Important Information

Please click here for more information on Birmingham Hippodrome’s cancellation of live performances in the main auditorium until 1 February 2021.

This is a past event and is currently no longer running.


From the West End to Broadway

‘If you’ve always wanted to know where musicals came from and how they get from concept to stage, this is the course for you!’ – Adam Carver, course leader

This six-week course provides a fascinating and entertaining introduction to the history of the musical, from its origins right up to the modern day. Students will explore how musicals work, their impact on popular culture and theatre, and how musicals came to exist…

This is the perfect chance to learn more about your favourite musicals, discover new ones, and enhance your enjoyment of the musicals on offer at Birmingham Hippodrome. With the help of an assigned listening each week and heaps of works covered in class, there’s a huge range of musicals old and new for you to delve into.

You don’t need to be an expert in musical theory or stagecraft – you just need to have a love of musicals and the desire to learn more about them. Sessions will be in an informal seminar style, with plenty of discussion and audio-visual learning. There is no written work or assessment, so just sign up, come along and enjoy!

This course is led by Adam Carver, a Birmingham-based director and theatre-maker with a background in musical theatre, and the producer of SHOUT Festival of Queer Arts and Culture. Adam will be sharing his industry experience and insight with you throughout the course, and there will also be a chance to join him for a closing lunch at the end of the course.

Some of the questions and topics you’ll cover include:

  • What is a musical and how do we define it? What does musical theatre look and sound like? This first session will give you the toolkit you need to explore the next five weeks of musicals.
  • Where did musical theatre come from? What are its origins?
  • What are some key genre-changing or genre-making moments in the history of musical theatre? For example, Hair, West Side Story, Evita, RENT, Hamilton, Sunday in the Park with George.
  • The early hits of musical theatre and what they looked like.
  • ‘Golden Era’ musicals, from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Fiddler on the Roof
  • The 60s and 70s, e.g. Kander and Ebb, Cabaret and Chicago
  • The 80s and 90s and the birth of the mega musical, e.g. Miss Saigon, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera
  • Musical theatre and adaptation – turning films, books, and musical artists into shows. The rise of the jukebox musical.
  • The contemporary musical, from RENT to Hamilton

Please note: This is a comprehensive but flexible programme, so the exact musicals and topics covered may vary slightly from those listed above.



Prices and discounts subject to change, postage from £1.50.
Discounts & Concessions

This six week course is £130 per person.

Food & Drink

Coffee Bar

Our Coffee Bar is open all day for Quarter Horse barista coffee and a quick and tasty bite to eat.

Our Bars

You’ll receive a warm welcome at our Foyer Bars, conveniently positioned for both Stalls and Circle levels.



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