Our Technical & Events Teams transform Vacant bank into vibrant Great Gatsby awards dinner

Birmingham Hippodrome is renowned for bringing some of the biggest West End productions to its main stage however guest blogger Rosalind Wilson, our Conference & Events Sales Manager, writes about a recent large scale production that happened off stage.

For the last four years popular national restaurant chain Las Iguanas have hired our conference and event services to deliver their Annual Awards Dinner.  The events have seen our technical team, led by technical co-ordinator Paul Keogh and Technical Manager Barry Hope, transform various spaces, both within the theatre and outside, themes for the events have included a spectacular Ice Palace and an Enchanted Forest. Our Events team look after the coordination and our award winning Catering Team deliver the dinners. We were delighted Las Iguanas once again chose Birmingham Hippodrome for the fifth consecutive year this May.

As theatre spaces were already being used on the preferred day, it was our responsibility to find a suitable external venue that we could transform.  Many themes were discussed but after we viewed several locations and site visits were made by the client one venue stood out as being ideal – the well-known Birmingham Municipal Bank on Broad Street, currently under the management of Film Birmingham as a film set.  The building, last used as a bank back in the 1980’s is architecturally stunning with a huge banking hall with high ceilings, and atmospheric bank vaults  (recently opened to the public as part of a discovery weekend).

With the venue booked, what more fitting a theme than The Great Gatsby/Prohibition/Roaring Twenties (the building was opening in 1916, just before the 1920’s).

Everything, and I mean everything, including toilet rolls, hand soap and paper towels had to be taken to the bank to achieve this.  The existing toilets had to be plumbed in and the electricity supply had to be completely overhauled to provide sufficient power for all the equipment needed. Two stages had to be built and furniture, linen, crockery, glassware was all brought to site. To make the evening extra special, casino tables, a vintage car, Gatsby Glamour Dancers, roaming gangsters and a live band provided the entertainment.

My side covered the planning of the catering and hospitality logistics for the event – keeping track of all the items required, ordering them in. There was a menu tasting, with our AA Rosette award winning Chef’s team providing great sample dishes that made it a tough decision for our clients to choose each course.  There were the seating plans, place cards, dietary requirements and 30 staff to arrange and brief.

Head Chef, Chris Bratt-Rose and his team cooked the food at Birmingham Hippodrome which was then transported across the city to the venue and served from temporary kitchens.

On the night it all came together.  As the tune from the film The Great Gatsby was played, our front of house staff were on hand to meet and greet the 300 guests. Security staff, full hospitality team and full technical team all worked together to ensure the evening went smoothly.

Guests arrived via the grand main doors and were greeted with a champagne reception before being guided to the casino rooms and vintage car for photographs. Later they enjoyed a full three course meal featuring a tasty salad of plum tomato confit, shallots, beans and red pepper following by cornfed chicken or a vegetarian option.  Dessert was seasonal rhubarb fool with rose water custard.

It was a great event to be involved in and I really enjoyed all the great team work from Birmingham Hippodrome staff. The client is now looking ahead to 2016 with 400 guests to cater for!

Birmingham Hippodrome is the perfect venue for anyone wanting to host a meeting, conference or party with a difference.  No matter what your event may be, a small meeting for a few people, or a residential conference for hundreds – we can cater for all of your needs. We have years of expertise behind us to ensure that your event runs smoothly. If you would like to find out more about the conference facilities at Birmingham Hippodrome please contact our Events Team 0844 338 6500 or email events@birminghamhippodrome.com

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