Blockbusters celebrate Birmingham Hippodrome’s 120th anniversary

Published: 24 August 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Sassy story of Henry VIII's wives: SIX Credit: Idil Sukan

The musical phenomenon SIX, The Phantom of the Opera and a new production of Sister Act and are among the attractions as Birmingham Hippodrome continues its 120th anniversary celebrations.

SIX, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s musical about Henry VIII and his wives, visits Birmingham for the first time from 21 until 25 July 2020. It will be followed by The Phantom of the Opera, which will haunt the Hippodrome from 29 July until 12 September.

Brenda Edwards will appear in a new production of Sister Act, produced by Whoopi Goldberg, from 15 until 26 September.

Fiona Allan, the Hippodrome’s artistic director and chief executive, said, “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 new piece from Hippodrome associate Rosie Kay.

“I’m particular excited about new shows on sale like Whoopi Goldberg’s new production of Sister Act and the sensational SIX which tells a very different and much sassier story of Henry VIII’s many wives.”

Other musical blockbusters include Priscilla Queen of the Desert (13 until 18 April), We Will Rock You (20 April until 2 May), MAMMA MIA! (12 until 30 May), the return of Les Misérables (30 June until 18 July) and Blood Brothers (30 September until 12 October).

October 2019 marks Birmingham Hippodrome’s official 120th birthday. There will be a range of free performances and workshops honouring the theatre’s origins as a circus.

The circus will return to its Birmingham roots in the main auditorium as Circus 1903 (25 October until 2 November) comes to the city for the first time direct from a sell-out run at London’s Southbank Centre.

Continuing the Hippodrome’s reputation as “a hub for the best in dance from across the globe”, South Africa choreographer Dada Masilo presents her re-imagining of the classic Giselle on 15 and 16 October.

International ballet superstar Carlos Acosta and his Cuban company Acosta Danza perform a new programme on 11 and 12 November before he takes up his appointment as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in January 2020.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Royal Ballet, which is resident at the Hippodrome, stages its timeless productions of Giselle (25 until 28 September), The Nutcracker (22 November until 14 December) and Swan Lake (18 until 29 February) as well as an Autumn Mixed Bill (19 until 21 September) and Carlos Acosta’s version of the Cervantes-inspired comedy Don Quixote (19 until 27 June), marking the first UK performances of the production outside London.

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes (11 until 15 February) returns to Birmingham after two sell-out seasons in 2016 and the Hippodrome will co-produce Message in a Bottle (8 until 11 April) with Sadler’s Wells and The Lowry, a new production choreographed by Kate Prince and set to the hits of Sting.

The Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio has announced a new season of “bold, creative” work. Hippodrome associate Rosie Kay premières her work Fantasia on 25 and 26 September, Genius is a double bill by Anjali Dance Company (19 and 20 November) and Ad Infinitum returns with Extraordinary Wall of Silence (22 and 23 January), a new production combining the company’s trademark physical storytelling with sign language.

The full programme is available at the Birmingham Hippodrome web site.