Birmingham Hippodrome

Birmingham Hippodrome
Tower of Varieties, Tivoli

Birmingham Hippodrome
Address Hurst Street
Coordinates 52°28′29″N 1°53′51″W / 52.4746°N 1.8976°W / 52.4746; -1.8976
Capacity 1,935 seats
Current use Ballet, Opera, West End shows, Pantomime and Drama
Opened 1895 (1895)

The Birmingham Hippodrome is a theatre situated on Hurst Street in the Chinese Quarter of Birmingham, England.

Although best known as the home stage of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, it also hosts a wide variety of other performances including visiting opera and ballet companies, touring West End shows, pantomime and drama.

The Hippodrome is the venue for West End touring theatrical shows, such as Wicked, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lion King, Mary Poppins and We Will Rock You. The pantomime from the company QDOS is held there annually. Lee Mead, Marti Pellow, Julian Clary, Matt Slack starred in the 2015/16 production of Aladdin, the theatre's most successful pantomime. The theatre's Chief Executive is Fiona Allen.

With a regular annual attendance of over 600,000, the Hippodrome is the busiest single theatre in the United Kingdom,[1] and the busiest venue for dance outside London.[2]


Banner advertising the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome

The first venue built on the Hippodrome site was a building of assembly rooms in 1895. In 1899 the venue was redesigned by local architect F. W. Lloyd, a stage and circus ring was added together with a Moorish tower (removed 1963) and the enterprise named the "Tower of Varieties".[3] After failing, this was soon rebuilt as a normal variety theatre, reopened as the "Tivoli" in 1900, finally becoming "The Hippodrome" under the ownership of impresario Thomas Barrasford in October 1903. The current neo-classical auditorium seats 1,900 and was designed by Burdwood and Mitchell in 1924. Following the construction of the nearby Smallbrook Queensway, the entrance building and tower were demolished in 1963, and a new modern entrance constructed. At the same time, the theatre was renamed 'Birmingham Theatre' for a time. This plain facade was refaced in the 1980s with a mock-Victorian plasterwork, whilst the stagehouse was demolished and rebuilt to accommodate larger shows. The decade also saw the theatre host the Central Television revival of the ITV talent show New Faces, hosted by Marti Caine.

The exterior of the theatre was substantially rebuilt by Associated Architects and Law and Dunbar-Nasmith in 2001, with a new glass facade and accommodation for the Birmingham Royal Ballet and additional performance space.


  1. "Birmingham Hippodrome". The Dance Consortium. Retrieved 2012-09-25.; "Birmingham Hippodrome Achieves Business Continuity with SteelEye LifeKeeper". PRWeb. Menlo Park, CA: Vocus PRW Holdings. 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-25.; "Glenn Howells and Mike Hayes join board of Birmingham Hippodrome". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror Midlands. 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  2. "International Dance Festival Birmingham 2010". Birmingham City Council. 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  3. "Building Stories". Birmingham Hippodrome.


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Birmingham Hippodrome.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.