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Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd is an independent, not-for-profit registered charity (No. 510842), established in 1979. We also have a fundraising Development Trust (No. 511567).  Click here to see a full list of our Trustees.

We are unsubsidised and do not receive revenue grants from Arts Council England or Birmingham City Council. However, we regularly apply to both these organisations for support towards special creative, education and access projects.

In 2010/11, we welcomed 523,219 paying visitors making us the most popular single theatre in the UK. Ticket sales totalled £15,088,265 (our best year since reopening in 2001) and we presented 392 performances. Musicals formed 46% of our performances, Pantomime 19%, Ballet 14%, and Opera 3%. Other performances include drama, dance and comedy. 25% of our tickets were sold at concessionary rates for education, access and audience development. 16,262 discounted tickets were issued to schools, including 1,543 free tickets for teachers. 22,324 discounted tickets were purchased by patrons with disabilities.

We co-produce International Dance Festival Birmingham with our partners DanceXchange. The third festival in spring 2012, was financially supported by Advantage West Midlands, Birmingham City Council, Arts Council England and the European Regional Development Fund, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin. Our free outdoor programme Six Summer Saturdays played to an estimated 100,000 people last summer; and we produced The Voyage, part of London 2012 festival and the Cultural Olympiad.

Our resident partners are Birmingham Royal Ballet, formerly Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, who came to the city in 1990. We are the only English venue to present all of Welsh National Opera's repertoire.


In 2010 Birmingham Hippodrome was the first theatre in the UK to be registered to ISO 14001, an international standard for Environmental Management Systems, now the most widely awarded EMS certification in the world.

Mike Bradford, Director of Operations at Birmingham Hippodrome said “We are delighted to be the first theatre in the UK to be certified to ISO 14001 and listed on the QA Register.   Averaging 500,000 visitors per year, it is important that we are committed to the environment.    We have already changed the way we dispose of our waste, recycling has increased in the last 12 months by 110% and modifications to the theatre’s utilities means that we have reduced gas and electricity usage by 30% in the last 5 years”.

Birmingham Hippodrome’s on-going commitment to the environment also includes:-

  • Glass and Plastic recycling saving an average of 580kgs of Co2 per month
  • Cardboard baled, compressed onsite, collected every 2 weeks for recycling (instead of two skips every week going  to landfill)
  • General waste compacted and collected every two weeks for recycling, reducing carbon footprint (instead of emptying one skip five times per week which then went to landfill)
  • Administration – reduction of print consumption by 10%
  • Introduction of low energy lighting, sensor taps, and hand dryers
  • Recycling bins located backstage and in administration
  • Waste that cannot be recycled is sent to Tyseley incinerator, Birmingham, which produces enough energy to power 40,000 local homes
  • Ongoing work includes reduction of the theatre’s water usage

Emma Fawcett-Jones, UK Business Manager for Certification International (UK) Ltd said “We are absolutely delighted to award certification to ISO 14001:2004 to Birmingham Hippodrome. During the Initial Assessment, the organisation was subject to a rigorous audit, designed to fully test the management system against the requirements of the Standard and to assess its implementation throughout the theatre. I’m pleased to say that through the commitment of Mike and his team, it was evident that Birmingham Hippodrome had made significant efforts to ensure that it was fully compliant in all aspects.” 


Click here to view Birmingham Hippodrome's Environmental Policy Statement.


Artist: LIZ RiDEAL, Glass Drapes (2001), Light Column (2005)


Recalling Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column, Liz Rideal’s Light Column, functions as a visual glass conduit between the architectural levels of the theatre building. The outer wall, Glass Drapes, reflects and echoes the column, an independent yet connected work in translucent repetitious form.

The allusion to draped cloth refers to the background fabrics originally seen in painted portraits. This convention became a familiar sight in photographic studios, and is retained in the photo-booth.

The basic logic and imagery for these artworks is derived from the repetition of a strip of four photographs taken in such a booth and measuring 20 x 4 centimetres.

Since 1997 Liz Rideal has used drapery as her subject, picturing cloth in performance. The pattern reproduced on these glassworks reiterates drapery folds. Light and curtains combine as signifiers of theatrical atmosphere. Both the outer glass wall and inner hanging glass column reflect and shadow each other, an extension of audience and stage echoed in endlessly choreographed repetitions.

In Glass Drapes, ground glass and pigment were photo silk-screened onto the two metre squares of plate glass. This enlarged photograph was made permanent by the application of intense heat.

In Light Column, the original rectangular format of the photo-booth image was used for the interconnecting glass boxes; sixteen of these were created in response to this rhythm of 4 x 4. These boxes in turn have four sides, one side is made up of sixteen parts, and eight of these are mirrors.

The strict sequencing and fixed ‘cast’ of components evokes the precision of repeated performances over time, with mirrors as ‘actors’ adding sparkle and individuality.

As patrons ascend and descend the staircase, so they revolve around the spiralling glass structure. As day changes to night, and the theatre expands and contracts with visitors, so the reflected patterns and shadows will also change, continuously activating the space.

Artist: BALRAJ KHANNA (1998) Jointly sponsored by Birmingham Post and Wilkinson


The maquette of the painting hangs in the stalls foyer (Level 1, Door A) with a detailed commentary by the artist. The maquette has been kindly loaned to the Hippodrome by Mr & Mrs Gordon Tonkinson.

The unmissable and unique painting on our safety curtain is by the London based artist and best-selling author BALRAJ KHANNA. It is one of the largest pieces of public art in the UK standing 13m wide by over 8m high.

“Inspired by music and dance” wrote the artist, “the work encapsulates the spirit of theatre and resonates with magic and mystery which becomes all the more tantalising when we realise that the somewhat surrealistic elements populating the painting are all inter-related.

"A discerning eye can work out that the shapes contained can all be put back together to form a unified whole - a veritable challenge for all visitors to the Hippodrome!”

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Quote one

"WNO is one of the best music companies in the world and once again it did not disappoint" Birmingham Mail

"The effervescent Birmingham Royal Ballet cast transform the stage into a balletic extravanganza."
Birmingham Post on Hobson’s Choice

 Birmingham Hippodrome’s Wideworld festival of international dance was launched in breath-taking style by Brazil’s Grupo Corpo 
Birmingham Mail

If Grupo Corpo are an indication of the other offerings in the WideWorld festival, Birmingham audiences have much to look forward to
Birmingham Mail

quote 2

"A huge company fills the Hippodrome’s equally huge stage"
The Stage, on the Bolshoi Ballet

"A fitting venue for world-class productions"
Express & Star

"One of the jewels in Birmingham’s cultural crown"
Birmingham Post

"For those with disabilities the new look theatre is a dream"
Express & Star

"You'll have a great night, leave with a smile on your face and be singing the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song for days afterwards!"
Ed James at breakfast, 100.7 Heart FM

"If you are looking for an adventure this Christmas there is little doubt that the Hippodrome is the place to find it" Birmingham Mail

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Birmingham Royal BalletDanceXchangeThe Patrick CentreWelsh National Opera
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