|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2012)|
|Tower of Varieties, Tivoli|
|Current use||Ballet, Opera, West End shows, Pantomime and Drama|
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.
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". 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. The current production (December 2016) is Dick Whittington.
- "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.
- "International Dance Festival Birmingham 2010". Birmingham City Council. 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
- "Building Stories". birminghamhippodromeheritage.com. Birmingham Hippodrome.
- Pevsner Architectural Guides - Birmingham, Andy Foster, 2005, ISBN 0-300-10731-5
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