THE Royal Shakespeare Company is pitching up in Birmingham to provide West Midlands culture vultures with one of the theatre events of the year.

The RSC is performing Brecht's A Life of Galileo at Birmingham Repertory Theatre with star thespian Ian McDiarmid leading the cast.

McDiarmid reprises the title role in Roxana Silbert’s celebrated production from this Friday until March 8 ahead of a UK tour.

Translated by Mark Ravenhill, A Life of Galileo, charts the renaissance scientist’s extraordinary fight with the Catholic church over his belief the earth orbits the sun.

In 1609 Galileo discovers the world is not flat which sparks one of the most scientific debates in human history - he on one side and the Catholic church on the other. This acclaimed play about the father of physics opened at the RSC in February 2013 and is in Birmingham as part of the Epic Encounters festival which celebrate the poems and plays of Bertolt Brecht.

McDiarmid is no stranger to out of this world roles having starred in four Star Wars films as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Emperor Palpatine.

His other film credits include Sleepy Hollow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gorky Park and Dragonslayer and recent theatre credits include Maximus in Emperor and Galilean for the National Theatre and the title role in John Gabriel Borkman for the Donmar Warehouse.

The cast also includes Matthew Aubrey (Andrea), Paul Hamilton (Federzoni), Chris Lew Kum Hoi (Cosimo de Medici), Katherine Manners (Virginia), Elizabeth Marsh (Mathematician), Patrick Romer (Cardinal Inquisitor), Jo Servi (Barberini), Sadie Shimmin (Sarti), Paul Westwood (Ludovico) and Cath Whitefield (Gaffone).

Roxana Silbert is Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, she was previously she was associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where her work included Dunsinane, A Soldier In Every Son, Measure for Measure and Richard III. Other directing credits include Tartuffe and Orphans for Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The production is designed by Tom Scutt, music and sound by Nick Powell, movement by Struan Leslie and lighting by Rick Fisher. It is presented in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Theatre Royal Bath productions.

For more information and tickets phone 0121 236 4455 or visit