Birmingham has a vast array of theatres from the large theatres that host touring spectaculars to the smaller theatres that host new writers and groups. Which leads us into a new series of blogs about the theatres of Birmingham (well, the ones I’ve been to – I’ll admit, I’ve not been to all of them!)
First up is the first theatre in Birmingham I went to when I first moved here, the Birmingham Hippodrome.
The Hippodrome has a vast history opening back in the 1890s as the Tower of Varieties and Circus it even had a replica Blackpool Tower which stayed until 1963. It was an enterprise that failed quickly and reopened as the Tivoli in 1900, becoming the Hippodrome in 1903. The current auditorium was designed in 1924 and seats around 1,900. It underwent a huge transformation in the early 2000s to update its facilities and building as well as the opening of the Patrick Centre – a studio space that is used primarily by the Dance XChange as well as by other outside groups.
Although it tends to host touring shows, the theatre is the home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB). Recently celebrating 20 years together there was a gala performance with HRH Prince Charles (which I was lucky enough to attend). Therefore within the regular touring musicals there will be a season of ballets that compliments the array of shows that they show.
Last year the Hippodrome launched Six Summer Saturdays. Six different events that take place in a variety of locations across the city. Last year it was a huge success and is being repeated this year with six new events.
What kind of shows will you find at the Hippodrome?
The Hippodrome is the home to the big touring musicals (in the summer there tends to be a blockbuster musical for several weeks), the huge record breaking pantomimes (the last one starred Joan Collins, Julian Clary and Nigel Havers!) and ballet and opera.
Who goes to the Hippodrome?
Thanks to its varied seasons, anyone from families to the older generation and from all walks of life are found at the Hippodrome.
What’s coming up?
Currently the host to the smash hit tour of ‘We Will Rock You’. Future shows this season include ‘Top Hat’, ‘End of the Rainbow’, ‘Slava’s Snow Show’, ‘BRB’s Nutcracker’ and the panto ‘Cinderella’ with Brain Conley and Lynda Bellingham.
First show seen here?
Jerry Springer the Opera
Last show seen here?
Yes, Prime Minister
Over notable shows seen:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Mary Poppins; Slava’s Snow Show; Flashdance; Footlosse; Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, The Car Man & Dorian Gray; BRB Nutcracker