Birmingham Hippodrome Access Forum member and mother of two children on the autism spectrum blogs about our Relaxed Performance

Audiences members enjoying our first Relaxed Performance

Audiences members enjoying our first Relaxed Performance

Our guest blogger this week is Alaine Powell, mother of two children on the autism spectrum and a member of our Access Forum.  Alaine writes about her experience at our first ever pantomime Relaxed Performance earlier this year.

I first heard that the Hippodrome was staging a Relaxed Performance at an Autism Spectrum Disorder support group that was attended by some of the Hippodrome. As a parent of two children on the autism spectrum it’s extremely hard to find activities to suit all of the family, so when we heard about the Relaxed Performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Jan this year we had to go!!!

Our eldest child is on the autism spectrum and loves the theatre, he can’t get enough of it, but there isn’t always the opportunities to and now we finally had a show we could all attend.

We bought the tickets, received the DVD – an especially-created short preview film for families like us to see exactly what was in store – and went into preparation for attending the theatre. We arrived a little early on the day and I have to say, from the minute we walked in the door we were made to feel included. A member of staff had some spare sparkly hats (the hats were so the staff could be identified more easily).  She approached the kids and asked if they would like to try one on. At one point, our middle boy started to get a bit flappy and twitchy. For once no one batted an eye lid – no tutting, no rude staring, just an amazing level of acceptance.

The show was amazing as always; the amount of thought and detail that was put in to accommodate everyone was fantastic. The captions for us were a little too wordy, but for others that will have been just right. The sensory items provided were a life saver. Our middle boy happily sat on his feet for the whole show with a twirling light up toy under his chin.

We had a fantastic day and they had less pressure to leave their world and be forced to conform and join ours. This really helped.

Would we recommend this? Hell yes

Will we be there this Jan? Most definitely

I hope all who see this can understand how vital a facility like this is for families like ours and all those who have fantastic special kids.

Thanks again Birmingham Hippodrome.  Alaine


Our panto Dame, Gary Wilmot, one of the stars of this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk, supports The Big Give Christmas Chellenge 2014

The next pantomime Relaxed Performance takes place on Friday 29 January for Jack and the Beanstalk and we have set ourselves the target of raising a total of £24,000 to make this performance even bigger and better than last year. Already grant-making trusts have donated nearly £6,500. But we still need to raise £6,000 in online donations in December, which will then be doubled.

It’s so simple in exactly one week’s time from 10am on Thurs 4 December, Fri 5 December and Sat 6 December your donation could be doubled via the Big Give Christmas Challenge, just visit
Only with your help will all this be achievable.  So please put those December dates in your calendar, keep your eyes peeled for our blogs, emails and reminder tweets in the coming weeks; and spread the word with friends and family.
Thank you for your support.            Find out more about the relaxed performance here.    #tbgchallenge




Over 11 acts featuring puppetry, hip hop, comedy, dance, live DJing, storytelling, and the chance to learn the famous Haka brought an estimated audience of 3,400 people to Southside last Saturday.

Streets around the Hippodrome were closed to traffic bringing a festival style atmosphere to the area as people of all ages joined the fun in the sun.

This is the second time Summer in Southside  has been presented by Birmingham Hippodrome.   Paul Kaynes, Director of Creative Programmes said “A lot of people here today haven’t been to the theatre so this is their first experience of live performance. It’s great to see such a large crowd enjoying these popular FREE events.”


Summer in Southside is  FREE  and continues this Saturday with Euro Stars culminating in a spectacular Bank Holiday Jamboree.  CLICK HERE for full details.

Photographs:  Verity Milligan

Thank you from us! We celebrate a record-breaking year…

We are delighted to announce a record-breaking year for Birmingham Hippodrome which saw paid admissions increase to over 625,000 tickets in the 2013/14 financial year.

The theatre has been regarded as the most popular single auditorium in the country averaging over half a million visits annually. But this year’s extraordinary increase, representing 85% of capacity, has been driven by a unique season of blockbuster productions including Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, War Horse and the best-selling Pantomime for a decade whilst Birmingham Royal Ballet presented its most successful Nutcracker at Christmas.

We are also thrilled to see a  huge rise in first-time bookers with over 48% new to the Hippodrome in the last 12 months.

Our ever-growing Hippodrome Plus programme of education, access and free outdoor performance, the main fundraising focus of the charity, had a particularly exciting year with the number of people engaged in creative learning projects doubled to over 16,000.

Fundraising too saw a bumper year with generous donations from members of the ticket-buying public for projects such as Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime’s first ‘Relaxed Performance’ for autistic children.

Crowning a memorable period, last month the Hippodrome featured in the Sunday Times’ renowned “Top 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For”, part of the theatre’s programme of staff development.

Thank you to all our loyal audiences for supporting our work as an independent, not-for-profit charity – without you all of this would not be possible. To read the full article on our record-breaking achievement click here. 

In the gallery below we round up an incredible financial year for 2013/14…