Glittering Gala is a musical masterpiece…

Corporate Development Manager, Judith Greenburgh writes…

The dust has just about settled on Gala 2014! I’m thrilled to report that it was the most spectacular Hippodrome team-effort and our most successful ever in terms of event fundraising!

Here’s a little flavour of the dazzling evening:

From the moment the Hurst Street doors opened at 6.30pm and a flood of guests arrived in black tie and an array of colourful floor-length dresses, the evening sped by to its triumphant climax.

The impact of the tech team’s transformation of the stage was clear to see on our guests’ faces as they climbed up onto the stage. They were met by the magical and intimate lighting created by nearly 100 filament light bulbs hanging over the beautifully set tables.

All guests along with our sponsors, Hotel La Tour and supported by Shakespeares, were about to be wowed even further by the unique entertainment which interspersed the evening from two bespoke stages. It was a ‘royalty of the West End’ line-up including musical theatre stars Earl Carpenter, Jodie Prenger and Anna O’Byrne. With Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s blessing, West End and Qdos Pantomime Producer, Michael Harrison choreographed extracts from his most popular musicals. Numbers from Oliver! Mary Poppins, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera were perfectly performed and the final standing ovation nearly brought the house down!

Watching the military-style precision of the young Hospitality team serving the 27 tables was also tremendous. Head Chef, Chris Bratt-Rose came up trumps with a specially-created 3-course menu (if only I had managed to get my hands on the deliciously delicate rhubarb and pomegranate crumble!)

For me, crunch time was the moment when auctioneer Rory Daly took to the stage to manage a slick, live auction of fabulous prizes. Top of the bill was the stunning offer from Little Blue Jets of a private European return flight (won by one of the theatre’s long-standing corporate patrons). By the end of the auction and collection of the sealed bid prizes it was clear we had a success on our hands, topped off by the proceeds from the ‘History of the Hippodrome’ Heads and Tails game.

What a night! I have never seen a happier Development team when they kicked off their sling-backs to enjoy a well-earned rest in the Stalls Foyer ……but in the theatre of course, the show must go on!

Thanks to the generosity of our guests Saturday’s Gala raised nearly £50,000 which will help us to deliver much-needed education projects, access services and outdoor performances increasing engagement with even more young people across the city. THANK YOU!

To find out how you can get involved with future events you can contact me by email

For further information on Hippodrome Plus take a look at the specially created video below or click here to visit the webpage.


Corporate Development Manager, Judith Greenburgh writes…

A large portion of my time at the moment is dedicated to being part of the team putting in place the final preparations for the most dazzling night in our fundraising calendar. The Gala Dinner on Sat 10 May is a spectacular and memorable evening at the theatre with nearly 300 guests having the rare chance of sitting on the main stage looking out onto the fabulous auditorium for an evening of specially-commissioned entertainment.

Judith Greenburgh & Tracey Stephenson, MD of Staying Cool Apartments

Judith Greenburgh & Tracey Stephenson, MD of Staying Cool Apartments

As you can imagine, it’s an evening that brings together all the teams in the theatre to showcase everything that we do best. The tech team will be working up some trademark Hippodrome surprises and having been part of the tasting team for the menu, I am confident that this will be the best Gala yet.

My role in the event has been to ensure that all the tables are sold! No small task, but I’m delighted to say that with the very strong support that the theatre enjoys in the business community tables flew off the shelf.

Another, more creative task is sourcing an unusual selection of near exclusive prizes that will catch the eye of generous guests for the live and sealed bid charity auctions. With all funds raised on the evening going towards Hippodrome Plus, our Education, Access and Outdoor Programme work, it’s a pleasure getting to know a variety of new businesses and their treasure trove of products and services. Of course I’d like to say a big thank you to ALL our prize donors and I hope that Gala guests will be bidding fast and furiously for them. Let me tell you they are in for a real treat.

I’m giving you a sneak peek into those prizes right here and now; a lucky group will fly off in a Little Blue private Jet  and just as lucky will be the winners of the Staying Cool penthouse in the Rotunda or their beautiful apartment in the heart of Barcelona.

BBC2’s 2013 Sewing Bee finalist, Lauren Guthrie has generously donated a workshop prize at this year’s Gala at her fabulous guthrie & ghani studio in Moseley

BBC2’s 2013 Sewing Bee finalist, Lauren Guthrie has generously donated a workshop prize at this year’s Gala at her fabulous guthrie & ghani studio in Moseley

If I wasn’t working on the night I’d be bidding for the Sewing Bee workshop at Guthrie and Ghani, the beautiful shoes made by Rachel Simpson, aiming to have fun with my daughters using the Vintage Salon make-over and photo shoot or perhaps a week away in a TreeHouse courtesy of Forest Holidays.

I’m also delighted to be working, once again with the team from Hotel La Tour as Gala headline sponsors. Jane, Adrian and Sue make the relationship easy and enjoyable. It’s great they expect high standards, setting a benchmark that we also aspire to in our event planning and execution. Plus, they love a little theatricality and a little bird told me that they won’t be disappointed! I can’t wait to see their evening gowns and the black-tie line-up.

Do watch this blog space and our flickr galleries for images of the event.

To find out more about how you can be involved in future events you can contact me on

 Hotel La Tour’s Managing Director, Jane Schofield & Sue Castle-Smith Communications Manager meet up join Matthew Bourne at Leading Ladies

Hotel La Tour’s Managing Director, Jane Schofield & Sue Castle-Smith Communications Manager join Matthew Bourne at Leading Ladies

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…