Say hello to our Youth Ambassadors at Summer in Southside

Birmingham Hippodrome Youth Ambassador Heather Kincaid introduces us to the rest of the Youth Ambassador Team, who will be out and about at this year’s Summer in Southside

After a year of Talkaoke training, outdoor festival attending, arts debating and creative brainstorming, the Birmingham Hippodrome’s Ambassador team are raring to get started on this year’s Summer in Southside Festival, hosting a whole range of things for you to get involved with throughout the weekend.

If you attended last year’s festival, you may have spotted our pop-up talk show around the event, and perhaps even sat down to speak to us about the shows you were enjoying. Some of you even got chance to speak to the performers and creators of the amazing shows on the programme.

This year, however, we’re shaking things up and doing something a little different. In the daytime, you’ll be able to join us for a chilled out chat at our retro chrome caravan and summer garden. Sit back, unwind, and tell us about the shows you’ve seen with a refreshing drink in hand. You can also share your thoughts in writing or pictures and help us fill up our washing line, or tweet them to us in your own time with the hashtag #BHAmbassadors.

Then on Saturday night, we’ll be turning up the volume for an exciting evening filled with music and performance. From 8 till late, the ambassadors will be taking over Thorp Street’s Stageside Bar and Restaurant, and as a special offer, those who attend three or more Summer in Southside shows during the day will be eligible for 20% off drinks from the bar: make sure you collect a card and get it stamped by a festival volunteer at each show you see.

If you’re tweeting, there’ll also be a chance to earn a prize in our Ambassador Hunt competition: to be in with a chance of winning, you’ll need to grab a selfie with each of the ambassadors below and tweet them to #BHAmbassadors and @brumhippodrome.

We look forward to meeting you!

Meet the Team

Heather Kincaid

Heather Kincaid

Heather Kincaid

A writer and arts journalist, Heather first got involved with the Hippodrome through its First Night Blogging scheme, which gave her the chance to see and review a brilliantly diverse range of shows. As an ambassador, she has loved discovering more about the local arts scene, and connecting with creatives from Birmingham and across the UK.

When she’s not hanging around the Hippodrome, she writes for local publications like What’s On Midlands, Electrolyte Magazine and Time Out’s Birmingham blog, as well as volunteering with Writing West Midlands and nerding out as an editor for MCM Buzz. She has previously worked for Children’s BBC television, and spends as much time as she can reading, daydreaming and making up silly stories.

Sipho Dube

Sipho Dube

Sipho Dube

A freelance actor, dancer, spoken word poet, performer and writer based in Birmingham, Sipho sees encouraging people to engage with art, heritage and culture as a vital part of his job. He believes that creativity is important to our society and well-being as individuals, helping us to build and maintain empathy.

Mary Davies

Mary Davies

Mary Davies

Mary is thrilled to be working with the Birmingham Hippodrome on Summer in Southside for a second year running, after a wonderful time at last year’s festival. She particularly enjoyed engaging in discussions around theatre, meeting new people and hearing their opinions and ideas about art and performance.

An undergraduate Drama and English Literature student, Mary is currently between her second and third years at the University of Birmingham. Theatre has always been an important influence in her life, and she can’t wait to speak to people about the theatre that interests them this summer.

William Costello

William Costello

William Costello

Will has been working across several projects as a Hippodrome Ambassador, including last year’s Summer in Southside Festival. Having recently graduated from the University of Birmingham, he is now beginning a career as a freelance performer, working with various local venues whilst establishing his own physical theatre company.

Siobhan Powell

Siobhan Powell

Siobhan Powell

For Siobhan, being a Hippodrome Ambassador is all fun and games, offering opportunities to experience festivals like no other. She may not say much, but she thinks a lot more, and being introduced to new shows and new people through the Ambassador scheme has given her plenty to think about.

Lucy Bishop

Lucy

Lucy Bishop

Lucy first got involved with the Birmingham Hippodrome Ambassadors last summer, and has worked alongside the team on many projects. Since graduating from Bangor University with a degree in English and Theatre Studies, she has been involved in several theatre projects across the Midlands, most notably Shakespeare in the Park in Lichfield.

Summer in Southside is a FREE festival taking place around Southside on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 August, with a preview event on Friday 28 August in the evening. For more information and details on who is performing please visit the Summer in Southside website.

Creative Shift speak to our former CEO Stuart Griffiths in their latest podcast

You may know that as well as being the UK’s busiest theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome has an in-house consultancy practice, Creative Shift.  Creative Shift is inspired by theatre and the wider arts to work with businesses who want to develop their people and grow their profits.

CreativeShift-Paint

 

Clients have included Ernst & Young, St Modwen, Bareface Media, Rewired Media Group, Ammba Digital, UKTI as well as Coventry University, Aston University and the Creative Partnership Board of the local LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership).  Creative Shift also provide staff and management training for staff here at Birmingham Hippodrome as well as events with our Leading Ladies business network.

To get a flavour of their work, the Creative Shift vlogs  and podcasts have proved very popular.

The monthly Creative Shift podcast has just been relaunched.  It aims to feature a short explanation of a useful business topic, an interview with an entrepreneur, business leader, academic or policy maker and a quirky perspective on some aspect of life!  They are recorded at Kings Heath’s hidden gem – the fabulous Highbury Studio – the studio where UB40, Ocean Colour Scene, Duran Duran and others recorded albums.

This month’s podcast features our former CEO Stuart Griffiths, just a couple of weeks after his departure from Birmingham Hippodrome.  Stuart shares the story of how Birmingham Hippodrome has changed under his leadership in the last 12 years, the challenges of opening a newly refurbished (much bigger) Birmingham Hippodrome, building an audience again and the new things that Birmingham Hippodrome has done to become the place that so many people love.  So if you miss him already – tune in and hear what he has to say…

 

PT Barnum – the Midlands connection

Roll up, roll up! Entertainer and Birmingham Hippodrome legend Brian Conley is currently starring on our stage as infamous American showman PT Barnum in the Cameron Mackintosh and Michael Harrison production of the musical Barnum, based on the life of one of America’s most famous men.

Phineas Taylor Barnum was born in Bethel, Connecticut in 1810 and went on to become one of America’s richest and most famous men. He owned Barnum’s American Museum in New York City which was home to many well-known hoaxes and human curiosities, including the Feejee Mermaid and General Tom Thumb. In later life he teamed up with James Bailey to run Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – which he called the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.

PT Barnum

PT Barnum

After visiting England to perform for Queen Victoria, PT Barnum tried to purchase Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon when it came up for auction in 1846. He wanted to dismantle this landmark and rebuild it thousands of miles away in America. He was only stopped when great British writer Charles Dickens, outraged that the house might be taken away from the British people, joined forces with others to form what is now the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and bought the house for £3,000 – securing its status as a national treasure

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

To delve a little deeper into this unique link between one of the most famous men in America and probably England’s most famous export – Shakespeare, the Birmingham Hippodrome press team packed up Brian Conley and Linzi Hateley into a car and headed for Stratford-upon-Avon.

Upon arrival Brian and Linzi were greeted by Alisan Cole, Lisa Mealing and Dr Paul Edmondson from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – plus a number of photographers and reporters from the local media keen to learn more about the Barnum connection.

Head of Research & Knowledge Dr Paul Edmondson led everyone on whistle stop tour around the birthplace, with the help of a lovey female guide dressed in period costume from Shakespeare’s day. The tour ended in an upstairs room which had a table laid out with a number of items held in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s archives that relate to PT Barnum’s visit. Brian and Linzi were show each individual item by Head of Collections Paul Taylor, and Collections Assistant Victoria Joynes. The items on display included a clipping from the Birmingham Weekly Post (now the Birmingham Post) reporting on PT Barnum’s visit to England; a copy of PT Barnum’s autobiography and an entry in the Shakespeare’s Birthplace visitors book signed in 1844 by PT Barnum.

Dr. Paul Edmondson, Head of Research & Knowledge, Paul Taylor, Head of Collections, and Victoria Joynes, Collections Assistant.

(L-R) Brian Conley, Dr. Paul Edmondson, Head of Research & Knowledge, Paul Taylor, Head of Collections, Victoria Joynes, Collections Assistant and Linzi Hateley.

After looking over the archives Brian and Linzi headed out into the Birthplace gardens for an interview with BBC Midlands Today presenter Satnam Rana which will be broadcast on the programme this week.

After an interesting day, Brian and Linzi headed back to the theatre to get their costumes and make-up on ready for their evening performances as PT Barnum and Chairy.

You can catch Barnum here until 1 August. For tickets visit our website or call 0844 338 5000 #BHbarnum

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