Big Give Donations Set To Make a Difference…


Just two days before The Big Give Christmas Challenge begins, Creative Learning Manager Liz Leck talks about the background behind presenting our first Relaxed Performance for children with learning disabilities.

Liz at a recent Education Workshop

Liz at a recent Education Workshop

For almost 7 years, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Creative Learning department has been working closely with many special schools in Birmingham, in conjunction with Open Theatre, to deliver long term projects for young people with learning disabilities. The aim being to develop their self-esteem, build their self-confidence and help prepare them for the transition into the adult world. Many of these young people have different learning disabilities and the majority are considered to be on the autistic spectrum.

Over this time, the importance of this work for the theatre has grown, and knowledge and expertise has been built up resulting in Birmingham Hippodrome becoming known locally as a venue with a long term commitment to and expertise in working with young people with learning disabilities. In 2012, Richard Hayhow of Open Theatre, established our first youth theatre, One of A Kind, consisting of the young people from the schools and colleges he has worked with over the years. The company meets weekly at the Hippodrome to develop their theatre skills and explore their own identities with the aim of creating theatre works to be shared with wider audiences. This core work was the main determining factor for the Hippodrome to programme its first relaxed performance, something we consider is a natural progression from the work under way at the Hippodrome.

Birmingham Hippodrome is committed to making theatre as accessible as possible for everyone and we can’t wait to put the final preparations in place ready for the performance in January. The Big Give Christmas Challenge is an online fundraising platform which will directly support the Relaxed Performance.  All donations made from 10am on Thu 5, Fri 6 or Sat 7 Dec will be doubled at no extra cost to you.   If you wish to help support this vital area of our work please visit during the challenge period. Thank you for your support.


Preparing for a challenge…


Development Manager Eve Smith updates us on an upcoming fundraising challenge… 

It’s hard to think about Christmas in May, but this year we were. Whilst tickets for this year’s pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sold and restaurant bookings started to fill up, behind the scenes we began preparations for a couple of new initiatives.

Eve Smith

Eve Smith

By the summer we announced that as well as the usual Panto fun, this year’s festive production will be even more special. In January 2014 we’ll be working in collaboration with Qdos Entertainments, to present our very first Relaxed Performance – a tailored show for people with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disabilities or a sensory and communication disorder. Audience members will be welcomed to a less formal theatre environment, with reduced sound and lighting levels and the opportunity to leave and return into the auditorium should they need to.

The Relaxed Performance is a natural progression in our work with people with learning disabilities, which has been a core area of the education department (now known as Creative Learning) for many years. It’s also a project that many of us are very excited to be involved in – from cast and crew to creative learning, from front of house to fundraising.

Stephanie Beacham supports The Big Give

Stephanie Beacham supports The Big Give

That leads me on to the second festive initiative also first worked on back in the Spring – The Big Give Christmas Challenge. This matched-funded annual challenge will help raise the much needed funds to present our Relaxed Performance. We were accepted on to the scheme in June and have been preparing our campaign ever since – the challenge of raising £6,000! It’s a good challenge, due to the fact that all donations made online will not only support this very valuable performance, but they’ll also potentially be doubled by The Big Give. Anything given online ( from Thursday 5 December could be worth twice as much if there are matching funds available at the time of the donation. It’s the first time we’ve been involved in this great scheme and again, we’re very excited about it!

Over the coming weeks you’ll hear much more about the Relaxed Performance and indeed The Big Give Christmas Challenge. For now though, even though it’s November and the Christmas Lights and German Market have arrived, it might still be (for some) a little too soon to think about Christmas but it’s just around the corner and will be here before you know!

For more info on The Big Give Christmas Challenge click here.

Give Big this Christmas…

Save the date!

We are delighted to have been selected to join this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge with a focus on raising money towards our first-ever ‘relaxed performance’.

The relaxed performance of the UK’s biggest pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs takes place on Thursday 30 January 2014 at 1pm. It is specially designed to ensure that children on the autism spectrum, plus those with learning difficulties or sensory and communication disorders have the opportunity to enjoy a live theatre experience. The relaxed performance is designed to make children – many of whom will be first-time theatre goers – feel comfortable and to reduce any anxiety. Some of the loud and bright elements of the pantomime will be reduced, strobe lighting and pyrotechnics will be removed, and staff and cast will accommodate movement and noise within the auditorium.

Donations made via The Big Give on Thu 5, Fri 6 and Sat 7 Dec could be doubled by the charity – enabling you to potentially double your donations at no extra cost! We are encouraging everyone to save the date and help us to provide a unique theatre experience for disadvantaged children.

Please visit from 10am on Thursday 5, Friday 6 or Saturday 7 December, or go to

Take a look below to watch a trailer supporting the Big Give from our Panto cast!

Thank you for your support.