Birmingham Hippodrome West Midlands | Visit Birmingham | Black Country Nostalgia

Birmingham Hippodrome

Hurst Street, Birmingham B5 4TB, England

The Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the great success stories of the arts scene in Birmingham. It attracts over half a million visitors each year which makes it amongst the top most popular theatres in the world and a must see day or night destination.  It's perfectly situated in the heart of a lively area. The theatre restaurant serves delicious food, the service is really fast, the staff are attentive and helpful so you can make it one stop destination for a while and relax. It's not a massive venue, which is great and it feels cosy, inviting and warm.

This venue is a credit to Birmingham with amazing acoustics and a level of production that will blow your mind. It was opened as the Tivoli early 1900s and has a amazing neoclassical auditorium which was added a slightly later date and seats 1900. Over the years the old facades have been removed and replaced with modern functional  versions but once inside it still feels opulent and special, if you are planning a visit to Birmingham put this on the to do list. In the past the theatres been hosting major west end shows Starlight Express, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cats and Mary Poppins.

The theatre runs many vital projects encouraging schools and colleges to get involved. The company is a non profit organisation and encourages sponsorship from the likes of the art council and the Birmingham business community. It's also known as the home To the Birmingham Royal Ballet and current Artistic Director, David Bintley. The theatre also works with the Welsh National Opera, Culture Central, DanceXchange and The Movement which teams up with the countries leading dance venues The Lowry in Manchester and Sadlers Wells in London to bring innovative dance talent to life.

From festivals and shows to workshops and gala dinners, there’s something for all tastes. At the time of the summer holidays could go see Annie The Musical or get some summer lovin and go watch Grease. Take a workshop on pantomime and see the Gruffalo doing Drama & Storytelling. You can take Behind The Scenes Tours and hear some fascinating stories from the guides, this place has been arts and entertainment central for a while and has some remarkable facts.

Whatever you choose to do you can be guaranteed great production, comfortable seating and very reasonable prices. Sometimes the ques can be a bit of a pain during interval but nothing major. There is also fantastic wheelchair access  with adaptive seating and plenty of staff on hand to help. 

Getting to the Hippodrome is fairly easy.
New Street station is literally over the road and there's plenty of parking available in the nearest car park at the back of The Arcadian Shopping Centre. If you fancy a drink after the show walk onto Hurst Street there's plenty of lively bars and clubs around this area so you wont be stuck for choice. You are also in the middle of Birmingham's Chinatown so prepare for the mouth-watering aromas emanating from the many restaurants here.


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The Telegraph

Peter Donnelly's prize-winning essay offers a brilliant example of how local, and often unprepossessing, backgrounds can provide the material for an outstanding colour story. All his photographs were taken within a few miles of his home in Birmingham, Brierley Hill, at Blackheath, Bilston and Cradley Heath. He took them over a period of several months while on weekend walks along the deserted banks of the local canals. "Most evenings I never met a soul," Mr Donnelly recalls. "There was an air of isolation, and often desolation, over the whole scene, and this is what I have tried to capture in my photographs." The camera used was a Pentakon F and the film Agfa and Kodachrome.
by Dr Carl Chinn MBE
Peter Donnelly was born in Birmingham, educated at Corpus Christi junior school, Stechford and later at the holy rosary, Saltley. While at the Holy Rosary he took and passed a drawing examination for Moseley school of art at which he spent several years tuning his artistic talent.

On leaving the art school he joined Birmingham printers, Sam Currier & Son in brook street, St Pauls square, as an apprentice commercial artist. After completing his apprenticeship he left Sam Currier and worked at various printers and advertising agencies gaining valuable experience before starting with his working associate Bob Burns (typographer). Donnelly Burns Graphic Design studio was in Chapel Street, Lye before moving to larger premises in Cradley heath then Harborne.

Before starting the business Peter entered and won the Sunday Telegraph national photographic competition. He submitted an essay of photographs illustrating the demise of the Birmingham and Black Country canals with fellow photographer Norman Fletcher. To Peter and Norman, Midlands photographers and photographic societies seemingly had ignored the once great industrial arena that surrounded their everyday lives.

What an arena! what powerful exiting subjects for the camera; neglected canals, weed and web woven towpaths, old worn out narrow boats – redundant and half submerged in silted murky brown waters; steam trains rattling, hissing and bumping their waggons into line and the rail men who worked the line at that time.

Old foundries, run down factories and scrapyards – the industrial flotsam of a once great manufacturing region. Many six o’clock early morning starts were walked and many miles covered by Peter and his camera.

Now over 60 years later, photographs taken during those early excursions are being published - looking back at the time, long before the surge of change and reconstruction 1962 - 1965