• 300 VIP guests raise funds for Creative Learning and outdoor community programmes
• Celebration of unique Hippodrome Heritage
On Saturday 14 May, Birmingham Hippodrome held its sixth successful Gala Dinner on its famous stage for nearly 300 guests. Over £50,000 was raised for the theatre’s award-winning Hippodrome CREATIVE programme of learning, access and free community performance.
With a theme of ‘Hippodrome Heritage’, celebrating over 117 years of arts and entertainment at the city’s Hurst Street theatre, this spectacular event was sponsored by Genting Hotel and Laurent Perrier, and directed by Michael Harrison. VIP guests seated on stage were treated to outstanding and intimate performances from some of today’s leading stars of musicals.
Following her recent triumph stepping in at short notice for an indisposed Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard, Ria Jones performed selections from both Sunset and Piaf. Allan Stewart reprised his award-winning role of Al Jolson, and The Rat Pack’s Stephen Triffit delivered his acclaimed performance of Frank Sinatra. Variety stars Clive Webb and Danny Adams entertained guests with their Music Hall tribute comedy act.
A sealed bids auction proved hugely popular and tables competed against each other with a Heritage quiz through the evening; an auction of outstanding prizes raised record amounts after some competitive bidding.
Commenting on the fundraising success, Hippodrome Development Trust Chair MARTIN GUEST said: “This is a truly amazing result and we’re delighted so many supporters donated so generously to Hippodrome CREATIVE. All the funds raised will go directly to life-changing projects across the city in schools and colleges, and to making sure everyone’s welcome through even more free outdoor performances.
“We are very grateful to sponsors Genting Hotel and Laurent Perrier, to each of the table hosts, and to our auctioneer Rory Daly of SDL Bigwood for helping us raise so much on the night.”
Hippodrome Chief Executive & Artistic Director FIONA ALLAN added: “I’ve only been in post here six months and had heard so much about the Gala Dinner. Even so, I was completely blown away by such a star-studded showbiz evening.
“It was a real thrill to be able to share the Hippodrome’s rich history with all our friends and to have a chance to tell everyone about our significant plans to expand our creative learning and access programmes. We’re so grateful for everyone’s support especially our Theatre Trust Chair John Crabtree, Development Trust Chair Martin Guest, all our Trustees, the huge number of personal donors – and of course our wonderful sponsors.”
Birmingham Hippodrome is an unsubsidised charity and the UK’s most popular single theatre presenting nearly 400 performances annually across opera and ballet, musicals, drama and comedy – plus the world’s biggest pantomime. Hippodrome CREATIVE delivers projects across the region for young people and underprivileged groups, and free community performances, with financial assistance from grant-making trusts, corporate supporters and donations from generous individuals.
Donations can be made by phone on 0844 338 5000 or online at birminghamhippodrome.com/give
(ends – 26 May 2016)
Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd (registered charity no. 510842)
Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Development Trust (registered charity no. 511567)
Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB