As the first phase of our Young Advocates programme completes, we spoke with Jhanee, who joined the Hippodrome as part of our Learning & Participation team this year about her experience of working on this special pilot programme.


“As part of a paid placement at Birmingham Hippodrome I have been working with the Learning and Participation team at Birmingham Hippodrome to support a series of live digital masterclasses, working with a Learning & Participation artist to deliver drama lessons at one of our HEN SEN schools in Birmingham and I have supported the launch of our Young Advocates programme.

 The Young Advocates are a new group of 16 young people who are passionate about the future of Birmingham for young people and making lasting change within the arts industry.

The programme launched in February with a live broadcast from DRPG studios where the group got to know the Hippodrome team and start shaping ideas as a group. They have worked together virtually to learn more about the Hippodrome’s programme, having Q&A sessions with Hippodrome Associate Artists including Open Theatre, Sonia Sabri Company, Rosie Kay, and have had the opportunities to work with the TedxYouth@Brum team alongside key artists and creatives in the city.

 Early in the process the group established their core principles; equality, diversity, inclusivity, consideration, and acceptance. These principles were carefully chosen by the young advocates and have been the framework for everything they have worked on together. During the pilot of the programme, the group were tasked with thinking big about what the future of the Hippodrome should look like for the young people of our city, ensuring relevance as we come out of the pandemic. The Young Advocates have been exploring using the arts to increase hope and positivity in Birmingham, providing more opportunities for young people within the cultural and creative sector, the importance of mental health, the future of the arts post-pandemic and connecting and increasing community access within the arts. 

The Young Advocates have built on their leadership, organisational, presenting and teamwork skills as part of their personal development in the programme. They have also been given training in creating content, pitching ideas and hosting events by our supporting partners DRPG and TedxYouth@Brum.

Sanskar and Harvey who are part of our Young Advocates programme said:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Young Advocates, it has been a safe place where I have had many amazing discussions with young people like myself about the Hippodrome, the performing arts industry, the challenges in life, the future and the changes we would like to be brought about!” – Sanskar 

“The Young Advocates Programme is an incredible opportunity! It has given us all a platform to share our ideas for the future. I can easily say it is an experience we will not soon forget and will cherish for years to come! Thank you, Birmingham Hippodrome, for giving us this chance and making it happen!” – Harvey 

In March, TedxYouth@Brum held a Livestream event with talks from young people around Birmingham. The Young Advocates hosted Livestream parties with their peers in schools, colleges, and information spaces across the city. The group also created their own content for the event linking to this year’s theme #InsertFutureHere.

Following this, the Young Advocates got the chance to present their ideas for the future of young people in the city to Birmingham Hippodrome’s senior leadership team, Board members and guests from DRPG.

My time at Birmingham Hippodrome has been of great value to my personal growth and essential in helping me develop my career. When I applied for this placement, I knew I wanted to work with young people to make a lasting impact; this attracted me to the Learning & Participation team. Being part of this team has solidified for me that moving forward I would like my career to involve creatively working with young people. I will be staying on in my role with Birmingham Hippodrome and I am looking forward to the future.  Working on the Young Advocates pilot programme has been fun, inspiring, thought provoking and the Young Advocates themselves have taught me so much.

Programmes like Young Advocates are crucial in giving young people a chance to shine and have their voices heard and explore the creative industry. The group have gained knowledge, insight into the industry and support in their pursuit into the arts and a sense of community.

 Hiba and Shreya have also reflected on what they have gained from the pilot programme:

“Through the Young Advocates, I’ve been able to develop my leadership skills, which I didn’t think I had, as well as work collaboratively with others in the programme and people in the industry. Being a part of the Young Advocates has boosted my confidence, shown me career paths I’d never even considered and has given me the chance to make a change.”- Hiba

 “The Young Advocates programme really helped me understand what it takes to put your ideas into motion – determination, planning and teamwork. It has been an excellent and eye-opening experience.”- Shreya

As for the future of the Young Advocates- this is just the beginning. Following the success of the pilot we will roll the programme out more fully this Autumn, solidifying young people’s voice as central to our work both now and in the future.   

Thank you to the Young Advocates and all of the companies that have supported us to work hand in hand to create a brighter future for the young people in the city.”

Find out more about our Young Advocates here.