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.


Corporate Development Manager, Judith Greenburgh writes…

A large portion of my time at the moment is dedicated to being part of the team putting in place the final preparations for the most dazzling night in our fundraising calendar. The Gala Dinner on Sat 10 May is a spectacular and memorable evening at the theatre with nearly 300 guests having the rare chance of sitting on the main stage looking out onto the fabulous auditorium for an evening of specially-commissioned entertainment.

Judith Greenburgh & Tracey Stephenson, MD of Staying Cool Apartments

Judith Greenburgh & Tracey Stephenson, MD of Staying Cool Apartments

As you can imagine, it’s an evening that brings together all the teams in the theatre to showcase everything that we do best. The tech team will be working up some trademark Hippodrome surprises and having been part of the tasting team for the menu, I am confident that this will be the best Gala yet.

My role in the event has been to ensure that all the tables are sold! No small task, but I’m delighted to say that with the very strong support that the theatre enjoys in the business community tables flew off the shelf.

Another, more creative task is sourcing an unusual selection of near exclusive prizes that will catch the eye of generous guests for the live and sealed bid charity auctions. With all funds raised on the evening going towards Hippodrome Plus, our Education, Access and Outdoor Programme work, it’s a pleasure getting to know a variety of new businesses and their treasure trove of products and services. Of course I’d like to say a big thank you to ALL our prize donors and I hope that Gala guests will be bidding fast and furiously for them. Let me tell you they are in for a real treat.

I’m giving you a sneak peek into those prizes right here and now; a lucky group will fly off in a Little Blue private Jet  and just as lucky will be the winners of the Staying Cool penthouse in the Rotunda or their beautiful apartment in the heart of Barcelona.

BBC2’s 2013 Sewing Bee finalist, Lauren Guthrie has generously donated a workshop prize at this year’s Gala at her fabulous guthrie & ghani studio in Moseley

BBC2’s 2013 Sewing Bee finalist, Lauren Guthrie has generously donated a workshop prize at this year’s Gala at her fabulous guthrie & ghani studio in Moseley

If I wasn’t working on the night I’d be bidding for the Sewing Bee workshop at Guthrie and Ghani, the beautiful shoes made by Rachel Simpson, aiming to have fun with my daughters using the Vintage Salon make-over and photo shoot or perhaps a week away in a TreeHouse courtesy of Forest Holidays.

I’m also delighted to be working, once again with the team from Hotel La Tour as Gala headline sponsors. Jane, Adrian and Sue make the relationship easy and enjoyable. It’s great they expect high standards, setting a benchmark that we also aspire to in our event planning and execution. Plus, they love a little theatricality and a little bird told me that they won’t be disappointed! I can’t wait to see their evening gowns and the black-tie line-up.

Do watch this blog space and our flickr galleries for images of the event.

To find out more about how you can be involved in future events you can contact me on

 Hotel La Tour’s Managing Director, Jane Schofield & Sue Castle-Smith Communications Manager meet up join Matthew Bourne at Leading Ladies

Hotel La Tour’s Managing Director, Jane Schofield & Sue Castle-Smith Communications Manager join Matthew Bourne at Leading Ladies

A week in Development…

A couple of weeks ago Hannah Lait joined our Development department for a week long work experience placement during a series of very busy events including a special Fundraising Gala. In our latest blog Hannah writes about her experience…

I first arrived at the Hippodrome with a warm welcome from both Rosie and Judith who work as part of the Development Team based on the 4th floor of the building.  I was then given a tour around the building and tried my hardest to learn the maze of the corridors (which does get eventually easier each day!).  After completing a few of my initial tasks given to me by the Development team, I was then taken on an exciting look behind the scenes of the theatre and my eyes were opened!

Hannah Lait

Hannah Lait

A highlight of my week was being able to help with the Fundraising Gala; a hectic but exciting experience!  There was one key thing I learnt quickly from working at the Gala and that was that timing is crucial, so everything had to go to schedule or it could get a tad tricky. The decorations for the special event were stunning, making it an enchanting sight for the guests and a sight I certainly won’t ever forget.

Another highlight came on Tuesday when I got a backstage tour, one of the most interesting aspects of the Hippodrome I’ve ever seen. From the many bright beautiful costumes and masks used in The Lion King, to the tightly packed store rooms, it’s a wonder how they don’t manage to lose anything and stay organised! I learnt that an incredible amount of work, effort and time is put into the show and that’s what contributes to making it astonishing for the audience.

During my week I was also invited to see the Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School performance as part of the theatre’s education work – it was so lovely to see all the enthusiastic children taking part in different dances, stories and songs from all over the world.  One afternoon I also helped out Front of House which was amazing but extremely tiring.  I loved seeing the show from the front of house point of view because it’s ultimately down to them to make sure everything is right for the audience.

I’ve learnt from the Development team that it’s all about being able to make contact with people, making sure that they see the true importance of how donations can help the Hippodrome and it’s work with Education and Access projects whilst also bringing excellent productions to the city.

I honestly had a fabulous week and am so thankful to of had this experience. It’s gone too fast if you ask me but Hakuna Matata for it is a wonderful phrase…

Hannah Pennick also joined the department for a week, at the end of her placement she wrote…

Hannah Pennick

Hannah Pennick

Work experience at the Hippodrome was an amazing and enlightening experience.  It offered a range of different opportunities which I would never have experienced anywhere else –  from visiting a school, to a backstage tour, to a networking course, and everything in between. I could not recommend an experience like this enough. The Hippodrome is an amazing building with a brilliant group of people working behind the scenes to make everything that the Hippodrome does possible; I had no idea of some of the incredible projects that go on both in the theatre itself and in the local community.

I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity, and want to thank all the staff who made me feel so welcome.

Thanks to both Hannah’s for their hard work during their time with us. To find out more about the work of our Development department and how you can support your local theatre click here.

To take a look at what went on at the fundraising gala in more detail read more here.