.

Biggest lesson learned

Look after your family and friends, never turn down an opportunity, speak out when you need to and try to live a ‘real’ life rather than a ‘virtual’ one.

What I like about Brum

I love Birmingham. As an adoptive Brummie I never cease to be amazed by the warmth of the people, our heritage and our rapidly changing built environment. I think we need to shout a bit louder about our city and everything it has to offer.


One of the many great things about working in the Arts is that it comes with a ready made social life that constantly keeps you entertained. I’m not one for putting my feet up in front of the telly but I do enjoy being with family and friends many of whom complain that I am never in the country! That’s not quite true but I often boast that I never waste a day’s holiday at home. Life’s too short!


Make a date with On The Edge which tales place across Birmingham from 2 – 9 July