This October will mark Birmingham Hippodrome’s official 120th birthday. To celebrate, the greatest show on earth will come to the city centre with a range of free performances and workshops honouring the theatre’s origins as a circus.
On Saturday 26 October, everyone is invited for a day of free family fun in and around Birmingham Hippodrome, as well as at Bullring & Grand Central. Try your hand at circus workshops where you can learn a range of performance skills, watch a variety of jaw-dropping circus acts such as jugglers and stilt walkers, and delve into the theatre’s rich history with a range of talks.
Continuing the celebration of the theatre’s heritage from 120 years ago, the circus returns to its Birmingham roots in the main auditorium as Circus 1903 (25 Oct-2 Nov) comes to the city for the very first time direct from a sell-out run at London’s Southbank Centre and packed with the thrills and daredevil entertainment of a turn-of-the-century circus. The show also includes sensational lifesized elephants stunningly created by puppeteers from War Horse!
Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio has announced a new season of bold, creative work as the theatre strives to bring the best in new cabaret, comedy, dance and drama to the studio space. Equipped with over 18 million views on Youtube, Mawaan Rizwan brings his one man show Juice (12 Sep), Hippodrome Associate Rosie Kay premieres her brand-new work Fantasia (25 & 26 Sep) and award-winning original musical Eye of the Storm (8 & 9 Oct) by Theatr na nÓg brings an unmissable tale of one young girl’s scientific quest to pursue her passion for tornados. YOOO!!! (22-24 Oct) presented by Emanuel Gat Dance & Théâtre National de Chaillot is a hip-hop and contemporary dance show for all ages, Anjali Dance Company’s Genius (19 & 20 Nov) is a double bill by an exceptional group of six dancers and multi-award-winners Ad Infinitum return with Extraordinary Wall of Silence (22 & 23 Jan), a new production combining the company’s trademark physical storytelling with the beauty of Sign Language. Apples and Snakes and Birmingham Hippodrome’s monthly world-class poetry and spoken word event, Hit the Ode (11 Oct, 8 Nov, 31 Jan) also continues its residency in the Patrick Studio.
Just announced for the main stage, the Broadway and West End smash-hit musical Sister Act (15-26 Sep 2020) will come to Birmingham Hippodrome with a brand-new production starring Brenda Edwards and produced by Whoopi Goldberg. Nominated for 5 Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, SIX (21-25 Jul 2020) is the new musical phenomenon everyone is losing their head over as it comes to Birmingham for the very first time.
Now in its 33rd phenomenal year in the West End, The Phantom of the Opera (29 Jul-12 Sep 2020) will haunt the Hippodrome with the spectacular and brilliant original production in the summer of 2020. Tickets will go on sale to Birmingham Hippodrome Friends and Patron scheme members on Tuesday 10 September at 11am, to groups on Tuesday 24 September at 11am and to the general public from Thursday 26 September at 11am.
Other musical blockbusters include Blood Brothers (30 Sep-12 Oct), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (13-18 Apr 2020), We Will Rock You (20 Apr-2 May 2020), MAMMA MIA! (12-30 May 2020) and the return of Les Misérables (30 Jun-18 Jul 2020) following a sell-out 2019 season.
This year’s pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (21 Dec 2019–2 Feb 2020) promises to be one of the most spectacular yet featuring sets and costumes direct from the London Palladium. The all-star line up features Lesley Joseph, Matt Slack, Joe McElderry, Faye Brookes, Flawless, Doreen Tipton and Andrew Ryan.
Continuing Birmingham Hippodrome’s reputation as a hub for the best in dance from across the globe, South Africa’s internationally renowned choreographer, Dada Masilo, presents her fearless re-imagining of the iconic classic, Giselle (15 & 16 Oct) plus ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company return with Some Like It Hip Hop (18 & 19 Oct). International ballet superstar Carlos Acosta brings his critically acclaimed Cuban company, Acosta Danza (11 & 12 Nov) to Birmingham ahead of his exciting appointment as Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in January 2020 and Matthew Bourne’s Olivier Award winning The Red Shoes (11-15 Feb 2020) returns following two sell-out seasons in 2016. Birmingham Hippodrome will also co-produce Message In A Bottle (8-11 Apr 2020) with Sadler’s Wells and The Lowry, an exciting new production choreographed by Kate Prince and set to the iconic hits of Sting.
Resident ballet company, Birmingham Royal Ballet bring their timeless classic productions of Giselle (25-28 Sep), The Nutcracker (22 Nov-14 Dec) and Swan Lake (18-29 Feb 2020) plus an Autumn Mixed Bill (19-21 Sep) and Carlos Acosta’s stunning version of the dazzling, Cervantes-inspired comedy, Don Quixote (19-27 Jun) marking the first UK performances of the production outside of London.
Some of the biggest names in comedy take to the stage including Ben Elton (14 Nov), Rob Beckett (6 & 7 Feb 2020) and Romesh Ranganathan (3 & 4 May 2020) plus a return home for Lenny Henry (20 Oct) as he opens his brand new tour right here in Birmingham.
Finally, Welsh National Opera present a brand new production of Carmen (5 & 8 Nov 2019 & 7 May 2020) by Jo Davies set in 1970 South America, plus their acclaimed production of Rigoletto (6 & 9 Nov) and David Pountney’s colourful The Cunning Little Vixen (7 Nov). They are joined by the opulent The Marriage of Figaro (6 May 2020) and Verdi’s grand opera Les vêpres siciliennes (9 May 2020).
FIONA ALLAN, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Birmingham Hippodrome said:
“Birmingham Hippodrome’s 120th year led me to reflect on this theatre’s rich heritage as well as our continual quest to remain relevant and exciting to an evolving population. As an independent charity, we have remained successful as the result of a shared a vision for Birmingham as a truly great, and global, city.
“Whilst perhaps we will always be best known for our thriving musicals and pantomime seasons, over the last few years, our efforts have also expanded into more visible charitable activity, and our efforts to enrich the cultural life of the region through developing and investing in regional talent.
“Our Hippodrome Education Network has expanded now to over 30 schools, we have established youth companies specialising in hip-hop, musical theatre and poetry, we run regular daytime programmes for toddlers, holiday workshops and free performances. Our programme in the Patrick Studio, our second space, has also significantly expanded. And in 2019 we have developed two main stage productions, The Color Purple and West Side Story.
“On top of that, we now have seven Hippodrome Associates, who we help commission and present work on and off our stages. Our dedicated festivals team delivered our largest outdoor programmes to date, including Chinese New Year, Summer in Southside and B-SIDE Hip-Hop festival along with free monthly activity in the Bullring.
“Over the past year we also constructed the Dance Hub, a new extension to our campus built on top of BRB’s studios, which will be a new home to OneDance UK. And whilst finishing one build, we have been planning another- a revamp to our public spaces to better enable us to serve our public all day every day. More news on that to come…
“Our new season provides a huge range of productions for audiences to choose from- from blockbuster musicals like The Phantom of the Opera to smaller, experimental work presented in The Patrick Studio like Fantasia, a brand new piece from Hippodrome Associate Rosie Kay. I’m particular excited about new shows on sale like Whoopi Goldberg’s brand new production of Sister Act and the sensational SIX which tells a very different, and much sassier, story of Henry VIII’s many wives.
“With the official 120th birthday month of Birmingham Hippodrome fast approaching in October, we’re also busy preparing to celebrate our circus origins with hit show Circus 1903 rolling into town direct from London, and on Saturday 26 October, our big birthday open day steps back in time presenting spectacular performers, family-friendly workshops and heritage talks and tours. Don’t miss the fun!
“As we move forward, remember there is so much more to Birmingham Hippodrome than the work you see on stage- there is an ambitious charity sitting behind it all- working hard to make this city and region synonymous with culture and creative talent.”