Ho, Ho, Hippodrome!

Press & PR Assistant, Ben Wooldridge (@benwooldridge) blogs about Christmas coming to the Birmingham Hippodrome building…

Hanging the Christmas lights...

Hanging the Christmas lights…

Tonight we begin our festive season with the opening night of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s simply sparkling production of Cinderella, but the festive sparkle doesn’t remain on the stage – it is criss-crossing its way through our front of house areas and even onto the front of our magnificent building.

Staff have been working as hard as Santa’s Elves over the past few days setting the scene by hanging reams of ‘icicle’ lights from above the bars and trailing fairy lights up the beams of the foyer.  Today also saw the arrival of four grand looking Christmas tree’s which will be lighting our foyers throughout the Christmas period…it’s just proving hard to believe it’s this time of year again! As usual, the front of the building has also been given a magical makeover with the addition of more icicle lights and hanging giant snowflakes and believe me, they are a lot harder to hang than it looks…

Snowflakes decorate the outside of the building...

Snowflakes decorate the outside of the building…

Backstage has been a similar hive of activity with carriages drawn into the wings, grand staircases and pillars assembled on stage and even the inner workings of a clock fixed together in the fly tower. A particularly busy department in any grand production of this scale is Wardrobe and in this fascinating photo film I went backstage with Head of Wardrobe at BRB, Lili Sobieralska to find out more about the mind boggling array of costumes used in the show – CLICK HERE to take a look.

In conclusion, wherever you are in Birmingham Hippodrome, “it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…”

For more information on BRB’s Cinderella CLICK HERE.

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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.

The Ugly truth about Heart FM’s Ed James and Steve Denyer!

What’s the saying – there’s nothing like a Dame?  Well, this week we invited those little ‘Dames’ Ed James and Steve Denyer from Heart FM to meet Martin Ramsdin and David Robbins who are currently wowing audiences with their amazing costumes as the terrible Ugly Sisters in Cinderella.

The challenge was for David and Martin to turn Ed and Steve into Heart Ugly Sisters for the day.  So, backstage in their dressing room at Birmingham Hippodrome they did just that and wow did they do a good job!    

Take a look at the gallery below or CLICK HERE to see their amazing transformation and tell us what you think – should we book them for panto?!! 

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You can see Martin and David as The Ugly Sisters alongside Brian Conley, Lynda Bellingham and Basil Brush in Cinderella until 29 Jan.

Ed James presents the breakfast show on Heart with Rachel New.  Catch Steve Denyer on Heart Drivetime.  CLICK HERE for more information