Introducing our new First Night Bloggers…

Meet our First Night bloggers team!   They  work alongside our Media and PR team  to bring you all the news and reviews surrounding our First Night scheme offering discounted tickets for 16-23 years olds – find out more about First Night HERE. 

Heather Kincaid is our First Night Bloggers Ambassador – leading the  scheme by taking you behind the scenes and to opening night. Heather said; “After more than a year enjoying an amazing array of shows, backstage tours and interviews, all while building up a diverse online portfolio and honing my journalistic skills, I’m now thrilled to be guiding two new writers through the First Night Blogging scheme, and can’t wait to see how the project grows and develops over the next few months.” Keep up to date with Heather’s blog here.

Our first  bloggers is Amy Stutz – take a look at Amy’s page for regular updates here On her new position Amy commented; “I am very excited to become a blogger for the first night scheme as it is an incredible opportunity to combine my two passions, writing and theatre. I can’t wait to get started and begin writing about all the fantastic shows and events the Hippodrome has coming up over the next year. The Hippodrome provides a huge variety of shows and I am thrilled to watch and review them in my blog whilst also networking with many industry professionals.”

Last but certainly not least, Rebecca Gibson takes the role of our second First Night Blogger – check out her posts here. Rebecca said “I am really excited to have be given the opportunity of joining the first night scheme and cannot wait to get started. The First Night Scheme is not only a great chance for me to write about and see some amazing things shown by the Hippodrome but hopefully a way for me to encourage people to go to the theatre.”

Don’t forget to give them a follow on Twitter: @Heather_LJ, @AmyStutz and @rebecca_jane29.

Life as a First Night Blogger…

Heather Kincaid started as a Birmingham Hippodrome First Night Blogger just over 12 months ago, now she takes on the role of our First Night Ambassador as we look to recruit new members of the blogging scheme. In this blog Heather talks about her experiences over the past year…

Heather Kincaid

Heather Kincaid

From Wicked to Wagner, War Horse to the Four Squares Weekender, my year working as a blogger for Birmingham Hippodrome has been nothing if not varied. Since being picked to take part in the theatre’s still expanding and improving First Night scheme, I’ve been lucky enough to be offered tickets to everything from smash-hit West End shows on tour, to experimental works-in-progress by emerging, independent artists.

One of the best parts of the job has been getting to experience shows I might not otherwise have seen, whether out of choice or because of other obstacles. Not only have I begun to gain a better understanding of dance and physical theatre, but I’ve also been able to enjoy the big, popular musicals. As its many users will already know, the Hippodrome’s First Night scheme is a great way for young people to get a taste of the West End at a fraction of the normal ticket price, and as a blogger, getting to go along without paying a penny has been a real privilege.

It’s not all been about seeing shows and reviewing them, however. On top of this, I’ve been invited to behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive interviews and on-location photo shoots. I’ve had access to private, press-only areas where I’ve been treated to drinks with the professionals. I’ve sat in on a pantomime rehearsal in London, attended a special War Horse concert with readings by Michael Morpurgo and even helped create an ice sculpture to be displayed as part of an outdoor art exhibition.

Heather and the cast of CATS

Heather and the cast of CATS

On a more practical note, I’ve significantly expanded my professional portfolio and gained publicity thanks to sharing by the Birmingham Hippodrome, as well as by performers and companies whose productions have been staged at the theatre. In addition to having my blog posts regularly retweeted, I’ve been featured in Hippodrome programmes, pursued online conversations with artists and been able to speak directly to professional journalists working across all different kinds of media. Above all, Ben and Mandy (Press and PR) have been brilliant at supporting me all the way through to get better at what I do, and I hope the skills I’ve developed will prove beneficial to me as part of an ongoing career.

Things are already beginning to move along, and as I come to the end of my time as a First Night Blogger, I’m also settling into a new position as a Hippodrome Plus Youth Ambassador, hosting public talks linked to the theatre’s outdoor work, getting trained in public speaking and attending arts festivals to help programme shows for next year’s Summer in Southside. This role has already been a real boost to my confidence, but perhaps even more importantly, it’s given me the chance to meet some fantastic, driven and creative young people from the area with whom I sincerely hope I’ll keep in touch for years to come.

Whether you’re planning a career in arts journalism or simply looking for an insight into how creative industries and theatrical productions are run, working as a First Night Blogger could serve as a brilliant starting point – just as long as you’re willing to make the most of every opportunity thrown your way!

For more information on how you can become a First Night Blogger CLICK HERE. 

First Night Bloggers have their say at Youth Arts Summit…

Last Friday Birmingham Hippodrome played host to Birmingham City Council’s Youth Arts Summit.

Opening with performances from local young rising stars, the day’s events and discussions were designed to give young people a voice in debating the role of the arts in our city.

Birmingham Hippodrome First Night Bloggers, Tal Fox and Heather Jenkins went along to the summit in order to voice their opinions on the relationship between young people and the arts in the region. Tal commented, “As a young person who wants a career in the industry and as an avid arts lover, I agree that it is vital to keep this discussion at the top of our priorities. After all, it is up to us to make sure that the industry will always be around.”

Heather also added, “…it’s great to see that so many people feel passionately about the same issues and want to work together to make changes happen. I look forward to seeing if and how any of the points raised will be put into practice.”

You can take a look at Heather’s full thoughts on the day here and read Tal’s report here.

Both Tal and Heather are representatives of our First Night scheme offering discounted theatre tickets for young people aged 16-23. For more information click here.