Happy Days Bring Blue Skies to Bullring…


Press & PR Assistant Ben Wooldridge (@benwooldridge) writes…

Happy Days were certainly here again this week as the cast of Happy Days – A New Musical arrived right in the heart of Birmingham for a fabulous fifties style press call.

Principal cast members Heidi Range of the Sugababes, former Emmerdale star Ben Freeman and the legendary skirt-whipping Cheryl Baker from Bucks Fizz tucked into retro milkshakes, hot-dogs and burgers in the ultra-cool Ed’s Diner in the Bullring’s Selfridges Food Hall where they met members of the press and media to talk about the arrival of the happiest show in town.

This fantastic new production arrives in Birmingham from next week – click here for more info and don’t miss it!

Take a look a photos from the press event below…



Previewing a theatrical coup for Birmingham…

This November, Mariinsky Theatre will bring Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle to Birmingham Hippodrome in a once in a lifetime week of Opera performance. Birmingham Post’s Christopher Morley headed over to St Petersburg to preview this exciting event…

Christopher Morley

Christopher Morley

Setting off for St Petersburg wasn’t much fun, what with a 4am wake-up call at Birmingham Airport, and a chaotic transfer at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. But the Air France flight onwards was wonderful, with a real meal as well (!).

St Petersburg was just emerging from the winter, the frozen-over canals in this Venice of the North just beginning to show tiny cracks, the magnificent Neva river already half-thawed, with seabirds perched on the edge of the ice hopefully scavenging, and an optimistic fisherman casting his line down into the newly-released waters from the apex of the main bridge.

This is such an elegant city, very reminiscent of Stockholm (they are both Baltic-situated), and a mixture of Mother Russia (onion-topped churches) and sophisticated Europe. What I particularly liked about it was its organisation of the many pedestrian crossings, arrows telling us which side to follow, and with countdown displays telling us how long was left before we might be mowed down.

Gotterdammerung © N.Razina

Gotterdammerung © N.Razina

And so I arrived at the purpose of my trip, the campus which holds both the original Mariinsky Theatre (what a gold-leaf jewel of an opera-house that is!) and its spankingly new grandchild, not yet a year old, glowing with opalesque warmth (LED backlighting making us forget the darkness of a north Russian winter), and entertaining a glittering retinue of some of the most stylish dressers, both male and female, you could ever hope to see.

Not just adults; I was there to catch Siegfried and Gotterdammerung, the last two episodes of Wagner’s epic Ring tetralogy, and was amazed to see tiny little youngsters there, girls dressed in their party best, boys grave and decorous, all happy to sit through five hours of demanding music.

There were also teenaged courting couples (“wanna come to the Ring with me?”), bless their cultured hearts. The Russians have got their attitude to culture right; perhaps the further west one goes, the more philistine and materialistic becomes the valuation of the arts.

Valery Gergiev, the super-conductor who bestrides the world stage always approaches music with such dedicated humility and his Ring interpretation was a fascinating experience which audiences in Birmingham will share in November. The setting and costuming evoke mythological resonances of long ago, and the musical performances fly on the wings of Wagner’s genius.

All these thoughts were with me as I flew back. And this time the transfer at Charles de Gaulle was brilliant — as had, yet again, been the Air France inflight meal.



Mariinsky Theatres

Raising the curtain on a new season…

Drum roll please… we are very pleased to bring you details of a brand-new season here at Birmingham Hippodrome.

This Spring/Summer we have some great previously announced highlights coming your way including the return of International Dance Festival Birmingham, National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors, Opera and Ballet from our partners WNO and BRB, Buddy, Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat and, of course, smash-hit Musical Wicked. We also head into the Autumn with two additional blockbusters, CATS and Blood Brothers and this November we host the epic Wagner’s Ring Cycle presented by Mariinsky Theatre.

Now, time for the big reveal… new productions for 2014/15 include the Birmingham Hippodrome debut for comedian Jon Richardson, Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo, the return of the ever-popular Slava’s Snow Show and BRB’s The Nutcracker, Matthew Bourne’s fantastic re-telling of Edward Scissorhands and the arrival of the big, green, West End hit Shrek – The Musical.

We are also very excited to reveal that Gary Wilmot, Paul Zerdin and Matt Slack will all be returning after critical and audience acclaim in last years pantomime for another year here in Jack in the Beanstalk this December. Further star casting for this year’s spectacular pantomime will be announced very soon…

The new season is on sale to Friends NOW with general tickets on sale Fri 11 Apr at 10am. Tickets for Shrek – The Musical go on sale to Friends Tue 6 May, Groups Mon 12 May and general on sale Wed 14 May. For more info on becoming a Friend click here. 

Take a look at our New Season Trailer below…