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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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.