PRESS RELEASE

Can YOU help Birmingham Hippodrome raise £12,000 in 12 Days?

With panto season just around the corner, Birmingham Hippodrome has today announced details of a new fundraising campaign which aims to raise over £12,000 to help support its growing programme of Relaxed Performances for audiences with special access needs and complex learning disabilities in 2017.

Running from 1-12 December, The 12 Days of Christmas Challenge will seek to raise £12,000+ over 12 days in support of this year’s Relaxed Performance of Dick Whittington, thereby ensuring that even more people share in the magic of pantomime this festive season.

A relaxed performance is all about creating a welcoming, inclusive and relaxed environment for audiences who may find coming to the theatre overwhelming. These special events include:

  • Creating a welcome film and familiarisation pack prior to the performance.
  • Changing elements of the show – removing loud bangs and lighting effects.
  • Offering specialist training for staff and volunteers.
  • Increasing the number of wheelchair spaces in the main auditorium.
  • Keeping the house lights up, and the auditorium doors open.
  • Providing a sensory room, playroom and quiet spaces.
  • Reducing the ticket price to ensure the performance is accessible.
  • Offering free tea and coffee for carers, teachers and community group leaders.
  • Giving out sensory toys for use during the show.
  • Providing caption boards, audio describers and signers for the show.

Following the success of last year’s Relaxed Performance of Aladdin in January 2016, Birmingham Hippodrome is thrilled to be expanding its Relaxed Performance programme in 2017. Events currently on sale include a Relaxed Performance of this year’s magical pantomime Dick Whittington on Thu 26 January at 12noon starring John Barrowman, Steve McFadden, The Krankies, Jodie Prenger, Matt Slack and Andrew Ryan and, for the very first time in 2017, a specially-adapted performance of the acclaimed National Theatre production; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time on Mon 3 Jul at 7.30pm.

Rob Macpherson, Director of Marketing and Development at Birmingham Hippodrome, said; ‘A visit to pantomime can be an unforgettable experience, whatever your age. For audiences with specialist access or complex learning needs, visiting a traditional theatre setting can often seem overwhelming. By expanding our existing programme of Relaxed Performances, we hope to provide up to 5000 additional patrons with a safe, inclusive and enjoyable environment in which to share in the magic of live theatre this festive season and beyond. We are extremely grateful to audiences, donors and members for their continued generosity and support in helping to ensure everyone’s welcome at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Vidar Hjardeng MBE added ‘As both a Birmingham Hippodrome Board member and Chair of its Access Forum, making sure everyone has the chance to enjoy the amazing experiences the theatre has to offer is very important to me and all of us at the Hippodrome. That’s why I’m supporting the 12 Days of Christmas campaign which will fund more relaxed performances, creating a welcoming, inclusive and relaxed environment for individuals and families who may not always get the opportunity to experience the joy of live theatre.”

Donations The 12 Days of Christmas Challenge open at 10am on Thursday 1st December.

Where Does YOUR £12,000 go?

On the first day of Christmas, my donors gave to me…

  1. One Sensory Room – For each Relaxed Performance we create a sensory room for anyone who finds the busy foyers overwhelming
  2. Two Captioned Boards – We have two caption boards at every Relaxed Performance, for deaf and partially deaf audiences. They display the actors’ words and sound effects in real time
  3. Three Bean Bags – You’ll find a soft play room at every Relaxed Performance, as a break-out space for use before and during the show.
  4. Four Community Coaches – With extra funding, we can put on community transport for special schools and support groups to get to the show.
  5. Five Fidget Toys – Fidget toys are very popular at our Relaxed Performances! Perfect as a calming device for those with sensory needs.
  6. Six Signing Singers – Our signers using British Sign Language to interpret the performance. They even sign the songs!
  7. Seven Audio Describers – Audio Description enables blind and visually impaired audiences to enjoy the show!  It provides a live commentary of all the on-stage action.
  8. Eight Special Schools – By reducing the ticket prices, our Relaxed Performances can be enjoyed by special schools from all over the West Midlands.
  9. Nine Volunteers – We work with volunteers to create an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
  10. A Ten Minute Film – We create a special film to send to audiences, to help reduce any anxieties about visiting us.
  11. Eleven Wheelchairs – We create extra wheelchair spaces in the auditorium for every Relaxed Performance, boosting our access offer
  12. Twelve Sparkly Hats – If you attend a Relaxed Performance, you’ll see plenty of sparkly hats! They are worn by our staff and volunteers so we are easy to spot.

To help Birmingham Hippodrome raise £12,000 in 12 days, donate online at http://bit.ly/2fxyNFB, call the Fundraising Team on 0121 689 3068 or send a cheque addressed to ‘Birmingham Hippodrome’ to Christmas Challenge, Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TB.

Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust is an independent registered charity, No 510842. We passionately believe live experiences have the power to entertain and inspire.  We want to ensure that audiences of all ages benefit from Hippodrome CREATIVE and with your help we can make this a reality.

If you donate, don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation is you are UK Tax Payer. This boosts your donation by 25p for every £1 you donate, at no extra cost to you!

For more information about the 12 Days of Christmas campaign, visit http://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/giveandjoin/12-days-christmas-challenge/

Twitter: @brumhippodrome#12DaysofXmas

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For further information, please contact Laura Smith (Head of Communications) on 0121 689 3069, email: laurasmith@birminghamhippodrome.com or Kate Evans (Communications Executive) at Birmingham Hippodrome on 0783 499 0738, email: kateevans@birminghamhippodrome.com

*Prices and discounts subject to change, 5% transaction charge applies (excluding cash sales in person), postage from £1.
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Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd, Charity No. 510842.
Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB.
birminghamhippodrome.com