Fiona Allan, our Artistic Director & Chief Executive, introduces the 2015-16 Performance Review and reflects upon an exciting and exceptional year.
Birmingham feels like a city where you can come and make a real difference.
I have been in Birmingham for almost a year and am loving the energy of the city. There is so much going on here, and such a rich cultural offer. It is a fantastic time to arrive at Birmingham Hippodrome – the outgoing Chief Executive, Stuart Griffiths, left the business in terrific shape, and my lucky job is to use that as a platform for the future.
Birmingham Hippodrome has an incredible reputation for the productions it is able to attract to the city. All the big producers including Cameron Mackintosh, Disney and The National Theatre position us as the key date on their tours. In 2015-16, highlights on our stage included Mary Poppins, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and of course, the hugely popular pantomime, Aladdin.
What is often less visible is the theatre’s work through Hippodrome CREATIVE. I have been taken aback by the depth and breadth of all that goes in to bringing to life spectacular outdoor events, such as Birmingham Weekender and Summer in Southside, as well as a varied range of learning and community projects.
In my previous roles at the Sydney Opera House, and since then in both Cardiff and Leicester, I have seen what a galvanising effect a cultural institution can have presenting performances that appeal to absolutely everyone, and in bringing a city together to celebrate shared live experiences. As Birmingham grows, I am keen to ensure that our extraordinary wealth of cultural and creative enterprise is promoted front and centre, to reinforce the city’s attractiveness and international appeal.
As one of the most successful and popular theatres in the world, Birmingham Hippodrome is perfectly placed, with its numerous creative and corporate partners, to expand its reach, deepen engagement and make a big difference to people’s lives. I want to see the Hippodrome using its expertise to bring unique events to Birmingham and to grow an audience that is truly reflective of the city – young, dynamic and diverse.
I am very grateful to the Hippodrome Theatre Trust, to our Development Trust, and to the whole Hippodrome team for making me so welcome in my new city and organisation, and especially to our Chair John Crabtree for all his advice and support over the past year. I look forward to working with colleagues across the industry and to meeting even more of our audience, both loyal patrons and our many thousands of newcomers.
Fiona Allan – Artistic Director & Chief Executive
Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust