A week with Birmingham Hippodrome…

Today’s blog comes from last week’s work experience student Jack Carroll, a Year 10 student at King’s Norton Boys’ School, who tells us more about his time with us…

Work experience at Birmingham Hippodrome is something that I have wanted to do for ages. To work at Birmingham’s biggest theatre, is something that I know will help me in later life when applying for jobs in theatres, whether it be front of house or backstage. It is a theatre that I know well, and have visited on many occasions, to watch shows, and to participate in events and activities.

Backstage at Birmingham Hippodrome

Backstage at Birmingham Hippodrome

I go to a stage school every Saturday based at the Hippodrome, and so know that it is a friendly, welcoming environment, that I would be more than happy to work in. On top of that, I have been on backstage tours, seen many shows, and even performed here, so I am familiar with the theatre, and I know that it lives up to its reputation.

My week at the Hippodrome has been very exciting, but at times very scary. I have helped out in departments such as: Administration, Finance, Box Office, Marketing, Front of House, and Development. All the departments have been pleasant to work in, and great to be a part of.

The things I have enjoyed most have been the jobs involving customer service, such as the Box Office, and Front of House. I liked meeting members of the public, and talking to them about the shows that they enjoy, and why they like coming to the Hippodrome.

I have learned many things about the way a theatre works such as: how to take calls and bookings, how to direct people to their seats, and almost every role in the company, and what they do.

I will take everything that I have learned away with me, and I will be able to use it when applying for jobs in theatres, and when visiting the theatre.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I would happily take part in again, thank you Birmingham Hippodrome for giving me this opportunity.

There are a very limited number of places left for Work Experience candidates in 2014 and bookings are now being taken for 2015 – for more information click here.

Fifth Curtain Raiser Raises the Roof!

Over the past few weeks 19 male dance students from Walsall College, Birmingham Ormiston Academy, and Stratford-upon-Avon College have been working on creating a dazzling curtain-raiser based around themes from  Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed production of Swan Lake.

Working with one of Matthew Bourne’s Principal Dancers, Dominic North (who will play the role of Ralph in the upcoming production of The Lord of the Flies) and Clare Palethorpe, a freelance dance practitioner, the young dancers and choreographers created a stunning five minute performance piece titled ‘Swans and Princes’ which was watched by over 1,800 people prior to both the matinee and evening  performances of Swan lake, and even by Matthew Bourne himself!

To find out more about the project click here and take a look at some of the fantastic images of the performance in the gallery below…

Getting Relaxed…Birmingham Hippodrome’s First Relaxed Performance

Last Thursday we hosted our first-ever relaxed performance with a special show of Britain’s biggest Pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The specially tailored production was designed to accommodate patrons with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder with loud bangs, pyrotechnics, smoke and flashing lights removed from the performance.

The auditorium was also altered to accommodate extra wheelchair spaces at the front of the stalls and the house lights remained dimmed but not turned off through the duration.

We were thrilled to welcome over 700 people for this fantastic event which also saw the foyer areas transformed with extra touches such as special signage and break-out rooms including a soft play area and a sensory room featuring some wonderful interactive pieces including two passive bubble tubes kindly provided by Sensory Technology (www.senteq.co.uk).

In order to make staff easily visible to visitors, members of our Front of House team got into the spirit of the day by wearing sparkling glittery hats and handing out sensory toys to visitors during their visit.

It was such a pleasure to welcome such a warm and giving audience and we are grateful for the wonderful feedback we have received from those who joined us.

You can listen to a great interview with one of the stars of the show, Gary Wilmot about the relaxed performance on BBC WM here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made this project a success, including The Big Give and The Candis Club, IMI, Grant Thornton, The Dumbreck Charity, The Thousandth Man – Richard Burns Charitable Trust, The Bishop of Birmingham Trust, George Henry Collins Trust plus many individual donors. Special mention must go to Richard Hayhow and the wonderful students from One of a Kind who worked with theatre staff by providing training and advice and were also present in the theatre foyer on the day of the event. Also to all the amazing volunteers who gave up their time on the day. Thank you!

Events such as the relaxed performance are part of our expanding Creative Programme titled Hippodrome Plus which also saw us welcome over 1,350 people to our Stageside Restaurant this weekend for a day of free family activities celebrating Chinese New Year. To find out more about Hippodrome Plus click here.

Our next Relaxed Performance for pantomime  is Jack and the Beanstalk on 29th January 2015. click here to find out more

Take a look at the image gallery below for a great selection of pictures from our first-ever relaxed performance…