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The Birmingham Hippodrome (Birmingham)

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6 Reviews

Hurst Street, Birmingham b5 4tb.

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    6 Reviews
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      12.11.2012 14:35
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      A decent venue for a decent night out.

      One thing I do like about where I live is that both Birmingham and Wolverhampton are within very easy reach via train meaning I have easy access to a good number of venues hosting a varied range of live events. One of these venues I have been to a fair few times is The Birmingham Hippodrome, my most recent visit being last night to see the hilarious Kevin Bridges.

      The Hippodrome is located in Birmingham's city centre and is just a ten minute walk from New Street Train Station (which is pretty much a walk down a straight road, turn left, a walk down another straight road). There are a good number of bus stops around the venue as well as a car park a few minutes' walk away meaning it's an easy place to get to regardless of your method of travel. The downside to the location of this venue is the fact that there are a number of nightclubs surrounding it meaning coming out of the venue late at night usually leads to bumping into one or two dodgy drunken characters! There have been a few occasions when I've been stood outside this place having a cigarette when a woman on her own has asked to stand with me which pretty much sums up how safe this area feels at night!

      Fortunately, The Hippodrome isn't the type of place where you end up stood in a queue outside waiting for doors to open. There are a number of bars and restaurants within the building which tend to open early afternoon meaning if you arrive at the venue an hour or so before the show starts then you can just go inside, sit down and wait. One thing I like about this venue is that I don't recall ever being searched on my way in so I've had no problems taking in bottles of Pepsi and my own nibbles which saves you a fair bit of money.

      Upon stepping inside this huge, glass fronted building you're greeted by a spacious room where a ticket collection desk is located as well as a number of members of staff who will assist you if required. There's a couple of steps which then take you to the first bar area of the venue as well as stair cases leading up to the higher levels of the building and a lift if one should be needed. This area is what I refer to as 'the holding pen'. Littered with tables and soft, red velvet seats, this is where everyone gathers before entering the performance area. There is normally a sign around this area too which informs everyone what the time the performance you're here to see will finish which is a handy bit of information.

      Toilets are easily located wherever you are in the building it seems which is a good job really considering each toilet block only has around ten cubicles within it. Whilst this does mean it's quite easily possible to spend the entire interval at a show waiting for the loo (on one occasion I didn't actually manage to get in until the show had started again) the toilets are at least in a clean and respectable condition constantly. They always smell fresh, are stocked up with toilet roll and hand wash and have modern hand dryers so you're not waiting forever and a day for your washed hands to dry. The sanitary product dispensing machine in the toilets is remarkably cheap as well. I have a strange habit of looking at these things to see where charges the most outrages prices for a tampon for some reason, they're only 40p here!

      When the show is about to start you're taken to your seats in the 1935 seater venue. Seats are in two sections, stalls (ground floor) and middle circle (first floor). The seating is on the middle circle is quite steep and from past experience I'd say if you can't get anything closer than row L in the stalls then you'll probably have a less restricted view up in the middle circle. In fact, unless seats are available in the first five or so rows in the stalls I normally opt for the middle circle as I just find the seats better. Disabled seating is offered on the front row of the middle circle and there are steps leading up to the rest of the rows. I find the seats are comfortable and offer plenty of leg room for me however if you're over 6ft you'll probably spent the evening with your knees touching the seat in front of you up in the middle circle. There are always members of staff on the doors entering the seating area who will help you locate your seats although as long as you're in the right bit (stalls or middle circle) you'll probably be able to work that out for yourself as each row is clearly lettered and each seat clearly numbered.

      Seats are, again, covered in red velvet whilst the white high ceilings offer some lovely engravings and big, extravagant looking golden chandeliers and the inside is just generally very pleasant a little bit posh looking. All seats are obviously facing the decent sized stage which offers a swift moving curtain for non-fuss setting changes during plays and the likes. Lightening here always goes hand in hand with the performance you're watching and I've never experienced a problem with sound in this venue either. In general, it's a good venue which offers an enjoy surrounding to what a, hopefully, enjoyable show.

      The Hippodrome hosts a number of shows from stand-up comedy to ballet, opera, musicals and dance shows. Full listings of upcoming shows can be found on their website www.birminghamhippodrome.com and packages can be often be bought for each show combining three course dinners and show tickets. The venue also has a few box seats which can be bought (at a high price) too.

      All in all, I recommend visiting the Hippodrome for an entertaining night out. Should a show I attend here ever disappoint me it's purely down the show rather than the venue so I never have a problem visiting here and always keep an eye out on their website for new listings which may interest me.

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      25.08.2010 16:38
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      If you can't afford to go to the West End, this is the next best thing.

      Birmingham Hippodrome is the only major theatre that I have attended and I think it's fabulous. I go to see musical productions there once a year, and have done so for the past 3 or 4 years so my review will mainly be based on musical productions.

      As one of the major theatres in the country, all of the big name touring productions always do a run at the Hippodrome. In the past few years, they have been the stage to Cats, High School Musical, Les Miserables, Joseph, The Sound of Music and many more.

      Having never been to the West End, I am still very satisfied with the level of professionalism of the productions held here at Birmingham.

      The theatre itself is located in the city centre of Birmingham, within walking distance of New Street Station and the Bullring Shopping Centre. I have to say that street sign directions can get a little hazy but it shouldn't be too difficult to find your way there.

      I was a little worried when I first went there because I figured it would be difficult to find my way around, but it was definitely not. As soon as you walk in, there is usually a stand at the stand which is selling souvenirs for that particular production. Further up the steps is the reception area. And further on from that, there are clear signs telling you which each section is. A quick look at your theatre ticket should easily guide you the right way.

      There are 2 main sections to the theatre: Stalls and Circle. I personally prefer to be sitting front Circle as I think it gives the best view but some may prefer to be closer to the action by sitting on Stalls. The seats are very comfortable. If I remember correctly, the seats are a furry purple material. Each row is slightly more elevated than the row before, and I think that it is extremely rare to have your view blocked by someone in front of you unless they are very tall. The seats are all very well positioned and there is plenty of leg and arm space.

      Prices tend to vary a lot with each production, and depending on where you sit. Seats with better views are obviously going to require a higher price, but I think it's worth it. I advise people to avoid corner seats because I found out last year that sometime the actors/actresses move into one corner, which means that you can't see them at all. Very frustrating.

      Food can be taken into the theatre although it's hardly the cinema so there are usually more people without food than with. I personally prefer to just buy food and drink during the 20 minute break and consume it within then.

      Overall, a very good theatre which I thoroughly intend to visit for as long as I still live near the area.

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        30.03.2010 17:25
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        I'd go again

        Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a showing of Les Miserables at the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre. I was really impressed, not just with the performance but with the theatre itself as well, and so I thought it deserved a review!

        The theatre is situated in the centre of Birmingham and is easily arrived at by car by following the signs to Theatres or City Centre. You can park in various places, including a car park at the Arcadian Centre which is literally a few feet away. We parked in the multi-storey car park on Pershore Street which was about a four or five minute walk away and very easy to find. It cost around £2.50 for a full evening's parking which I thought was very good value.

        If you are arriving by public transport then you can easily get a bus, or if you take the train to New Street Station you will find it to be only a short walk from there. Obviously taxis can drop you right by the theatre!

        The theatre is really well equipped for food. There are two restaurants and a bar in the theatre itself, although these have quite high prices and didn't look particularly special. Next door to the theatre is a Chinese restaurant and a few feet away is the Arcadian centre with a choice of Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Latin American restaurants, many of which feature cheap set meals and pre-theatre options. So you really are spoilt for choice with dining options!

        Inside the building, the lobby areas and stairs are very modern and attractive which is probably due to the recent refurbishment. There are bars or food and drink kiosks on each floor for use before the performances or during the intervals.

        The theatre itself is very nice. The chairs are comfortable and not too narrow, and although there is not a massive amount of leg space I have definitely been in theatres with less! There is a stalls area and a large circle area, plus a few private boxes which can be hired for a price!

        We sat at the very back of the theatre, on the back row where the cheapest seats are, and our view was still good. The stage wasn't obstructed at all and although we were too far back to distinguish facial expressions, we saw everything else very well. So I would say if those were the cheapest seats then the view from the more expensive ones would probably be excellent!

        I only spoke to a couple of staff within the theatre but found them to be smiling and very helpful, so I have no complains there. The only problem with the theatre was that the toilets were a bit limited and I had to queue for around ten minutes during the interval. There seemed to be four women's toilet cubicles on the top floor which wasn't really enough.

        The theatre runs all sorts of shows including ballets, comedy, musicals, opera and dance shows. Musicals are my favourite and coming up in the next few months are performances of Blood Brothers, Hairspray, The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, so there's certainly a good array of shows planned. Tickets tend to range from around £17 for the cheaper seats to around £50 for the best seats, although boxes will cost more if you wish to hire them.

        I would recommend this theatre because of its excellent location, the ease of access, the food options available nearby and the pleasant atmosphere and level of comfort inside. For more information or to book tickets, you can visit the Hippodrome's website which is extensive and informative.

        I hope this was helpful and has encouraged anyone who lives nearby to attend a performance here!

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          04.11.2008 21:56
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          The best place in Birmingham to see shows!

          Birmingham Hippodrome

          My earliest memories of Birmingham Hippodrome are as a child. My mum would take me every year to see the Christmas pantomine. It was an exciting time. As a child it was a special place, where everything seemed big, exciting and luxurious. High ceilings, engravements on the walls and exciting shows to watch. It was like a palace to me back then, with the big curtains to the stage and the deep colours of thick carpets, and seats. We'd always take lots of sweets and l can never really remember a time where we were disatisfied with the show.

          I must admit l have a particular preferance towards musicals. So when ever a musical comes round to Birmingham l am drawn to go and see them. There are several theatres in Birmingham, but l have to admit the hippodrome is my favourite. Its such a lovely building which really makes your experience so much better.

          The Hippodrome is located in central Birmingham, on Hurst street.
          In 2001 there was a major redevelopment which cost over 35m.
          I am sure this has made for an even better experience, but l can honestly say that the hippodrome has remained with its character and is much the same as l remember it as a child.
          Newstreet station is nearby and the theatre is easily located by car with lots of nearby carparking.
          For more information on directions visit the website at
          www.birminghamhippodrome.com
          You can buy tickets online where you can choose your seats or you can ring on 0844 338 5000 or even go into the theatre to buy tickets.
          Booking online is so easy and convenient just be aware that you have to pay a booking fee, which can add quite a bit to the ticket price, lm sure this applies when you phone to book too, although l usually book online because its so convenient.

          There are always plenty of shows available, some of the shows l have seen are blood brothers, Fame and grease. All of which l have loved. Every show l have been to has been high quality, with good sounds and sets on stage.
          There is a bar and a place to buy snacks. The toilets are clean and the whole place is generally clean.

          The theatre is on two levels, bottom and top. The way it is layed out means l think you would struggle to be seated somewhere you wouldnt be able to see, however l do prefer to be closer to the front, but of course you pay the extra for this.
          Ticket prices arent exactly cheap, but l think they are pretty much average to other venues.
          There are usually several showings a day too, so if your trying to cut costs you can do this by going at different times of the day.

          I will continue to visit the hippodrome, for its great experience, its easy to reach location and its high quality shows.
          ________________________________________________
          I recommend you visit the website, which as noted earlier is
          www.birminghamhippodrome.com.!

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            01.09.2008 23:14
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            Superb performances, great staff can not fault

            Have gone to shows here since I was a child must have gone at least 15 times over the years! Its ideally located in the centre of Birmingham just a short walk from New Street station, bus stops as well as having a car park a few mins walk away as well as taxis on the corner of Hurst St.

            The seats are comfortable and spacious. I have sat in all different areas of the circle and stalls and can honestly say you get a good view from everywhere. The two most recent shows I have gone to were Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Aladdin both were amazing and could not fault any part of the experience. I have booked up tickets to this years Christmas show of Robin Hood with John Barrowman and intend on getting some for next summers show of We Will Rock You.

            The car park for the Hippodrome is not too expensive but is a nightmare to get out of after the show. Firstly I would pre pay as the queue after is very long but even that does not save you much time in getting out if you park on the bottom floor! The queue of cars to get out can take ages, I was unfortunate last time in arriving later than I had in the past and parking on the bottom floor and it took me over an hour once I had got back into my car to get out of the car park!

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            21.07.2000 22:21
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            The Birmingham Hippodrome- the 'Old Lady' of Hurst Street- built in 1899 is currently closed for major refurbishment thanks in no small part to a rather hefty £29.3 million lottery grant. This money will be used to transform the exterior of the theatre into a magnificent glass-fronted structure that will dominate the skyline. This is a joint venture between the Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the DanceXchange and the new three-storied building will feature a massive dance studio, a dedicated dance injury centre and a small studio theatre with a capacity of 200 or so. There will also be an all day cafe to chill out in, several bars and a more open-plan interior with much improved access for disabled patrons. The good news for purists is that the Hippodrome's auditorium will remain sacrosanct except for a much needed reupholstery of the seating and the removal of most of the restricted view box seats. The already huge stage will be increased in proportion, as will the orchestra pit. The upshot of these changes is that Birmingham will have a truly world-class venue for live theatre to rival anything in London. Peter Tod, the theatre director, has already announced that Miss Saigon will be amongst the first shows to grace the next stage in the summer of 2001. The theatre is due to re-open beween March-May 2001 with the Birmingham Royal Ballet performing the world premiere of Arthur Part II, the brain-child of Artistic Director David Bintley and based upon the Arthurian Legends. If you are interested in any of the forthcoming productions in the new theatre or would like to learn more about the Hippodrome's fund-raising 'Name a Seat' programme then please dial 0121 689 3000 for further information. UPDATED 24/4/01 The Theatre is now due to re-open on September 11 due to some technical hitches with the massive building project. I have been on a tour of the new site already and can honestly say that the Birmingham H
            ippodrome will rival any venue in the country for entertainment and facilities. Once the building is complete and the forthcoming attractions are announced (and I can guarantee there are some real corkers!), then Birmingham will finally be able to boast a theatrical venue of truly world-class standard. Check out www.hippodrome.ws for all the latest news.

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