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.



Whilst the recent sell-out run of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake played on stage, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Development team were busy behind the scenes off stage raising money for Hippodrome Plus, the theatre’s education, access and outdoor performance programme. Development Manager, Eve Smith tells us exactly what they have been up to…

Eve Smith

Eve Smith

Very recently we enjoyed an excellent week of fundraising for the theatre, seeing our generous supporters, donors and audience members aiding our vital work in education, access and creative programmes.

The ever popular female networking event, Leading Ladies, welcomed over 70 guests from 45 companies to a much anticipated Swan Lake event on Tue 5 Feb. Guests listened to a short question and answer session given by Jonny Olliver (lead swan), Kerry Biggin (dance captain) Liam Mower (Prince)and Jamie-Emma McDonald (ensemble) before donating to the evening’s prize draw, tucking into some of the sweet treats and heading into the auditorium to enjoy the show.

Just a few days later, two performances saw local students take to the stage for a short pre-show Bourne inspired piece of dance as part of the incredibly successful Curtain Raiser. This project, now in its fifth year is a fantastic example of the kind of projects presented by the Creative Learning team as part of Hippodrome Plus.

Curtain Raiser Students

Curtain Raiser Students

It gives students the amazing opportunity to perform to a sell-out audience on the same stage as the professionals. Matthew Bourne during his introductory speech ahead of these performances said that his company is ‘passionate about working with young people and the Hippodrome is one of our best partners.’ Following on from the performance audience members were asked to dig deep and donate whatever they could towards projects such as this one all supported by Hippodrome Plus.

These two key events saw us raise over £3,000 in just one week, enabling us to support future projects like The Curtain Raiser. We want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those who donated and displayed such vital support in a very successful week for the theatre.

For more information about Leading Ladies event click here and for further details about supporting Birmingham Hippodrome and the work undertaken as part of Hippodrome Plus click here.

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.