About Us > Key Facts
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) founded in 1981. A full list of our current volunteer Trustees, and those who have kindly offered their time, expertise and support over the last 30 years can be viewed here.
We do not receive revenue grants from Arts Council England or Birmingham City Council. However, we regularly work closely with both these organisations for support towards Hippodrome Plus and other eligible projects.
During the 2013/14 financial year, we presented 404 performances attended by 625,732 patrons retaining our position as the highest attended single theatre in the UK. This was our best result in the history of the Theatre Trust and beats all known records for over 50 years.
Our resident partner Birmingham Royal Ballet (formerly Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet) will shortly be celebrating 25 years in the city, and we are proud to be the only English venue to present all of Welsh National Opera's repertoire. We co-produce International Dance Festival Birmingham with our partners DanceXchange. The festival attracts companies and dancers from across the globe to the city, performing in a range of venues and open spaces. The fourth festival in Spring 2014 was financially supported by Arts Council England, European Regional Development Fund, Birmingham City Council and Festivals Birmingham.
Musicals formed 48% of our performances, Pantomime 19%, Ballet 16% and Opera 3%. Other performances include drama, dance and comedy.
We sold almost 17% of tickets at a discounted rate for education, audience development and access (including patrons aged 18 and under or 60+, full-time students, benefits claimants and Passport to Leisure holders). Just over 4% of tickets were sold with an access discount and we sold 14,089 tickets to schools, plus 1,464 free tickets for teachers.
Our growing programme of education, access and outdoor performance included projects such as the Young Carers’ summer school; the Matthew Bourne ‘Curtain Raiser’ with local colleges; workshops with the deaf-blind charity Sense and with Age Concern; and the theatre’s weekly drama classes with special needs experts, Open Theatre.
2013/14 also saw the first ‘Relaxed Performance’ of pantomime for a new audience of around 800, and attendance at assisted performances (including sign-language interpreted, audio-described and captioned shows) increased by over 40%.
Last summer our free outdoor programme Summer in Southside featuring the best in outdoor performance, enjoyed a footfall of over 40,000. In September 2013 Hippodrome Plus produced 4 Squares Weekender on behalf of Birmingham Arts Partnership to celebrate the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. The event was attended by an estimated 100,000 visitors.
Hospitality, Conferences & Events
We own and manage all our catering and hospitality services in-house, ensuring the highest quality customer experience. We operate the Circle Restaurant and StageSide on Thorp Street in addition to our foyer bars and Deli Bar. Our many private suites are also in demand for show hospitality and daytime meetings and events for a range of corporate and charity clients.
Recent events run by our Conference & Events team include Beiersdorf UK Ltd who held an exclusive themed dinner in the Patrick Centre for over 150 guests using the latest technology to project stunning images of international landmarks onto the studio walls; and the hugely successful two day ISAN Biennial Conference for over 170 delegates from all over the UK. The Independent Street Arts Network occupied all areas of the theatre with keynote speakers from international festivals and the Paralympic Games.
Environmental Management, Customer Service and Staff Awards
In 2010 Birmingham Hippodrome was the first theatre in the UK to be registered to ISO 14001, an international standard for Environmental Management Systems. Recently the theatre has been re-certified for ISO14001 Environmental Management and achieved certification in OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.
During 2013/14 the Hippodrome compacted and sent for incineration 116 tons of waste, recycled 38 tons of glass and 2 tons of plastic bottles, 12 tons of cardboard and 3.5 tons of paper. This has saved 176 tons going to landfill.
Our Environmental Policy Statement can be viewed HERE.
Our Customer Services team achieved the Gold Standard Badge for World Class Service in 2013, one of only three companies to do so. We were recently listed in the TOP 100 of the well known Sunday Times “Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For in the UK”.
PUBLIC ART in our foyers
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 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!”
With thanks to Mr and Mrs Gordon Tonkinson, Wilkinsons and Birmingham Post and Mail Ltd (2001) all of whom played their part in enabling the maquette to be owned by Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd.
"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 Hippodrome’s Wideworld festival of international dance was launched in breath-taking style by Brazil’s Grupo Corpo”
Birmingham Post on Hobson’s Choice
“If Grupo Corpo are an indication of the other offerings in the WideWorld festival, Birmingham audiences have much to look forward to”
"The effervescent Birmingham Royal Ballet cast transform the stage into a balletic extravanganza."
“Birmingham Hippodrome’s Wideworld festival of international dance was launched in breath-taking style by Brazil’s Grupo Corpo”
"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"
"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