It’s time to Give Big again this Christmas – with ‘The BIG Give’

Time is ticking away and we are getting ever closer to this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge when you can help someone see a special Pantomime performance… oh yes you can!

Last year, for the first time, we adapted one performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs so that it was suitable for anyone on the autism spectrum, with learning disabilities, or with a sensory and communication disorder.

It was our first ‘relaxed performance’ and it went down brilliantly.

Special technical adaptations to the performance were made (such as reduced sound levels and lighting adjustments, plus some adapted special effects); soft play and breakout spaces were kitted out for patrons to relax in before or during the show (this was particularly important for many young patrons visiting us for the first time); extra training and support was arranged for our front of house team; and, with some special needs teenagers, we created a short preview film for patrons to see exactly what was in store. Ticket prices were also heavily discounted.

As an unsubsidised charity ourselves, we were only able to achieve all this through the generous help of supporters like you who contributed donations as part of The Big Give.

The feedback from last year’s visitors about what the staging of this special relaxed performance meant to them was inspirational:

“Thank you for thinking so much about being an all-inclusive venue – it really matters!! Probably more than you will ever realise.”

“I thought it was brilliant. Just brilliant. I’ve waited 9 years to be able to take my autistic daughter to the theatre and for her to enjoy it.”

This year’s target: £24,000

This year for Jack and the Beanstalk, we have set ourselves the ‘gigantic’ target of raising a total of £24,000 to make our relaxed performance on 29 Jan 2015 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: 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.

The countdown continues…….
The Big Give was founded in October 2007 and enables donors to support their favourite charitable projects. Since its launch, The Big Give has raised over £50 million, with the majority of this raised through Challenge Funding, where donations made on the specific dates are doubled. Last year the campaign raised over £11 million for 387 participating charities.

Green with Envy…

Prize winner Noor Lambert

Prize winner Noor Lambert

This week we were joined by some very lucky winners from this year’s on-stage Fundraising Gala who were  the lucky recipients of an exclusive Wicked  makeover. The money raised from the prize will go towards Hippodrome Plus, our programme in education, access and bringing theatre to everyone.

Prize winner Noor Lambert was flown backstage to the wigs and makeup village along with her brother, Amaan and Mum, Mano, to experience the ‘greening up’ which leading lady Elphaba undergoes daily before going on stage in the hit musical  Wicked.

It took Wicked company make-up artist, Charlotte a little under half an hour to work her magic and transform Noor into a mini Wicked Witch of the West and the results were spellbinding!

Take a green-with-envy look at images of the makeover in the gallery below…

Our thanks go to the Lambert family for their generous donation to Hippodrome Plus.

For details about our next major fundraising events with theatrical surprises and fabulous prizes click here or call Rosie Milsom in the Development Team on 0121 689 3068 or


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.