Birmingham Hippodrome Listed in Top 100 Not-For-Profit Organisations

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The Birmingham Hippodrome has been ranked 76th in the 2014 Sunday Times list of Best Not-For-Profit Organisations To Work For. To create the list, the Sunday Times surveyed 250,000 employees at 897 different organisations, making this the UK’s largest workplace engagement survey.

With 111 members of staff and many more casual employees, the Hippodrome is amongst the UK’s largest presenting venues. The Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust is an unsubsidised, independent charity with a volunteer board of trustees. In a survey conducted by the Sunday Times, 89% of employees felt they were making valuable contributions to the theatre’s success, and 84% said that they felt proud to be working there. 88% were happy with the theatre’s environmental management and commitment to reducing its energy usage, and a majority of staff have good working relationships with their managers, feeling able to speak honestly and openly with them.

Birmingham Hippodrome boxThe full list of organisations was revealed at an awards ceremony in Battersea last night. Said the Hippodrome’s Chief Executive, Stuart Griffiths:

“This is our first time in the well-known Sunday Times listing, so we are very proud to have been ranked in the top 100 companies.   We strive to do the best we can by working closely with our excellent team across all areas of this complex and unpredictable business.  This means we can then deliver the best possible theatre experience for our diverse and growing audiences.”

For more information, check out the About Us section on the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Making a Storm this Spring – Singin’ in the Rain & Happy Days

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Full of Spring cheer and energy, two massive musical shows guaranteed to brighten up the rainy days will be bounding over to the Birmingham Hippodrome in March and April.

James Leece as Don, Amy Ellen Richardson as Kathy & Stephane Anelli as Cosmo in Singin' in the Rain - Photo credit Hugo GlendinningFirst up, on Tuesday 18th March, Chichester Festival Theatre’s acclaimed production of Singin’ in the Rain will make its down from the West End’s iconic Palace Theatre. So far, the show has received four Olivier Award nominations, and has played to over 750,000 people. Due to massive demand, an extra matinee performance has already been added to the Hippodrome run at 2pm on Friday 21 March.

The production, which features, “half a mile of flexible pipe work, and a 10 tonne water tank and a water system that creates a downpour from above and flooding from below the stage,” and uses over 12,000 litres of water per performance, is directed by Jonathan Church, who served as artistic director of the Birmingham REP from 2001-06. Starring in the show will be James Leece and Amy Ellen Richardson as lovers Don Lockwood and Kathy Selden, Stephane Anelli as sidekick Cosmo Brown, Steps singer Faye Tozer as demanding starlet Lina Lamont, and international stage and screen star Maxwell Caulfield as studio boss R. F. Simpson.

Said Rob McPherson, the Hippodrome’s Director of Marketing and Development:

Singin’ in the Rain is one of musical theatre’s classic masterpieces and it’s great to see that the show is as popular now as it ever has been. Due to a downpour of public demand we are pleased to announce an extra matinee performance in order to allow as many sitr tour-334 DG editpeople of Birmingham the chance to dig out their umbrellas and join us in the days of Hollywood gone by – we are looking forward to seeing those who will be braving the ‘splash zone’ in the front few rows…”

To get some exclusive behind the scenes insights from star of the show Max Caulfield, check out the latest Hippodrome podcast here. Plus, for a chance to win some extra special Singin’ in the Rain goodies, follow @brumhippodrome on Twitter and send us a picture of yourself singing in the rain. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BHSingin!

Singin’ in the Rain is showing at the Birmingham Hippodrome from Tuesday 18th March until Saturday 5th April. Tickets are priced from £16-45 with some £5 First Night seats available for those aged 16-23. You can book via the Birmingham Hippodrome website, or by calling 0844 338 5000. If you’re using the First Night scheme, don’t forget to tell us what you think here.

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Following this, a brand new musical based on the classic TV series Happy Days will be making its UK premiere at the theatre, featuring all the original characters as they battle to save their diner Arnold’s from demolition.

(L-R) Cheryl Baker as Mrs Cunningham, Ben Freeman as The Fonz, Heidi Range as Pinky Tuscadero in Happy Days - A New Musical (Photo Paul Coltas)Happy Days – A New Musical is written by Garry Marshall, creator of the original show and director of many hit feature films including Beaches, Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries. In addition to the Happy Days theme  tune, it will feature 21 brand new songs by Bugsy Malone composer and Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning songwriter Paul Williams.

Starring in the show will be Emmerdale’s Ben Freeman as The Fonz, Sugababes singer Heidi Range as Pinky Tuscadero and Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker as Mrs Cunningham. Choreography is by Andrew Wright, who also choreographed the current tour of Singin’ in the Rain, while original “Fonz” Henry Winkler will act as Creative Consultant. Amy Anzel, who featured in recent Channel 4 documentary The Sound of Musicals, is producing.

Happy Days – A New Musical will be showing at the Birmingham Hippodrome from Tuesday 22nd until Saturday 26th April. Tickets are priced from £15-37 and can be booked from the Birmingham Hippodrome website, or by calling 0844 338 5000. If you are aged 16-25 and are purchasing £5 First Night tickets, please give us your thoughts here.

Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat Sails Into Birmingham on its First UK & Ireland Tour

ImageThis week, the Birmingham Hippodrome is releasing tickets for its summer run of Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat. As the first stop on its upcoming UK and Ireland tour in July, the Hippodrome and its audiences will be treated to the country’s first ever performance of this production.

Based on a novel by Edna Ferber, Show Boat is set in the old American south, and was first performed on Broadway in 1927. It tells the story of the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River Show Boat, following the lives of its performers, stagehands, and dock workers over a 40-year period.

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In the Cape Town Opera production, the theme of racial tensions is given added significance, reflecting South Africa’s troubled past while looking forward to the bright future ahead. The company has performed to great acclaim around the world, and its chorus was last year named Best International Opera Chorus at the International Opera Awards.

Glad to welcome Cape Town Opera back to Birmingham after its 2012 tour of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the Hippodrome’s Chief Executive Stuart Griffiths describes the booking as part of the theatre’s “ongoing ambition to bring the city the best in international performance from the finest companies across the world”.

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Directed by Janice Honeyman and accompanied by the Cape Philarmonic Orchestra, the show features set design by the renowned Johan Engels, and over 200 carefully crafted period costumes.

Said Michael Williams, Managing Director of Cape Town Opera:

“We are thrilled to bring Cape Town Opera’s production of Show Boat to the UK for the very first time, with an exceptional cast, our award-winning chorus and joined by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. This first UK visit of this production will showcase the talents of the company whilst offering a wonderful spectacle and experience for all the family.”

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Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat will be showing at the Birmingham Hippodrome from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th July. Member tickets are on sale from today, and tickets will be available for the general public from Wednesday 12th February, priced at £17.50-£43. To book, call 0844 338 5000 or visit the Birmingham Hippodrome Website. If you’re aged 16-23 and using the First Night scheme, don’t forget to tell us what you think.

Images by Malin Arnesson.

All Singing, All Dancing – 2014 at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Having ended a hugely successful 2013 with record-breaking Christmas panto attendance (over 115,000 people saw the show), the Birmingham Hippodrome is now dancing and singing its way into the new year with tons of exciting ballet and musical shows, beginning with a run of Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed Swan Lake production, which opens at the theatre tonight.

Matthew Bourne's SWAN LAKE. 15-12-2009

Following several previous sell-out seasons at the Hippodrome, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is returning for a two-week run, from Wednesday 5th – Saturday 15th February. Widely considered to be a “modern-day classic”, Bourne’s reinterpretation of the original ballet sees the traditional female cast replaced by an all-male ensemble. The iconic production has so far received over 30 international theatre awards, including three Tony Awards. Said Bourne of his return to Birmingham:

Birmingham Hippodrome continues to be one of the most important dance venues in the country and has some of the best facilities for dancers.  I am privileged and thankful to have such a strong relationship with all at Birmingham Hippodrome and the audience who have been so supportive of my work and my Company.”

This current season will see the Prince played by returning dancers Simon Williams and Sam Archer, as well as Liam Mower, who will be making his debut in the role. The Olivier Award-winning Mower previously starred in the original West End run of Billy Elliot.

In addition to the main production, audience members attending on Thursday 13th February will also have the chance to see a special “curtain raiser” performance by students from Stratford-Upon-Avon College, Walsall College and Birmingham Ormiston Academy. Inspired by Swan Lake, this five-minute show will be performed by 19 students who, over the past few months, have been working closely with Dominic North, one of Matthew Bourne’s principal dancers, and Clare Palethorpe, a freelance dance practitioner. To see get a sneak preview behind the scenes of the show, check out the official Hippodrome blog.

If you’re attending the show, don’t forget to tweet @brumhippodrome about your experience, using the hashtag #BHSwans. If you’ve been lucky enough to grab yourself £5 First Night tickets, please give us your thoughts on the scheme here.

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Following on from Swan Lake, an exciting new production of Fiddler on the Roof will be showing from Tuesday 11th – Saturday 15th March. The nine time Tony Award-winning musical is amongst Broadway’s longest running shows, and is filled with instantly recognisable songs such as If I Were A Rich Man, Matchmaker Matchmaker, To Life, Tradition and Sunrise Sunset.

This latest production is directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood and stars Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky & Hutch) as Tevye, a local milkman whose traditional ideals are challenged when his headstrong daughters decide to marry for love, rather than accept the advice of Yente the Matchmaker. Glaser also featured in the 1971 film adaptation of the show, as the student and Bolshevik revolutionary Perchik. Sarah Travis is the production’s musical director and set and costume are designed by Diego Pitarch. Said Executive Producer John Stalker:

We are thrilled to welcome Paul Michael Glaser to the iconic and starring role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. It is a part he has longed to play for years and that he has chosen to realise his dream in this new production from Craig Revel Horwood for Music & Lyrics is both humbling and tremendously exciting. Musical theatre lovers the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland are in for a very special treat and we expect demand for tickets to be high”.

Tickets for Fiddler on the Roof cost £15-£37 with some £5 tickets available for those aged 16-23 as part of the First Night scheme. Please let us know if you are using the scheme. To book, call 0844 338 5000 or visit the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

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In May, Matthew Bourne will be directing a second production at the Hippodrome, his large-scale dance spectacular, The Lord of the Flies. The production will be showing from Wednesday 14th until Saturday 17th May as part of the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014.

Presented by New Adventures in partnership with Re:Bourne, and choreographed by Olivier Award nominee Scott Ambler, the show will bring together professional dancers with young people from the West Midlands region. Professional dancers will include Sam Archer as ‘Maurice’, Luke Murphy as ‘Sam’, Dominic North as ‘Ralph’, Sam Plant as ‘Piggy’, Alastair Postlethwaite as ‘Eric’, Danny Reubens as ‘Jack’ and Dan Wright as ‘Roger’. The young cast will be unique to each venue on the production’s tour, The full cast for the Birmingham Hippodrome performance has yet to be announced. The show will also feature music by Terry Davies and set and costume design by Olivier-Award winner Lez Brotherston. Its touring directors are New Adventures principal dancers Adam Galbraith and Alan Vincent.

Tickets for The Lord of the Flies are priced at £15-£36 and can be booked by calling the box office on 0844 338 5000, or by visiting the Hippodrome’s website.

Finally, if you’re a user of the Hippodrome’s First Night scheme for 16-23 year olds, we’d love to hear your thoughts. The Hippodrome’s current First Night Bloggers have designed this quick survey to find out how you use the scheme and what shows you’d like to see more of, to help the Hippodrome to keep making things even better for you. If you have the time, please take a moment to fill it out. Thanks for your help!