Birmingham Hippodrome announces a glittering new season ahead

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Chief Executive, Stuart Griffiths, blogs about the theatre’s 2010/11 season  featuring a ballet World Première and top star names.

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella

We have been describing 2010 as Birmingham’s year of dance and this autumn the year reaches a conclusion in the best way possible, with David Bintley’s brand new production of Cinderella.  Presented to the city as a gift by the company, as was The Nutcracker twenty years ago, there could not be a more fitting climax to Birmingham Royal Ballet’s celebration of their twenty years here.

We have a very busy season both before and after Cinderella, with plenty of other world-class productions.   In dance, this ranges from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with their classic Revelations, as part of a stunning programme, to Blaze, a brand new streetdance spectacular fresh from the West End.   After Christmas, Matthew Bourne is back with a new production of a show that has never before been seen in the UK outside London.    I’m also delighted that the hilarious Trocks are back again, with ballet presented in a way that you may not quite believe! Of course Birmingham Royal Ballet also have a full programme to complement Cinderella, with their classic Romeo & Juliet, a stunning mixed programme, Pointes of View and the ever-delightful La Fille mal Gardée.”

Musical theatre is heavily featured as ever including Blood Brothers, Footloose, Jekyll and Hyde, We Will Rock You, back by popular demand

new production of Chess

with new productions of Hairspray and Chess amongst others. Welsh National Opera bring us a mouth-watering menu of new operas and revivals, including two contrasting brand new productions of Die Fledermaus and Fidelio.

Finally, we have probably the most star-laden pantomime bill ever assembled in Birmingham this Christmas, with Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Keith Harris and Orville, and Jeffrey Holland in a spectacular production of Dick Whittington, led by international superstar, Joan Collins.

For full information on our 2010/11 season go to www.birminghamhippodrome.com

Follow us on Twitter @brumhippodrome

Facebook:  Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrate an outstanding 20 years in the City. The company’s New Media Officer, Rob Lindsay, takes us behind the scenes at the latest preparations and reveals an exclusive.

Bar one-off events like the Evening of Music and Dance at Symphony Hall last month, Birmingham Royal Ballet haven’t performed in full since the winter 2009 season of The Nutcracker. This is quite unusual for us. This time last year we’d already completed a three week tour of China and in 2008 we’d recently been to Belfast to perform Swan Lake.

But while we’ve not been performing, it’s been far from quiet. Once our Sleeping Beauty season begins on 3 March, we’ve only got six non-performance weeks until July, and we’re performing a LOT of different pieces, which has meant that the dancers have needed this time to rehearse all those works!

Sleeping Beauty aside, a lot of work is currently underway on our 20 Years Celebrations – three performances at Birmingham Hippodrome to mark (and tell the story of) the Company’s 20 years in the city of Birmingham. As well as dance excerpts, we’ll be presenting archive news footage, covering key moments from the Company’s history. We’re also recording new interviews to tell additional stories that might not have hit the news at the time. Hopefully the show will act as an introduction to those new to the Company, heighten the understanding of those already familiar, and provide a belting show to everyone regardless!

I spoke to David Bintley, Artistic Director, this morning, who told me ‘I’m really happy with how this show is coming together. Whenever you try to do anything this ambitious, you’re never sure how it’s going to turn out, but through the efforts of everybody here I’m confident that we’re going to be able to present a totally unique, and entertaining show.’

While I can’t reveal a lot of the repertory (we want it to be a surprise when you see it on the night!) it’s already been noted that the excerpt from Aladdin which delighted so many at the Evening of Music and Dance will be seen again. You can see a video clip of rehearsals for the piece here:

David also revealed in an interview earlier this year: ‘Ballet Hoo! would have to be included in some form, because the project went far beyond Romeo and Juliet, beyond our Education department, beyond Birmingham Royal Ballet as a whole – it went national if not global, and it’s the template for how to do that kind of project and why.’

In addition to this, I can also exclusively reveal that we’ll be dancing part of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, a piece which we performed at the Royal Variety Performance when it was recorded at Birmingham Hippodrome in 1999. This was also part of the Evening of Music and Dance, and went down so well we had to include it again here!

I hope you’re able to join us for one of these special performances, and for those on Twitter, keep in touch by following either myself at @robintheoffice or the Company account at @BRB