Those of you lucky enough to be under the age of 26, may have heard that at Birmingham Hippodrome we have a brand new scheme for young theatre goers. We know a good thing when we see one and couldn’t resist the chance to follow the path ‘A Night Less Ordinary*’ had set and develop our own scheme for young theatre goers – be they loyal enthusiast’s or modest newcomers. In May this year we launched our First Night scheme, giving 16-21 year old’s the chance to see selected first night performances for just £5!
The initiative has opened doors for many young patrons, offering them the chance to see performances including musicals, plays, ballet, opera and contemporary dance for a mere fiver. Amongst our First Nighter’s we found two enthusiasts, Alex Woolliscroft and Marcus Hubbard who have now become our First Night reviewers, reporting back on the opening of new productions, press launches of forthcoming shows and writing openly and honestly about their experiences with Birmingham Hippodrome’s brand new scheme. Marcus and Alex, both 17, have joined us during a period of some of the most important theatrical evenings of this year, including the opening night of We Will Rock You.
At the press night (attended by Brian May himself!) the bloggers had the chance to experience the opening of a major musical up close and personal, including access to the VIP reception and pre-show party. Marcus described the event as “My highlight so far… to meet lots of new people at the drinks reception and to see such an amazing show was a lot of fun!”. After well and truly getting their rock-on the two reporters rushed home to blog about their First Night at We Will Rock You – you can read Alex’s blog HERE and Marcus’s review HERE.
Following on from the excitement of the previous evening, the web-wise reporters then joined us in our Stageside restaurant for the launch of our outdoor programme, Six Summer Saturdays. Animating the city with the very best outdoor and interactive theatre, the series of six weekends of FREE performance follows on from last year’s extremely successful festival. At the launch, Marcus and Alex were joined by a host of weird and wonderful characters including two very large, very red and very friendly lobsters! The event also gave our bloggers the chance to try out some very special glasses. The specs allow the wearer, via a video camera built into the front of the frames, to record and film the events around them from a very personal perspective. You can see the results by visiting our Youtube Channel.
To round off a week or so of star studded special events our young reviewers made the journey to Villa Park for the launch of next summer’s blockbuster production of Dirty Dancing. The pinkest, glitziest of launches offered the bloggers a chance to preview the show via special performances and Q&A sessions as well as sitting on the specially reserved press table and a chin wag with some of the most influential of press contacts in Birmingham.
As representatives of the scheme, both Marcus and Alex have shown the enthusiasm and passion for theatre that the First Night initiative encourages and Birmingham Hippodrome is very proud to have created. Talking about the scheme, Marcus said “I think First Night is a good idea because it makes theatre accessible for people who might not go as often. The scheme means I’ll be able to see a broader range of shows that I wouldn’t usually book tickets to see, which is what I’m most looking forward to.” For more information on how you can join the First Night scheme for free, click HERE.
Marcus and Alex continue to report on the First Night Scheme and their experiences- see below for links to their blogs:
*In February 2009 Arts Council England launched A Night Less Ordinary in association with Metro. The scheme offered over half a million (618,000) free theatre tickets to anyone under 26 at more than 200 venues throughout England.