Panto stars Julian Clary and Matt Slack get behind The Big Give Christmas challenge at Birmingham Hippodrome – oh yes they do!

Over the last two years we have been lucky enough to be accepted into The Big Give Christmas Challenge.   This is a great opportunity for members of the public who wish to donate to have their money doubled by The Big Give.

'Aladdin' - The Birmingham Hippodrome, 25th September 2015. Julian Clary and Matt Slack. Picture by Simon Hadley 07774 193699

Julian Clary and Matt Slack get behind The Big Give Christmas Challenge

Last year £12,000 was raised through the scheme towards our Relaxed Performance of pantomime and we thank everyone once again for their generosity.  It meant we could welcome over 1,000 theatre-goers with complex disabilities to experience our  popular pantomime in a relaxed environment.

So this week we are particularly delighted to announce that we have been accepted into The Big Give Christmas Challenge for the third year running.

This year we are raising money towards our Hippodrome Heritage Project.  We currently have professional archivists working with a talented group of 30 volunteers to help research and archive the history of this much loved theatre so that we leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy.    And we will be able to get our collection online and in touch tables situated in the foyers so everyone in the community has access.

We have such an amazing heritage and over the years  have welcomed the biggest star names in the world of showbiz including Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, Ken Dodd, Judy Garland, The Beatles and more.

You can find out more about the project in our latest Heritage Podcast presented by Heart FM’s Ed James.

If you are interested in helping to preserve over 100 years of our rich heritage then please save 4 & 5 December  in  your diary.

You can only donate on these two days and from 12 noon only but you have to be quick.   If you are lucky to get through your donation will be doubled by The Big Give.  Donations can be from as little as £1 to £1,000 plus.

We’ll be posting more blogs about The Big Give over the coming months so do keep following.   And keep in touch with our podcasts as Ed  delves more into our heritage  including fascinating interviews with one of our pantomime Dames and the great grandson of Henry Draysey who built the original theatre back in 1899!  #BHheritage

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Julian Clary and Matt Slack launch our pantomime Aladdin – oh yes they do!


Today we welcomed our pantomime stars Julian Clary (Slave of the Ring)  and Matt Slack (Wishee Washee)  for a busy day of media interviews and photographs ahead of the opening of the spectacular new production of Aladdin.

Aladdin  producer and director Michael Harrison, who was also at the media day said “You can’t beat a pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome – it’s the home of the UK panto, it’s such an intimate setting and our panto stars love it.”

Aladdin is a brand new production with new sets, costumes and breathtaking special effects including a magic flying carpet and stunning 3D.

Julian and Matt, in full pantomime costume posed for photographs for a large group of photographers and signed our new giant H which will be signed by all visiting companies.

Aladdin opens on 19 December and also stars Marti Pellow (Abanazar) and Lee Mead (Aladdin).

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Sneaky peek of cast of UK’s biggest pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome in full costume!

Earlier this week we welcomed the full company of our pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk including our wonderful cast Jane McDonald (Enchantress)  Duncan James (Jack), Chris Gascoyne (Fleshcreep), Gary Wilmot (Dame Trot), Paul Zerdin (Simple Simon) and Matt Slack (Silly Billy) with Robyn Mellor as Princess Apricot.

They started to arrive from last Sunday and once the set was  finished being built the company went straight into rehearsals on stage.

At the moment (18 Dec pm) the first full  technical run through is taking place to ensure everything works and everyone knows where they need to be on stage, from lighting to sets, to special effects and of course the amazing 3D.   It really is going to be a big show!

Before the Tech we invited members of the media to attend a photocall on stage with the cast  (look out for pictures in the Express and Star, Post and Mail, nationals and BBC Midlands Today).

Tonight the company perform their first full dress rehearsal and we can’t wait to see it.

Here’s a sneaky peek of the full cast in costume taken today.  (photographer: Simon Hadley)

Jack and the Beanstalk opens tomorrow 19 December and runs until 1 February.    Click here to book tickets.


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