The Birmingham Hippodrome Celebrates a Record Year

BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME - Local schoolchildren enjoying schools matinee performance of pantomime (Parental approval granted)

With over 625,000 tickets sold, the Birmingham Hippodrome has now announced 2013-14 as a record-breaking financial year. The theatre has for been recognised for some time as the country’s most popular single auditorium, averaging around 500,000 visits per year. Representing about 85% of capacity, this year’s increase is thanks in part to a slew of major shows like The Lion King, War Horse and Phantom of the Opera.

The news follows many other important steps forward for the theatre over the last few months, including its successful energy use reductions, its nomination as one of the Sunday Times’s “Top 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For”, and its certification in OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management), with the Hippodrome believed to be the first UK theatre to achieve the last of these.

stuart-griffithsSaid the Hippodrome’s Chief Executive Stuart Griffiths:

“It’s not very often that these programming moments come together so perfectly, but with more than a little help from our producer partners Cameron Mackintosh, Disney, the National Theatre and Pantomime producers Qdos, alongside others, it looks like we’ve shattered all previous known records.  It’s gratifying too that we’ve seen such a huge rise in first-time bookers with over 48% new to the Hippodrome in the last 12 months.

“Dance received a boost with our resident partners Birmingham Royal Ballet presenting its most successful Nutcracker  at Christmas; and Mathew Bourne’s sell out Swan Lake.   We ended the financial year this spring with two other huge successes, the classics Fiddler on the Roof and Singin’ in the Rain.”

In addition to a surge in ticket sales, the theatre’s Hippodrome Plus outreach scheme has been attracting a lot of attention, with the number of people involved in its creative learning projects having doubled to over 16,000. Big outdoor events like Summer in Southside, Illuminate and the Four Squares Weekender have been key to this growth. Elsewhere, fundraising has also increased dramatically, with generous donations from members of the public, as well as an expansion of the patron scheme and a rise in corporate membership of over 30%.

Neil Pugh - Building FrontEncouraged by this success, the Hippodrome team are now investing in lots of exciting new projects for the upcoming year. Said John Crabtree, Chair of the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust,

“In keeping with the successful formula created in recent years, the success of the last financial year is already being used to invest in the programme and towards further developing a diverse audience.  The month-long International Dance Festival Birmingham, co-produced with DanceXchange, starts at the end of April, South Africa’s Cape Town Opera return in July with their production of Show Boat whilst St. Petersburg’s acclaimed Mariinsky Opera bring Wagner’s Ring Cycle to Birmingham in November.”

Theatre exterior photo by Neil Pugh.

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Hotel La Tour to Lead Hippodrome Fundraising Gala in May

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Scheduled to take place on Saturday 10th May, the Birmingham Hippodrome’s fifth annual Gala Dinner will take place on the theatre’s grand stage, with Hotel La Tour as headline sponsors. All proceeds from the event will go to Hippodrome Plus, the new name for the Hippodrome’s Education, Access, Community and free outdoor performance work. 

Visiting the theatre in advance of the Gala, Hotel de la Tour’s Managing Director Jane Schofield said:

“The on-going partnership since 2013 with the Hippodrome has proved enormously successful for us and we are thrilled to be part of this very special event.  Both businesses are part of the city’s incredible visitor offer and we are committed to being at the forefront of that positive story.”

Almost 300 guests from businesses across the city will be welcomed to the event, packed full of specially commissioned entertainment, along with some “trademark Hippodrome surprises”. The evening will kick off with a champagne reception sponsored by Matthew Clark and Champagne Taittinger. Later, a live auction sponsored by law firm Shakespeares and presented by CP Bigwood’s Rory Daly will also give attendees the chance to win some fantastic prizes.

Said Hippodrome Chief Executive Stuart Griffiths:

“It’s great to be working with Jane and her team again. The generous support of Hotel La Tour means that we can achieve our aim of providing inspirational theatre experiences throughout the community.  This will be the fifth time we have run this special event on our stage, with funds raised grossing nearly £400,000 since 2005 going directly to supporting the theatre.”

One sponsorship slot still remains to be filled, and brands can also show their support with sealed bids prizes, goodie bag gifts or advertising. Those interested should contact the theatre’s Corporate Development Manager, Judith Greenberg by calling 0121 689 3082 or emailing judithgreenberg@birminghamhippodrome.com.

Find out more about Hippodrome Plus here.