Panto spreads a smile even outside of the theatre…

 Ben Wooldridge tells us about a rewarding week at work…

There are many things that I enjoy about my job, but the last couple of days have to be among the most rewarding having  taken some of the stars of our pantomime, Cinderella to visit some very special children.

Asif gives Cinders a kiss at Birmingham Childrens Hospital

Asif gives Cinders a kiss at Birmingham Childrens Hospital

Panto is always an extremely busy schedule for the cast, but performers are always willing to give up their time before or between shows to make a special visit to some outstanding charities to see the work that they do and the people they benefit.

Last Thursday, Kathryn Rooney (our Cinders) and Dan Burton (the dashing Dandini) joined me on a visit to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Appearing on the wards in full costume, the panto stars took time to meet and greet with patients, their families and staff  before heading back to the theatre for the matinee performance. We met some great kids on our travels, especially cheeky little Asif who you can see giving  Cinderella a kiss on the cheek! Birmingham Hippodrome will this year again be supporting the hospital by offering patients and their families free tickets to see Cinderella as part of the ongoing Panto Appeal made possible by kind donations from the public when booking tickets.  Thanks to everyone who has donated – you make this possible.

Henry and family meet Basil Brush at Acorns Childrens Hospice

Henry and family meet Basil Brush at Acorns Childrens Hospice

Following on from Thursday’s magical trip, I then had the pleasure of escorting the one and only Mr.Basil Brush to Acorns Childrens Hospice in Selly Oak;  Acorns cares for nearly 600 children who have life limiting or life threatening conditions.  We had a great time chatting to the children at the hospice and Basil made a fantastic friend in Henry who showed our fox round the centre.

All in all it proved to be a memorable highlight of my time working at Birmingham Hippodrome and one that I look forward to repeating this time next year!

Cinderella ends Sunday 29th January.

Backstage on a Friday…

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Friday – the end of the week for a standard, 9-5 office dweller; for the panto lot, however, it begins 3 days of two shows per day in another busy run of performances.

In the calm before the storm this morning I took a sneeky peek behind the scenes to get some shots before the cast and crew arrive in the building…

 

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The clock strikes on Panto Press Night…

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Ben Wooldridge, Press & PR Assistant reports back from last night’s big Press Night…

Last night was a big night for us here at Birmingham Hippodrome as we welcomed members of the press and local media to the official press night of Cinderella.

There is always a buzz of excitement in the building on a press night but Panto is especially exciting as not only does this mark the official start of Christmas, but this is the biggest Pantomime in the UK!   It’s been really great to watch preparations and rehearsals over the last week or two and when the curtain went up last night the cast gave 110%, as they do during every one of their twelve performances a week!

Brian, Basil and Lynda with a special 5th Panto Cake!

Brian, Basil and Lynda with a special 5th Panto Cake!

Amongst the obligatory mince pies and mulled wine at the interval, the press reception was already a hive of excitement as people began to rave about the stellar performances from Brian, Lynda and the entire ensemble and, of course, the magical special effects (but shhh, I’m not going to give anything away!). It goes without saying that the reviews we have had in to the press office so far have been nothing short of stunning, with 5 stars from Birmingham Mail which you can read here, 5 stars from Birmingham Post here, and a glowing review from The Stage here; we are simply sparkling with pride!

Last night was extra special as we celebrated Brian Conley’s 5th Pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome with a giant cake, Brian gave special mention to the backstage crew who had been working round the clock (get it!)  to create a truly spectacular evening; I already can’t wait to see what Brian has up his sleeves for when he returns in Robinson Crusoe next year!

Thank you to everyone for their kind comments so far and don’t forget to tweet your feedback to @brumhippodrome – we really look forward to welcome all our future pantogoers.   Have a Merry Christmas and see you in the New Year…