4 SQUARES WEEKENDER IS HERE! 6-8 SEPTEMBER – FREE ARTS PERFORMANCES

As The World Tipped

As The World Tipped

Mandy Rose, Press and PR Officer, writes about 4 Squares Weekender @mandyrose1

Well what a week it has been. Birmingham has been placed well and truly on the cultural map with the opening of the spectacular new Library of Birmingham – the biggest in Europe – and the reopening of The Rep with its brand new foyer areas and the addition of a studio space it shares with the Library. I look forward to seeing what I am sure will be some innovative performances in the new space.

And now, to top it all, the key arts organisations in Birmingham (Birmingham Arts Partnership) have come together for the very first time to bring 4 Squares Weekender which celebrates the opening of the new Library and The Rep. It officially  opens tonight at 9.30pm with the aerial outdoor spectacular As The World Tipped. Taking place against the backdrop of the wonderful Victoria Square this is going to be an unforgettable late night performance. Expect film and visuals, stunning choreography and a breath taking stage that ends up suspended above the audience! Really hope you’ll be able to join us for this – it really is a performance not to be missed.

And it doesn’t stop there because over the rest of this weekend 14 arts organisations present an incredible 100 events featuring over 400 professional and amateur performers  across 4 squares – Victoria Square, Oozells Square, Centenary Square, Chamberlain Square – just for you! Expect a whole range of arts performances from reggae to classical music, dance to drama, pop up performances, circus, workshops, participation art, film and much, much more – and it’s all FREE!

If you plan to do any activity this weekend then a visit to 4 Squares Weekender is a must!

As the World Tipped will also  be performed on Saturday 7 Sept at 9pm

4 Squares Weekender is produced by Birmingham Hippodrome on behalf of Birmingham Arts Partnership.

For further information and full listings please CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to follow our official blogger who will be bringing you news and pictures from the events

Follow us on twitter @brumhippodrome   and Facebook Birmingham Hippodrome #Bham4sq

Backstage with Disney’s The Lion King, set to be the pride of Birmingham…

Press & PR Officer, Mandy Rose ( @mandyrose1 ) reports back from rehearsals with Disney’s The Lion King…

In July I spent a very special day at the BBC rehearsal studios in Bristol;  I was there with a journalist to meet the cast of Disney’s The Lion King.  This was the first day the cast of the touring production had the chance to meet one another and I was amongst them!

One of the fantastic puppets backstage...

One of the fantastic puppets backstage…

Walking through a huge barn like building I passed dozens of backstage staff unloading  the elaborate masks, puppets, costumes and props from the production  before entering a huge room where most of the cast and creatives had gathered.

Working for Birmingham Hippodrome, especially in the PR team, I’ve been priviledged to see hundreds of theatre performances, met some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry and travelled the length of the country to see productions;  you’d think I would be numb to it all by now but far from it.  I still get excited on days like this, especially as it’s a day spent with the company of one of the most popular and successful musicals of all time.

The cast and crew gather...

The cast and crew gather…

We took to our seats (over 200 people were in the room) and immediately in walked Thomas Schumacher president of Disney Theatrical Group, the theatrical production arm of The Walt Disney Company.  He’s been with The Lion King since year one and during his career has also supervised over 20 Disney animated films!  VIP indeed!  He spoke passionately about the production, its history, design, from film to stage, before asking the cast to stand up individually and introduce themselves.   There were actors, singers and dancers from all over the world, South Africa, Nigeria, Japan, America and the UK, some who had been in the show for years, others just starting out on stage; it was indeed an international company!  I was pleased to hear some local Midlands accents there too! However, I didn’t realise he also wanted everyone else not in the cast to do the same, (now’s my big chance!) “I’m Mandy Rose, Press & PR, Birmingham Hippodrome and I look forward to welcoming you all to our home in 2013!”  Cheesy! But I did get a smile from the big man himself.

After the meet and greet the company all stood up went to the front of the hall and joy of joys all sang The Circle of Life, right there, unscripted.  What an absolute treat, I was in heaven!  The company then split into groups and went off to start day one of rehearsals.

One of the costume sketches at The Lion King exhibition...

One of the costume sketches at The Lion King exhibition…

We were ushered into a room where Tom Schumaker joined us for an interview.  I left the journalist with him and wondered around taking photographs of some of the costume designs, props and masks which you can see here.

We were then invited for a sneak peek of The Lion King exhibition in the centre of Bristol which tours with the musical – a great interactive mix of history, costumes, designs and props – what a great idea.  This will arrive in Birmingham ahead of the opening of the musical here and is a must see.

The Lion King rehearsals were well underway so we left the studios and made our way back to Birmingham – the day was a roaring success! (sorry just had to do that).

Disney’s The Lion King opens its first UK tour in Bristol before heading  to Brum for a 3 month season in 2013…see you there!

CLICK HERE for more information on The Lion King and on-sale dates.

Birmingham Hippodrome sent Chris Unitt to Boston – for an ouch, oowah, scarey moment with Cirque Éloize

Mandy  Rose, Press & PR Officer writes:

Isn’t it great when a plan comes together especially when the result goes global on the internet.

Cirque Eloize perform id

We recently sent Chris Unitt, one of Birmingham’s leading social media types, on a plane to Boston to meet the cast and creatives of iD, a brand new creation blending circus arts and urban dance.

 Now, this production, performed by Quebec based Cirque Éloize, is a visual feast and copy doesn’t really do it justice.  So, armed with his video camera, Chris ‘volunteered’ to take part in a rather scary stunt which most viewers have already found to be rather ‘near the knuckle’ so to speak – especially the men amongst us.

 The resulting video footage was placed on Birmingham Hippodrome website (via Youtube) and within 3 days received over 200,000 hits! That figure has doubled to over 400,000 with postings on other internet sites such as The Huffington Post.  And we were more than a little excited when it reached the top five in most viewed video on Youtube last month.

If you watch this, be warned, it does contain some rather ouch and oohwa moments.

Click here if you dare to view!

Chris Unitt we salute you!

If you fancy a little bit more of Cirque Eloize they are performing at Birmingham Hippodrome for the very first time from 2 – 5 November click here to find out more and to book tickets.

Twitter:    @brumhippodrome; @mandyrose1 @chrisunitt

Facebook:  Birmingham Hippodrome

Chris Unitt is behind the award winning Created in Birmingham blog