The Drum (Arts Centre)

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The Drum

The Drum was an intercultural arts centre in the Newtown area of Aston, in Birmingham, England; originally established as the United Kingdom's national centre for Black British and British Asian arts. Activities included music, drama, spoken word, exhibitions, visual arts, comedy and dance.[1]

History[edit]

The Drum occupied the site of the former Aston Hippodrome,[2] which was a major variety theatre between 1908 and 1960. The Aston Hippodrome hosted performances by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Judy Garland and Morecambe and Wise. The building was demolished in 1980, but in 1991 Birmingham City Council set up a project to create a new cultural facility on the site, specifically to reflect the highly diverse culture of the surrounding area.

The Drum started hosting events in 1994, the first being an exhibition called 'Negritude'. In 1996, the singer Cleo Laine accepted a cheque from the National Lottery on behalf of The Drum. The Drum was fully opened in 1998.

In October 2013, during Black History Month, The Drum was visited by then British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was shown around the venue by its CEO Charles Small.[3]

In 2014, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and musician Courtney Pine were made patrons of The Drum, using their influence to help raise funds for a refit of the venue.[4] In 2015, the establishment was approved[5] for its first major renovation and extension since it first opened.[6]

In March 2016, however, the decision was taken liquidate, amid financial troubles.[7][8] The announcement to close was caused outrage among community representatives and residents.[9] Birmingham musician Laura Mvula described the news as "terrible".[10] An online community petition to save the venue from closure was signed by 3,294 people but was unsuccessful in its campaign.

The Drum Arts Centre permanently closed its doors on 30 June 2016.[11]

Facilities[edit]

The Drum had two auditoria, the 350 seat main auditorium and a 120-seat Andy Hamilton Studio, named after saxophonist Andy Hamilton. It also had an exhibition space, a cafe-bar, a business suite and a multimedia production suite.

The venue was also available for private hire.[12]

The Drum was located at 144 Potters Lane, Aston, Birmingham B6 4UU.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "- The Drum". www.the-drum.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  2. ^ "The Hippodrome Theatre, Aston, Birmingham". www.arthurlloyd.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  3. ^ "Birmingham's Drum Arts Centre entering 'wind-down phase'". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  4. ^ "The Drum | Theatre in Birmingham, Birmingham". Time Out Birmingham. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  5. ^ Jones, Tamlyn (2015-06-10). "New future for The Drum as major renovation gets green light". birminghampost. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  6. ^ Jones, Tamlyn (2015-05-06). "The Drum arts centre to undergo major extension". birminghampost. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  7. ^ "The Drum in Birmingham closes amid financial troubles | News | The Stage". The Stage. 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  8. ^ Laws, Roz (2016-06-22). "When is The Drum arts centre closing?". birminghammail. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  9. ^ "Birmingham's Drum Arts Centre entering 'wind-down phase'". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  10. ^ "Closure threat for leading arts centre". BBC News. 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  11. ^ Laws, Roz (2016-04-01). "The Drum arts centre in Aston set to close down after funding crisis". birminghammail. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  12. ^ "- The Drum". www.the-drum.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  13. ^ "- The Drum". www.the-drum.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-10-01.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°29′56″N 1°53′41″W / 52.4990°N 1.8946°W / 52.4990; -1.8946