The strength of Birmingham Hippodrome comes from our people; real people with their own thoughts, beliefs, cultures and identities that bring their unique perspective and experiences to our team.

We are breaking down barriers and building relationships for us to become a more equitable place for audiences, artists, participants, and our own teams. We do not, and will not, tolerate discrimination of any kind.

We want to celebrate this sense of belonging and ensure our inclusion work allows all Birmingham Hippodrome employees, volunteers and audience members to feel respected and valued. We want to celebrate who you are, not just today, but throughout the year.

To mark World Inclusion Day and the start of this journey, we are asking our Hippodrome team what inclusion in the arts means to them.

Thank you to Matt, Birmingham Hippodrome Touring Productions Marketing Manager for telling his story:

My name is Matt, I’m 26 and the proud owner of a drama queen of a Corgi…and I’m also on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

I’ve been really lucky at the Hippodrome to find myself in a team both departmental and venue-wide that’s accepting, and encouraging, of being authentically 100% myself. I’ve never worried about coming into work and filing away a part of me or trying to fit a certain mould, which feels silly to write but not everyone has that luxury.

I’m also lucky to say that my identity has never been a barrier at the Hippodrome. Being LGBTQ+ is just one small aspect of me and has never once entered into a professional conversation.

One of the highlights of my job is being able to work on shows that champion voices that aren’t normally heard. There are so many examples to name (which is a celebration in itself) but in particular, working on The Color Purple in 2019 and SHOUT Festival this year are labours of love. Seeing my workplace giving those necessary voices a platform speaks louder than anything I could write.

Aside from the important work being done, it’s also such a joy to experience us having a presence at things like Birmingham Pride. Seeing your company proud to stand as part of these celebrations, either on a loud and proud float or just having a presence on a screen, is important.

We use the phrase “protected characteristic” to describe those that identify as LGBTQ+, but being at the Hippodrome I’ve never been made to feel like it is a characteristic that needs protecting. I don’t come into work and feel wrapped in bubble wrap, with people afraid of saying the wrong thing to me. The staff create a safe space where people are just people regardless of how they identify in all traits.

Representation within the Arts, both on stage and off stage, has a long way to go but being at Birmingham Hippodrome and being part of that change is something I’m really proud of.

Read about our commitment to Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism here