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Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd has announced the appointment of three new Trustees. VIDAR HJARDENG MBE, IMANDEEP KAUR and HARJINDER MILLINGTON will all join a volunteer board, chaired by John Crabtree.

Since 1979, the charity has run the UK’s successful 1,850-seat Hurst Street theatre which presents the best in touring musicals, drama, world-class ballet and opera, international dance and the world’s biggest pantomime.  Welcoming on average over 500,000 paid admissions annually, Birmingham Hippodrome claims to be the most popular single theatre in the UK.

Announcing the new appointments, Hippodrome Chair JOHN CRABTREE said:  “For nearly 40 years, we have always been extremely proud and privileged to have such a supportive board of Trustees.  These three new appointments will enable us to focus even more on our priorities: attracting increased numbers of new audiences, widening access to our community programmes, and engaging even more broadly across the region.”

Birmingham Hippodrome Chief Executive & Artistic Director FIONA ALLAN added: “Vidar has chaired the Hippodrome’s Access Forum for several years, bringing his expertise in diversity and disability issues to champion the development of Hippodrome relaxed performances. Immy brings us new networks via the ground-breaking Impact Hub and TEDx Brum that will help the Hippodrome expand our reach and relevance. And Harj’s legal expertise, mixed with digital and retail skills, will be extremely useful as we focus on growing a broader audience base.”

In addition to the wide-ranging performance programme on its main stage and in the 200-seat Patrick Centre studio, Birmingham Hippodrome also has a thriving learning and community programme, Hippodrome CREATIVE, for which it raises thousands annually from grant-making trusts, corporate and individual supporters for transformational projects. The theatre receives no revenue subsidy but invests its own resources alongside a range of supportive project funders including Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

VIDAR HJARDENG said: “Having had the privilege of chairing Birmingham Hippodrome’s Access Forum for almost ten years and having seen first-hand the impressive commitment to access for all patrons, I hope I can continue to make a useful contribution in this new role.  I look forward to championing this work with the team to ensure that everything that is staged at the Hippodrome can be enjoyed by as broad an audience as possible.”

IMMY KAUR said: “I am very excited to be joining the board of the Hippodrome, at a time of great possibility for this institution in driving Birmingham forward as a young, global city, showcasing its vibrancy and potential for innovation.”

HARJ MILLINGTON commented: “I am really excited to be joining the Hippodrome board and I hope that I can play my part in helping the theatre to take its amazingly diverse programme to an even wider audience.”


September 2016

Media Enquiries:

Kate Evans, Communications Executive, Birmingham Hippodrome

0121 689 3065,

Notes to Editors:

Harj Millington is a businesswoman and lawyer.  She is Co-Owner, and Commercial and Legal Director, of Style Our Home, a leading online furniture and home retailer. Recognising growth, excellence and innovation, Style Our Home has been named as a winner in two categories by the Online Retail Awards 2016 and has been shortlisted as a finalist in the eCommerce Awards 2016.  Before joining Style Our Home in 2010, Harj spent ten years as a commercial solicitor at leading law firm Gowling WLG (formerly Wragge & Co) acting on behalf of a wide range of corporate businesses in complex disputes, and advising the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on directors’ responsibilities and forensic investigations. Harj is a Governor of Hill West Primary School.

Vidar Hjardeng MBE studied languages at Manchester University before completing a post-graduate Journalism course at London’s City University. Now Diversity Consultant for ITV News across England, Wales and the Channel Islands, Vidar spent over 25 years working for ITV in the Midlands, much of that time as Editor/Executive Producer on political, religious and social action magazine programmes before joining the ITV News Senior Management team and for a number of years was a Consultant Producer with Channel 4’s daytime political programme produced by ITN.  In addition to being an Associate with the Business Disability Forum, Vidar is a motivational speaker, also delivering lectures at a number of universities and is a role model for the DWP’s “Fulfilling Potential: making it happen” Campaign.  Vidar has reviewed audiobooks for Radio 4 and publications including The Book Magazine, Disability Now and The Financial Times and reviews audio-described Theatre, Opera and Ballet performances for Insight Radio.  He is a Trustee with the RNIB Group, SHAPE, Performances Birmingham (which oversees both Symphony Hall and Town Hall) and an executive member with the Audio Description Association. In the past Vidar has also chaired the national audio-description charity VocalEyes, as well as Virgin Train’s Passengers’ Panel.  Vidar currently chairs Birmingham New Street’s Access Forum as well as Birmingham Hippodrome’s Access Forum.

Immy Kaur is a co-founder of Impact Hub Birmingham, a network of citizens, makers, doers, entrepreneurs, activists and dreamers committed to building a better Birmingham and better world. Powered by a 6,000 sq. ft. collaborative workshop in the heart of Birmingham, the Impact Hub is an engine for passion, learning and outcomes where together, the community work to build a better, fairer city. Impact Hub Birmingham launched and successfully crowdfunded over £65,000 on Kickstarter, with more than 650 people backing the #EpicBrum campaign. Impact Hub Birmingham is part of a global association of more than 80 communities around the world in over 70 cities, with over 12,000 members all with a shared focus on creating positive impact.  Immy is Director of Project 00, [zero zero], a collaborative studio of architects, strategic designers, programmers, social scientists, economists and urban designers practicing design beyond its traditional borders, with ventures including WikiHouse, Open Desk, Civic Systems Lab and more.  Immy was one of the original founding team members that produced Birmingham’s first ever TEDx. Over the last 5 years Immy has curated and produced TEDxBrum as licensee including: 2012 The Next Revolution at mac, Birmingham, 2013 Marking the Map at Millennium Point and 2014 DIY at the Library of Birmingham.  In 2016, Immy and team will be planning Birmingham’s biggest TEDx event to date to the city and launch CityCamp a 3 week event around TEDx to explore together how an ideas community can continue to build and make a more democratic and fair city together. Immy led a team to produce the FutureShift Festival in Birmingham and co-designed The Civic Foundry as part of the Cabinet Office funded Hub Launchpad programme, an open social venture accelerator programme. Previously Immy worked as part of Tony Blair Faith Foundation. On behalf of 00, Immy is co-founding Dark Matter Laboratories.

About Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome is an independent, not-for-profit, registered charity (No 510842).  The Hurst Street venue averages over 500,000 visits annually making it the most popular single auditorium in the UK.  With no core public revenue funding, it counts Birmingham Royal Ballet and DanceXchange as resident partners; presents all of Welsh National Opera’s repertoire; welcomes the best in international dance, major touring dramas, West End and Broadway musicals; and is home to the world’s biggest Pantomime. It also houses the 200-seat Patrick Centre for the Performing Arts.

As a charity with no public revenue funding, Birmingham Hippodrome receives generous support from the business community through sponsorship and other partnerships; from individuals through donations and memberships; and from grant-making Trusts for special programming and infrastructure projects. It is a major employer and plays a leading role in the Southside Business Improvement District.

Birmingham Hippodrome is expanding its Creative Programme – Hippodrome CREATIVE – building on its successful work in education and in the wider community.  With partners including Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council and private funders. The theatre fundraises through Birmingham Hippodrome Development Trust (registered charity No 511567) in order to support its ambitions for Hippodrome CREATIVE. With numerous supportive partners we have recently co-produced and produced new events including Minimum Monument, The Voyage, About Town, Blitz, 4 Squares Weekender and Birmingham Weekender (celebrating the opening of New Street and Grand Central alongside the Rugby World Cup). Events in 2016 include Furious Folly in Sutton Park, a co-commission with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and the return of Summer in Southside, a free programme of live street theatre, comedy, dance, puppetry, visual arts and music taking over the Southside district which attracted audiences in excess of 13,000. This Autumn sees the launch of Birmingham’s first, annual B-Side Hip-Hop Festival, a three day celebration of all things Hip-Hop produced in partnership with The Old Rep and local partners Break Mission, Dance Nuvo, Juice Aleem and Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere. From 8 Novemer 2016, Birmingham Hippodrome CREATIVE present X-Ray: The Unknown Quantity – an innovative new digital dance film and sonic soundscape marking the 120th anniversary of the first medical X-Ray.

Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB.
Tickets & Information 0844 338 5000