Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Cast and Creatives reunite to celebrate 25 years of The Nutcracker

On Friday 27 November 2015 Birmingham Royal Ballet opened its magical production of The Nutcracker once again on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage, 25 years after its world premiere back in 1990. When Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet migrated to the Midlands to become Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sir Peter Wright assembled a stellar creative team to conceive […]

mid * point: Join us for the final Many & Varied Salon for this series – it’ll be a festive extravaganza!

Join us for the final Many & Varied Salon for this series – it’ll be a festive extravaganza!

Where? The Bond Co., Fazeley Street – come to reception and they’ll show you which room we’re in.
When? 1pm to 5pm, Friday December 4th 2015
Who? In cahoots with Leila Johnston.
How much? Free! But you must book a place through Eventbrite.

December Salon – with Leila Johnston and Sinead McDonald

Sinead and Leila will be bringing a selection of their current research to the Salon. Sinead’s time-themed residency in Dublin has her experimenting with clocks and ideas about bodily time – and Leila’s work at London dance company Rambert is seeing her experimenting with digital traces that communicate something beautiful and incidental to the choreography. Both artists work with science and technology, but always use the presence of real humans as their starting point.

Nothing is as it seems: find out how time and the body defy definition and expect to question the arbitrariness of ‘digital’ itself. Share your own ideas, and put your thoughts into action with live experiments with low-fi tech you can play with.

Leila Johnston
Leila and Cthulu

Leila and Cthulu (Image: The Independent)

Since October 2015, Leila has been the first digital artist-in-residence at Rambert, the UK’s leading contemporary dance company.

She works with art and technology, and the fantastical ideas that emerge from them. Since 2013, she has curated and produced a quarterly live show and magazine called Hack Circus, exploring ideas around speculative science, subversive tech, psychology etc in a fun and unique way with a range of experts and performers from the arts and sciences.

Her current residency blog is at

Sinead McDonald

Sinead McDonald is a Dublin based artist, photographer and digital media producer. Her research and practice focuses on issues of authorship and narrative in portraits and images of people, and the creation of identity in online and offline spaces. Her work incorporates new technologies; digital production, web based art and physical computing, alongside photography, video, and historical lens-based processes.

Recent trajectories explore the sciences and collaborative practice, and how using different disciplines can help navigate and illuminate difficult and taboo subjects. She is most interested in how technologies and sciences old and new affect and challenge our perceptions, allow us to tell stories, and, ultimately, explore the most human of desires and yearnings.

Her current residency blog is at

mid * point: #RadicalChildcare

#RadicalChildcare is an initiative to explore, imagine and invest in bold new possibilities for the future of childcare.

Based in Birmingham, we want to work with parents, grandparents, professionals in the sector; commissioners, policy makers, educationalists, serial entrepreneurs and many others to develop and test radical solutions to enable children and families to thrive.

Why childcare matters

Childcare has become unaffordable, inflexible and simply not good enough for too many people. Like housing, it’s one of the issues in modern life that makes families feel trapped, dictating the limits of their working practice and personal relationships. Together we can do better, by exploring new approaches built on trust, flexibility and shared resources. Together we can find out, if it takes a village to raise a child, what this modern village could look like.

Despite pockets of great practice, childcare choices seem dominated by cost and time constraints. We want to look at childcare that can unleash and uplift both children and parents to flourish in a time of rapid change. By adapting childcare to how we live, learn and work we can bring out the best in the city for generations to come.

What are great ways to organise childcare that truly work with how people would like to live? What would radically better childcare enable?

A radical approach

There will never be a single silver bullet to address a systemic challenge like childcare. We aim to host a more optimistic conversation to re-imagine the future of childcare, bringing together lots of people and ideas across public, private and civic life. We hope to deploy financial, social and human capital to help develop imaginative models for future practice. What if, through re-thinking childcare, Birmingham became the best place to raise children, together? What would an amazing Birmingham for children look like in 10 years?

Opening the conversation

We are looking to surface, explore, provoke and share ideas in a space of possibility, curiosity, optimism, and generosity. We’re interested in a wide range of radical solutions to make childcare more accessible, collaborative, creative and flexible, affordable and intergenerational. Whatever your perspective, we’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on twitter using #RadicalChildcare

Be part of #RadicalChildcare

As part of our Open enquiry into the childcare system we are hosting a number of events and activities in order to involve as wide a range of perspectives as possible. If you’d like to share your thoughts or be kept informed of events, join the mailing list


Project Timeline


November 2015 – February 2016

In this period we aim to connect with lots of the doers and thinkers in childcare – from parents to child care professionals, from kids to grandparents, from employers to regulators.

We aim to find out what works, what is broken, where & how amazing innovation is already happening, and what are the ingredients of a radically better future childcare.

We will host a series of events and conversations, debates and blogs, and test some prototypes like Famalam’s coworking crèche; and we will look at the bigger systems surrounding childcare – to understand what change depends on and what bigger outcomes it could enable.

We will also connect with people who have disruptive yet practical ideas or new start-ups in childcare that could solve current problems on seize on bod new opportunities – from better tech solutions to parent-led coops and from intergenerational approaches to informal peer networks.


Feb – April 2016

In this period we will keep working with people with ideas for new ventures that could benefit from our accelerator programme. We will do an open call for ideas and select a cohort of collaborative ventures that will join the childcare accelerator programme to take those ideas forward.


May 2016

We will work with around 10 teams over 4 months to support them as they develop & test their ideas in the real world, supported by a range of experts and importantly by their peers on the cohort. More information on the details of the programme follows in Spring 2016



Aug – Sept 2016

We can invest up to a total of £370,000 in the ideas, projects and ventures of the cohort. We will confirm our investment approach in Spring 2016

#RadicalChildcare is convened by


Incubating early-stage ideas and the talent that could unlock these.


Impact Hub Birmingham is a network of amazing citizens, makers, doers, entrepreneurs, activists and dreamers committed to building a better Birmingham and a better world.


Spaghetti is a team of design-led innovation specialists who work on projects that help build creative confidence in the people to help bring about social change


F A M A L A M stages unusual cultural products, exploring the viability of new ideas in art, entertainment, parenting, play and learning for younger audiences and their families. F A M A L A M was founded by Creative Producer, Amy Martin and her (then) 9 month old son Theo.

​ Amy is a Fellow at Birmingham Open Media and a member of the NearNow Studio. ​


​To join our mailing list and keep in touch with future developments please visit –​


If you would like to arrange a meeting with the team behind #RadicalChildcare please get in touch.

mid * point: RoguePlay Job Opportunity



Part Time Mon Wed Thurs 9.30-5.30pm




RoguePlay Theatre requires an experienced Administrator with proven marketing skills who has the energy and vision to support us through our continuing expansion. They will need to communicate our ethos as a committed pro-active member of the RoguePlay team. Previous experience of an administration and marketing role with a passion for the Arts are required.

RoguePlay is Birmingham’s Highly Physical Theatre Company, producing and performing Circus Theatre. Producing work nationally and internationally, RoguePlay’s work captures new stories through stunning Aerial Circus, Acrobatics, Poetry and Dance. We have an extensive education programme and run regular classes from our own space which we also hire out to other creative companies. This role will also support our Young Rogues who are a group of young people aged 8-19 years, from a variety of backgrounds, performing on stage and in film and TV.

The Company often have various projects running simultaneously as well as the development of the current studio space; The West Midlands Creation Centre. The Administration Assistant therefore will need to be able to support concurrent projects, liaise with Company Directors and Operations Manager and be responsible to them as well as manage the general day to day administrative and marketing tasks.

The candidate MUST have some knowledge of, and engagement with the local arts scene, preferably with some knowledge of circus theatre and contemporary circus. Candidates should be able to demonstrate exceptional organisation skills, efficiency, computer skills and relish a challenge.


Contracted hours are 3 working days per week taking place on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.30am-5.30pm with a one-hour lunch break.

The payment for the role is monthly at £7.20 per hour

There is a 3 month probation period, after which the candidate will be involved in an appraisal and a years’ contract offered.




*Work closely with and assist the Artistic Director and Operations Manager with the day to day administrative and marketing tasks of the Company and deliver results required within agreed timescales and to the highest possible standard.


*Work to, assist in and develop a sound understanding of company systems.


*Ensure that both our artistic and commercial activities are effective by supporting and working with the marketing strategy. .


*Represent RoguePlay to potential collaborators, hirers and partners and be able to deal confidently and accurately with enquiries from the public.


*Support the running of Young Rogues by liaising with young actors, their families and their casting agents.


*Liaise with clients.


*Utilise social media to publicise events and opportunities, to enhance RoguePlay’s profile, increase customer base and maximise income.


*Develop and sustain media connections.


*Distribute publicity material.


*Liaise with hirers for the studio space


* Occasionally work alone and manage space bookings during working hours.


*To operate in accordance with RoguePlay’s employment, Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults, Health and Safety and Equal Opportunities and other practices, policies and procedures.




*Some previous experience in an administrative and marketing role either in creative arts and or/commercial capacity.


*An active interest in and knowledge of the local arts scene.


*Computer literacy in Word, Excel, Publisher, Photoshop and social media channels.


*Excellent communication and time management skills.


*Ability to self plan and often work alone or within a small team.


*Be registered or be prepared to register as self employed and reside locally.


*Prepared to undertake training as required.




*Interest in and enthusiasm for the arts.


*Communication, Negotiation Skills, Co-ordination and Time Management Skills.


*Ability to deal confidently and effectively with a variety of people.




*A specific interest in Circus Theatre.


*Own transport.


*Experience of working with those with disabilities.




Please send a C.V & covering letter with two references to:


Deadline for applications: 5pm on Friday 14th December 2015

Shortlisted for interview by: 16th December 2015

Interviews: Wednesday 13th January 2015


Role commences: Monday 25th January 2016

mid * point: Beatfreaks Opportunity


We’re writing to tell you about a new opportunity we have just made live today.


We’re changing the way we work to be a bit more valuable to the people we work with. We’re whittling down our very loose pool of freelance sessional workers into a core group of 25 facilitators we commit to investing in and working with across 2016. We feel that because our work often crops up last minute, we therefore react last minute often resulting in us asking people we know and trust. Secondly, we are moving into a stage of wanting to really underwrite and ensure quality delivery – this means we want to work with the best and invest in them as a result.


Please have a look through the attached pack and have a nose on the application form.


The application is open until Friday 11th December so you’ll hear back before Xmas. There will be an assessment day on 11th January 2016 for all shortlisted applicants.


We expect to recruit between 15 – 25 facilitators across multiple disciplines, ages and from across Birmingham and West Midlands.


We pay a rate of between  £20ph – £40ph depending on length of workshop and type. This is usually inclusive of travel and prep unless stated.
All applicants must be registered as self-employed, have a UTR and have the right to work in the UK for us to consider the application.

mid * point: Artists on the Edge

Artists on the Edge would like to invite you to ‘After Hours’ this Friday 20th November, when we will be hosting an open studio, revisiting elements of our summer exhibition and enjoying an evening of discussion.

Next year we will be launching a publication in partnership with the Centre for Fine Art Research and we’d really like your views and opinions to help inform it. We’re very pleased to announce Deborah Kermode from Ikon Gallery will be chairing our discussion and joining us as a guest speaker will be Sandra Hall from Friction Arts. We will be exploring the idea of the glass ceiling, and the mechanisms currently in place within the Arts. How do we define/approach/avoid these? And how do we form new methodologies and approaches to artist development, whilst continuing to create careers?

As part of the Open Studio there will be recordings and footage of our work, surround sound music, a talking chair, and other interactive installations. You will also be fed and watered!

Please do RSVP or get in touch with any queries –  we hope you will be able to join us.

Artists on the Edge
After Hours:
2pm onwards: Open Studio
6.30pm: ‘Avoiding the glass ceiling’ Discussion exploring a post-emerging process
The Edge
79-81 Cheapside
B12 0QH

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Our new Creative Programmes Intern Erin says hello!

Hello, I’m Erin, the new Creative Programmes Intern working with the Hippodrome Creative Team until May!  This blog is to let you know a little about me and what I’ve been up to at the Hippodrome so far… I graduated from Hull University in July after a wonderful three years studying Drama & Theatre Practice.  […]

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: With only a few days to go until The Nutcracker opens we bring you six fascinating facts!

With Birmingham Royal Ballet’s magical production of The Nutcracker arriving this Friday, we’ve put together some amazing facts about the production to whet your appetite!  By the end of its 2015 season, Sir Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker will have been performed a total of 429 times here at Birmingham Hippodrome. Before the curtain goes up […]

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Tragic events in Birmingham remembered by Hippodrome visitor as part of our Heritage Project

Following the sad scenes we have all seen unfolding in Paris this week, one of our own Heritage Volunteers Ivan Heard has unearthed a story from Birmingham’s own sad chapter of history. “Today (Sat 21 Nov) will be the 41st Anniversary of the Birmingham Pub Bombings on 21 November, 1974. “In that dark and tragic […]

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: What are the Odds?


Today with the excellent Kate Green I was working with some young people in Birmingham planning a walking adventure in the City Centre on Tuesday. All was going well and as planned we moved on to the Risk Assessment section in which we ask the students to think through what the risks of the trip may be, if these are acceptable and how we mitigate against them. The first risk they thought of was ‘being blown up’. It may have been that they were playing a deadpan game of winding us up. I hope they were. If they were they were playing it very straight and consistent. We played along, to an extent; after all it is a risk.

“Okay do you think that risk, is High, Medium or Low?”
Pause for thought / or for effect – “Medium” I really hope they were winding us up. The risk is crazily low yet this is how the Terror thing works isn’t it, it is terror for a few but for many it is a worry, a concern, a anxiety, a ‘medium risk’.

Shortly after last week’s attack in Paris I heard an interview with someone who was eating in a restaurant near the one that had been attacked. In the kind of slack journalism that I can’t stand this person was asked “Don’t you feel incredibly lucky?” Answer “Yes”. They may have felt lucky but I think that this natural response is mathematically illogical. How many people were there in Paris that night? How many restaurants are there in Paris? How many people had already eaten in that one restaurant already that night and left? How many had booked but had yet to arrive? Surely the truth in pure statistical terms is that you are not ‘lucky’ not to be shot at or be near a bomb when it blows up, you are just most incredibly unlucky if you are.

Maybe Britain is a prime target, maybe Birmingham as one of Britain’s biggest cities is also a prime target, maybe New Street Station as a busy, iconic, transport hub is a prime target within the city but I can virtually guarantee that we will not be shot at or blown up by terrorists on Tuesday. What a terrible situation to be in where I can only say ‘virtually’ and a fifteen year old can even think of saying ‘medium risk’.

I more realistic scenario for us to plan for is how we get the young people back to school if a security alert closes the station down and the city’s taxis get swamped. Even this seems like a low risk with mild consequences mitigated by walking.