Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bandstand: Audience feedback from Launch Events

Our Launch events were blessed with sunny afternoons, and we had a great turnout at both. Here are the lovely things people wrote in our comments book after they’d listened to the audios.

Bandstand Audience comments in Guest book

West Park Wolverhampton
Wednesday 10th July 2013

A very enjoyable experience!

Absolute delight. Enchanting performance that had you oblivious to the other happenings in the park. Thank you.

A lovely experience, thanks

An enchanting experience, bringing a historic park feature to life!

My friend and I listened to the man/woman stories which created a sense of tension, unease and finally was very moving and affecting. The first experience of this kind I have taken part it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A delightful interlude in my day.

A lovely story. I much preferred the woman’s story to the man’s as I thought it was more complex and interesting.

Really enjoyed this in beautiful sunshine. Something very moving and thoughtful about the ‘voice experience’. Lovely! Thank you.

Transported to another world. Dreamlike experience. Excellent.

Totally absorbed in the story.

Lightwoods Park, Bearwood
Thursday 11th July 2013

This was so lovely. Will come back again and bring friends too. Excellent!

Amazing! Shame it finished too soon – gripping stories! A great afternoon and my second visit to this park.

I really enjoyed it. It’s excellent. It made the whole park into a kind of set, like a piece of art that was part of the play. Interesting doing the moves – becoming the characters for a moment. Loved the music and blend of different voices. Interesting watching the kids gliding on their bikes right next to where the ice rink was set. Great job!

Intrigued by the play of ‘fact’ and fiction. Sense of different landscapes – real, imagined, absent, hypothetical. Also enjoyed the threads of narrative and collisions with space/time eg frozen ice, broken slats round the bandstand.

Congratulations to all involved. A really enjoyable experience on a beautiful sunny afternoon. I liked the variety of characters and how the narrative unfolded, the integration of local knowledge and history really placed the work in the setting. Nice to be invited to move around and engage with the environment, help to keep you engaged. Will look out for more!

I thought it was great but I didn’t like listening to myself but I loved it I’m gonna come again! MAKE MORE!!

Superb experience, fantastic site-specific audio. Thoroughly absorbing. Enjoyed the natural backgrounds, sounds and rhythms. More please.

Beautifully layered and transporting. Really enjoyed it and impressed how all the voices are sewn together. Will recommend to others! Thank you!

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Sainsbury’s supports Birmingham Hippodrome!

All of us here at Birmingham Hippodrome want to say a massive thank you to the staff and customers at Sainsbury’s Navigation Street Local who have named our education and access projects as their official Charity Partners for 2013/14. All money raised over the next 12 months will help fund the theatre’s assisted performances for […]

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Follow the Rosette for free theatre…

The time is almost here, this Saturday (3 Aug) we host the first Summer in Southside event with a host of FREE performance for all the family from 1pm-7pm. Performances are set to include a high-energy dance performance using supermarket shopping trolleys in a way that you have never seen before, a strolling street band […]

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: A week in Development…

A couple of weeks ago Hannah Lait joined our Development department for a week long work experience placement during a series of very busy events including a special Fundraising Gala. In our latest blog Hannah writes about her experience… I first arrived at the Hippodrome with a warm welcome from both Rosie and Judith who […]

Pentabus Blog: Pentabus Recommends for Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year

We’re not going up to the festival this year as we’re gearing up for our site-specific show IN THIS PLACE here in Shropshire in September, but if you are going, here are some our tips for what to see:


I COULD’VE BEEN BETTER by Idiot Child, a wonderful company who make beautiful, quirky theatre. It’s at the Pleasance Courtyard, is one of Lyn Gardner’s top tips this year, and there’s this fantastic trailer to enjoy:


THREE TO FOUR DAYS has been written and directed by Scott Hurran, who was our Assistant Director on last year’s This Same England. It’s an insightful and theatrical examination of the NHS, and has a built in Rapid Response programme, where audience members and other artists can respond to the issues raised. It’s at theSpace at Surgeon’s Hall on Nicholson Street.


THE EVENTS by David Greig (an ATC production) about crime and communities is at the Traverse as is our very own Tim Price’s I’M WITH THE BAND, directed by our former AD Orla it should be stonking.


The brilliant ONTROEREND GOED have a new show called FIGHT NIGHT – if you’ve never seen their work you must go.



Brad’s on a bit of a hot streak, having had his play, EVEN STILLNESS BREATHES SOFTLY AGAINST A BRICK WALL at the Soho Theatre a couple of months back.  He’s since been taking part in all manner of things at the Open Court season at the Royal Court, and so it’ll be interesting to see this new piece of his. Venue: Pleasance Courtyard


The Paper Birds’ ON THE ONE HAND, tracing the journey from birth to death, is at St Stephens centre.


If you have time catch Inua Ellams and Fuel present THE BLACK T-SHIRT COLLECTION towards the end of august – great spoken word from a talented artist


SANDPITS AVENUE has been written (and performed) by Nathalie Wain, who is from our very own hometown of Ludlow. We saw this production, which is from Boneyard Theatre, when it was performed at Apple Tree towers for the Ludlow Fringe Festival. A great piece and definite must see.


West Midlands based STANS CAFE present THE CARDINALS - a biblical history of the world told in Stan’s Café’s unique visual style


Theatre 0 and the Young Vic present THE SECRET AGENT – a music hall and early cinema inspired chronicle of passion, betrayal and terrorism inspired by Joseph Conrad’s classic novel


And first time West Midlands writer Naomi Said presents THE WEDGE, directed by Theatre Absolute’s Chris O’Connell.  A dynamic one woman thriller that draws you in from its very first few seconds – terrific writing and great physical storytelling by writer/performer Naomi Said.  Catch it at Zoo Southside through most of August


Have a great time all who are going, we are very sad not to be there! Let us know what you saw and what you liked….

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Theatre fun for Young Carers…

Education Officer, Rachel Sharpe writes… Next week we will host our seventh Young Carers week, welcoming young people from across Birmingham and the West Midlands who care for a loved one in their family such as an ill parent or young siblings. This is always a week we very much look forward to in the […]

Capital Theatre Festival: Round-up

20130726-102155.jpg This week has mostly comprised of a whirlwind tour of regional festivals in the sunshine, finding out which theatres have air conditioning. (Mercury Arts Centre – yes, Bristol Old Vic – no). Also, which giant animals happen to be lurking in the foyer (Mercury Arts Centre – giraffe, Bristol Old Vic – Gromit)

The plan is to start building up an overview of Festivals that are happening across the UK, to see how they work with artists and look at the different ways of presenting work. At the moment, I’m also being nosey and wondering what sort of audiences they get – whether it’s a young, hip, industry crowd, or a more general mix of traditional theatre-goers (whatever that might be). Logistically, I’m also looking at the timings and structures of the events – what work gets programmed during the day/ early evening as well as the “normal” 7.30-8pm theatre slot. So basically cribbing ideas and thinking about what could work for Capital in November.

First up this week was Colchester for the Hotbed Festival. I’d never been to Colchester before, so this was a new experience. Same for Hotbed – this was the first time they’d ventured beyond The Junction in Cambridge, embarking on a mini tour of East England venues. They’ve ended up at Soho Theatre this week, if you happen to be around this evening to catch something. The day included readings of new plays by Amanda Whittington and Fraser Grace (convenor of Birmingham University’s MRES in Playwriting), together with two short (20 minute) commissions and two full productions in the evening. The quality of work was exceptionally high, with particular mention to the What’s Up, Doc? strand. Terrible name, but the concept behind it translated into some fascinating and original work. Teaming writers up with “Thought Leaders” and academics, the short commissions explored some fantastically inventive ideas. I only saw two of them (out of six), which is a pity, but I hope they have a further life.

Next up was Manchester for the 24/7 Festival. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year they showcased 11 new plays in venues all across Manchester. Managed to catch four of them, ranging from an energetic one-man show about homophobia in the football industry, to a devised piece exploring society’s addiction to youth. Some strong performances and nice ideas, tempered with a slight sense of under-development. The stand-out piece was Temper by Richard O’Neill, a tight, witty three-hander about a young man struggling to make sense of his life, hampered by an awkward relationship and impromptu visits from the world’s most annoying next door neighbour. The play explores the tipping point between youth and maturity, and how aspiration can turn into suffocation without even realising.

Lastly, I took a punt on Bristol Ferment, an artist development programme from the Bristol Old Vic, is billed as a “mini explosion of new ideas and work-in-progress”. I saw a couple of things last night – Peter and the Wolf (and me) by Nick Young, a reflective, biographical tale of a young boy growing up in 1980s Zimbabwe. Flitting between past and present, the heart of the story lies in a young boy recounting the tale of Peter and the Wolf, via The A-Team and McGuiver. With a strong, charismatic performance and a gradual revelation of the central metaphor, I can see this being successful on the small-scale touring circuit.

Finally, there was a half hour try out of new work from performance poets Jack Dean, Anna Freeman and Christopher Kowalewsky – entertaining stuff, especially Anna. She mentioned she has a show in Edinburgh this year, so that’s one to look out for.

With all the other stuff going on, I ended up missing the Rep Foundry again this week. Hopefully someone will be able to let me know how it went.

If you have, or can recommend any shows or readings coming up in the next few weeks, then now’s the time to let me know. Looking forward to a long summer of sun and theatre, hopefully culminating in the Festival in November. That’s the plan, anyway.

mid * point: Play in a Day Workshops @ the REP

Write Away: Play in a Day workshops

In August Birmingham Rep will run series of free, day long  ‘Play in a Day’ playwriting workshops.

These sessions are designed for anyone aged eighteen and over, who is resident in the West Midlands and would like to be introduced to the basics of dramatic storytelling and write a short play in a day.

These workshops are intended for those with little experience of playwriting who are interested in knowing a little more about how plays work and how one might begin to write. These sessions are one way in which we identify writers to invite onto our longer playwriting programmes but they are mainly intended as an introduction to craft of writing plays.

The workshops will be led by director Jane Fallowfield from 10am – 6pm on the following dates:

Saturday 3rd August

Saturday 10th August

Saturday 31st August

If you are interested in taking part please email with your full name and contact telephone number. Places are limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis.

mid * point: Always fancied having a go at Improv? Now’s your chance!

Finally – an Improv Beginners evening class!
- for the first time ever in Birmingham

- This is your chance to discover the fun and delight of comedy improvisation.

At last, Box of Frogs are thrilled to offer an 8 week beginners’ course starting in October to learn the core skills of improvised comedy.  Discover the joy, freedom and challenge of Improv.  Learn to be more creative and more playful.  Low-pressure, high-enjoyment classes in a fun, friendly,  supportive and stress-free environment.

Complete beginners are welcome. You don’t need any drama, acting, comedy or improv experience whatsoever.  You don’t have to be clever, fast or funny either!   Also good for writers, actors and comedians looking to widen their  skills and boost their confidence.

Improv is not the same as stand-up; you’re not alone on stage and it’s not about telling jokes or being really quick and witty.  It’s about  working together as a team with other improvisers to spontaneously create group stories, scenes & sketches.

Over a course of 8 weekly workshops you’ll progress as a team while learning core improvisation skills like Spontaneity, Listening, YesAnd, Character, Scenes, Story and having fun with improvisation.

Led by Jon Trevor, founder and leader of Box of Frogs

Dates - Thursday nights from October 10th to November 28th
Times - 7.30pm - 9.30 pm
Cost – £75  (Take advantage of the Early Bird price – book before September 8th and pay only £60!)

Blue Orange Theatre
118 Great Hampton Street
B18 6AD

Book your place now on the Blue Orange Website  Places allocated on first come/first served basis.

Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.