Tag Archives: News

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: In rehearsal with SHREK The Musical…

A host of fairytale characters are coming to life in a secret rehearsal room not so far, far away… The big, bright and beautiful UK tour of Shrek – the Musical opens tomorrow night in Leeds, and we thought we would bring you a sneaky few shots from the rehearsal room ahead of opening night… […]

mid * point: Islands (or how to play dirty and get away with it…) sharing and support

The Bush Theatre and Caroline Horton and Co with China Plate present
Islands (or how to play dirty and get away with it…)
Commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre
Hello Everyone,

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the China Plate Facebook and Twitter feeds then I’m sure you’ve already heard about Caroline Horton’s Kickstarter campaign for her new play Islands (Or how to play dirty and get away with it).

Islands will push beyond the headlines, exploring the world of tax havens, off-shore finance and global greed to really uncover the hidden impact of this murky world.

This is a subject we really care about and are passionate about raising awareness and making change happen through this show.

At the moment, we’re having a little difficulty getting word of our campaign out beyond the traditional channels and theatre networks. If you can support, or help by sharing the campaign online, via Facebook and Twitter then we’ll hopefully be able to engage the widest network possible.

Caroline’s previous show You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy was nominated for a 2013 Olivier Award and won the Best Solo Performer at The Stage Awards (2010) and Mess won Best Ensemble at the Stage Awards (2012).

“Comes perilously close to genius and announces Horton as a major, major talent”
Time Out on Caroline Horton’s Mess

Click below to see a bit more about Mess.

Fuelled by a fantastic creative team including Director Omar Elerian (Bush Associate Director) and Designer Oliver Townsend and incredible co-producers including Warwick Arts Centre and the Bush Theatre we all have huge ambitions for this show.

We’re aiming to raise an additional £5000 to support the final stages of development and to enable us to book a tour for the piece after it premieres at The Bush next February. We want to give as many audiences as possible the opportunity to engage with Islands nationally and internationally.

We’re still a little way from our goal with the campaign ending in 7 days so we really do need your help. Visit the Kickstarter Campaign page to find out more about the piece, check out what rewards are on offer for your pledges and be part of making change happen.

If you could share the campaign as far and wide as possible we’d really appreciate it!

Thank you for all of your support so far.

The China Plate team

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Press Night Pics…

Last Thursday (10 July) the magical West End musical WICKED played to a sensational Press Night turning the theatre Emerald with a dazzling standing ovation and sparkling celebrations. Take a look at images from the official opening night below… #BHwicked   Tagged: Press Night, Wicked, Wicked the Musical

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Wicked flies in!

“We couldn’t be happier!” Last night saw our first night with the smash hit musical, WICKED – opening to a full standing ovation and rave audience reviews. Tonight, we are set to make the building emerald with a glittering press night as Birmingham’s media and VIP’s are transported to the land of OZ… Comment in […]

The Drum - The UK’s Premier Intercultural Arts Centre - Book Online or Call 0121 333 2444: Simmer Down is Boiling Up! Sun 20 July @ Handsworth Park

It’s almost time! Are you ready for an unforgettable day of music, arts, craft, culture and celebration with some of the best local and international talent Birmingham has to offer? Then make sure you join us for the free Simmer Down Festival 2014 on Sun 20 July in Handsworth Park, proudly presented in association with Birmingham Mind and Time To Change 

It’s shaping up to be an amazing day, with all acts for our Main Stage and Time To Change Stage confirmed and ready to party! As part of The Drum’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations, this year’s line-up is a real homecoming for the music that put Birmingham on the map.

International Reggae Legends and Handsworth locals Steel Pulse will be hitting the Main Stage at 6pm, following master of Ragga Fusion Apache Indian and his band Reggae Revolution at 4:45pm. Before that, chart-topping Birmingham Reggae band Musical Youth will start heating the evening up at 3:45pm, following a whole day of music from across the city. There’ll be performances from Aston Performing Arts Academy, Kezia Soul, Diego Flex, Rose Capri and The Superskas, and the specially commissioned Simmer Down Big Brass Mash-Up – You won’t find a line-up like it anywhere else in the world! (See below for full listings).

The fun continues with home-grown Birmingham talent on the Time To Change Stage – dynamic dance from Ace Dance and Sticky Toffee, music from Afro Mio and Jam Tidy, and special sessions from Young Gifted Brum, Simmer Down Schools Holly Head and Alum Rock, and a very special showcase from proud festivals sponsors Birmingham Mind and Time To Change. There’s something for everyone, so make sure you don’t waste a minute! (See below for full listings).

There’ll also be fun throughout the Park with arts and craft activities, education workshops, face painting, and a belly-busting range of food stalls serving up delicious treats from across the city.

It’s going to be an amazing day, so make sure you don’t miss the biggest and best free party of the year – In the words of Steel Pulse, it’s a “Handsworth Revo-Revo-Revolution!” Remember, we want to keep Handsworth beautiful, so help us to help “Keep It Clean” this year – pick up your rubbish and respect the grounds!

To find out more about Simmer Down 2014, call our Box Office on 0121 333 2444, and make sure to follow us on Twitter @SimmerDownFest with hashtag #SimmerDown14.

Main Stage:

12:30pm – 12:45pm
Simmer Down Original Dishes: Big Brass Mash-Up

Coventry Brass band collides with a bhangra reggae flava.

12:55pm – 1:15pm
Aston Performing Arts Academy

UK’s first Urban Glee – Heavenly harmonies and sensational lead vocals with high end choreography.

1:25pm – 1:45pm
Kezia Soul

Birmingham’s Neo-Soul Jazz Funk Pioneer with a full backing band.

1:55pm – 2:15pm
Diego Flex

Contemporary dancehall on a conscious tip back by the Mighty Vibes band.

2:25pm – 2:55pm
Rose Capri

Uplifting vocals from one of Birmingham’s finest Lovers Rock performers.

3pm – 3:30pm
The Superskas

Energetic Ska classics guaranteed to get you up on your feet!

3:45pm – 4:30pm
Musical Youth

Birmingham’s very own chart topping ‘Pass the Duchies’ sensations.

4:45pm – 5:30pm
Apache Indian backed by Reggae Revolution

The Don Rajah of Ragga fusion backed by Birmingham’s stellar musicians. Boom Shakalaka!

6pm – 7:30pm
Steel Pulse

Grammy Award winning International Reggae Revolutionaries comes home to Handsworth!

Time To Change Stage:

12:30pm – 12:45pm
Simmer Down Schools: Holly Head

Holly Head’s dancers deliver Hot Moves and Cool Shapes to kick off the Stage in style.

12:45pm – 12:55pm
Drum About Brum

Bangin’ Beats and Pieces from Brum’s finest drumming group.

12:55pm – 1:05pm
Ace Dance

Leading innovative dance company ACE showcase their youth programmes’ rising stars.

1:05pm – 1:15pm
Drum About Brum

More beats from Brum’s best.

1:15pm – 1:30pm
Young Gifted Brum

The Drum’s Youth programme invite you to the stage for a vocal adventure.

1:30pm – 1:40pm
Simmer Down Schools: Alum Rock Youth Group

Alum Rock’s young creatives deliver insightful lines and slick rhymes.

1:40pm – 1:55pm
Sticky Toffee Dance

Sticky Toffee Dance showcase the dance stars of the future.

2pm – 3:50pm
Birmingham Mind

A special showcase performance from our proud festival sponsors Birmingham Mind and Time To Change.

4pm – 4:20pm
Afro Mio

Rhythmic conga, melodious African guitar, and rich vocals in five languages!

4:30pm – 5:15pm
Jam Tidy

Gypsy-Swing-Reggae-Hip Hop mash-up to close the show in style.

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The Drum - The UK’s Premier Intercultural Arts Centre - Book Online or Call 0121 333 2444: Calling All Journalists! Get Your Simmer Down Press Pass!

Are you a blogger, Youtuber, Tumblr or Tweeter following the Music and Festivals scene in Birmingham? Want the chance to cover Simmer Down Festival 2014, Birmingham’s biggest free family music festival of the Summer, and team up with The Drum to share your work? Then this is for you…

We will be making a limited number of Press Passes available to budding journalists interested in covering the festival on Sun 20 July in Handsworth Park.

Take photos, record video, interview the crowd and performers, live blog or Tweet and Post – whatever you do, you’ll have a chance to meet artists, soak up the sunshine and really get into the festival spirit, then work with us to share it!

Any interviews, videos or photographs of the day will be shared with The Drum and made part of the Simmer Down Festival Archive, helping us to document that day, giving you great exposure for your work, and a great experience covering live events.

Think you’ve got what it takes to get a great story and celebrate Simmer Down? Then get in touch! DM us on Social Media, call 0121 333 2420, or email n.lunt@the-drum.org.uk with some info on what you can do. We’ll be in touch with the successful applicants by Fri 11 July. Good luck, and hope to hear from you soon!

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The Drum - The UK’s Premier Intercultural Arts Centre - Book Online or Call 0121 333 2444: Afrovibes Festival 2014 comes to The Drum and mac birmingham, Mon 20 – Sun 26 Oct

On the 20th anniversary of democracy  in South Africa, Afrovibes Festival returns to Birmingham. The biennial festival, which celebrates the performing and visual arts of South Africa, made its UK debut in 2010, and is poised to return for a third, highly entertaining and thought-provoking four week season from Mon 13 Oct to Sat 8 Nov 2014. This year Birmingham will be hosting events and performances at The Drum and mac birmingham from Mon 20 to Sun 26 Oct.

Featuring an eclectic, contemporary programme of theatre, dance, music, song, photography and film, the fifty-strong festival ensemble will consist of individual theatre and dance companies from all over South Africa with actors, dancers, directors, playwrights, choreographers, musicians, singers … and one photographer.

The Drum and mac birmingham will host a full week of performances and events, giving audiences a unique opportunity to enjoy a diverse programme of quality work including political drama, astonishing real life stories, stunning contemporary dance, great music, film and photography.

In addition, both venues will host a Township Cafe where visitors can enjoy typical South African food and drink while taking in music, poetry, talks and free pop-up performances by local artists as well as Afrovibes performers.

Mukhtar Dar, Director of Arts & Marketing at The Drum, said: “Birmingham has a long and endearing associated with South Africa, which is reflected in the extensive links amongst our artists, musicians and activists and more recently the Drum’s Nelson Mandela tribute was attended by hundreds of people from across Birmingham’s diverse communities. As the UK’s premier intercultural art centre, The Drum is proud to be once again hosting the Afrovibes Festival and especially to be working in partnership with mac Birmingham, building in past success to deliver a truly unique cultural experience across both venues.”

Louisa Davies, Performing Arts Producer at mac birmingham added: “Audiences across both our venues will have a great opportunity to enjoy a slice of contemporary theatre, music and dance, with performances that echo the energy and positivity of the new South Africa, informed by past struggles. Afrovibes promises to offer an exciting eclectic mix of events that will engage and amaze in equal measure. We look forward to sharing the programme with audiences across the West Midlands this autumn alongside The Drum.”

Artistic Director James Ngcobo, who is also Artistic Director of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg says: “In 1994 a new nation was born.  Since then our artists have been showing the world that South Africa has stories to tell: stories that speak to the collective memory of who we are.  Yet at the same time they speak of life in South Africa today – stories that link us with the world.”

Afrovibes Producer and UK Arts International Director Jan Ryan says: “2014 is an important year for South Africa, marking as it does the 20th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections. We are absolutely delighted that Afrovibes will once again be coming to the UK to commemorate this event.”

For more information on Afrovibes at The Drum, call our Box Office on 0121 333 2444, or visit www.the-drum.org.uk, Like on facebook at Afrovibes and follow on Twitter @Afrovibes with #afrovibes


Afrovibes is more than just a show. The Township Café at each venue provides the hub for creative work by local organisations and other professional performances as well as opportunities for people to participate.

The Drum is offering young people the chance to get up close, learn, and become part of the festival through free schools and youth education outreach programmes. This includes free workshops, education opportunities and performance opportunities. If you are a teacher or youth group leader interested in getting involved, contact The Drum on 0121 333 2444.

The Drum

Biko’s Quest
Thu 23 Oct, 7:30pm

Tickets: £10.50 (£8.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £8.50 (£6.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Inspired by the Steve Biko Foundation’s photographic exhibition, The Quest for a True Humanity, Biko’s Quest is an energetic large-cast dance piece about the world famous anti-apartheid activist and Black Consciousness Movement founder’s life and sudden death in 1977 (aged 29) while he was in police detention.

“It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die”Steve Biko

Directed by Mandla Mbothwe

Choreography by Jackie Manyaapelo, Ina Wichterich-Mogane and Mzo Gasa

Fri 24 Oct, 7:30pm

Tickets: £8.50 (£6.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £7.50 (£5.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Mamela tells the remarkable stories of eight young women, the ‘born free’ generation, from the Eastern Cape, living in post-apartheid South Africa. They tell their own moving stories through words, song and dance and talk about the dreams they have for themselves, their country, and the future.

Sat 25 Oct

Tickets: £12.50 (£10.50)
Earlybird Tickets: £7.50 (£5.50), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Presley Chweneyagae, star of the 2006 Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, leads a company of five actors in this play by Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom, a wickedly insightful exploration of the art of persuasion using some of the most famous speeches of Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa in 1999.

mac birmingham

The Soil
Mon 20 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Soweto’s award-winning, platinum-selling beatbox a cappella group combine an eclectic mix of township jazz, hip hop and Afro-pop.  The trio – Buhle (Soil Sister), Ntsika (Fana-tastic) and Phindo (Master P) – met at school in 2003, and their infectious music has taken them all over the world.

The Sid Peacock Youth Ensemble (mac Associate Artist funded by Arts Council England) will also perform as part of the opening night event.

Tue 21 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

In January 2008, in Skierlik, west of Pretoria, 17 year-old Johan Nel went on a racially motivated shooting spree killing four people and wounding eight.  The massacre had tragic effects on those left behind. Skierlik, a solo show written and performed by award-winning playwright Phillip M Dikotla, is the story of one man returning to the scene of the carnage.

Rainbow Scars
Wed 22 & Thu 23 Oct, 8pm

Tickets: £12 (£10)
Earlybird Tickets: £10 (£8), available until 5pm, Sun 5 Oct

Written by Mike Van Graan, one of SA’s most incisive playwrights, Rainbow Scars starts in 1994 in the new Rainbow Nation, the term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe post-apartheid South Africa.  Lindiwe is a black teenager who has been adopted by white parents and is forced to confront her racial identity when contacted by a long lost cousin.

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The Drum - The UK’s Premier Intercultural Arts Centre - Book Online or Call 0121 333 2444: The Beat Goes On – Exciting Future Ahead for The Drum

The Drum is delighted to announce the confirmation of our status as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) for another three years, and have taken another step to securing Strategic Funding for our amazing Raising The Roof campaign!

As an NPO, The Drum will continue to receive Arts Council funding up until 2018, allowing us to continue to nurture young talent through our YGB activities, support local artists and engage communities through our arts outreach programmes, and continue to programme professional international touring work in Music, Theatre, Comedy, Literature, Dance, Film and Visual Arts. Prime Minister David Cameron himself endorsed the work we do and wished us the very best for the future when he visited The Drum recently, and the Arts Council’s backing further acknowledges our vital role as the UK’s premier intercultural arts centre.

Even more excitingly, The Drum has made it to Stage Two of Strategic Funding to assist with our ambitious Raising The Roof programme.

Raising The Roof will redesign and upgrade our venue, facilities and equipment to state-of-the-art standards, including…

“Raising The Roof” to increase the capacity of the Auditorium by 30%; seating from 350 to 478 and standing from 750 to 1000
• Renewing and refurbishing all spaces, mechanical and electrical equipment, including a new lift, to improve accessibility and usage
• Improving and upgrading our services and facilities for young people working in Digital Arts, Dance, and Drama

“It is with very great pleasure that we can announce today that The Drum has been awarded NPO status by Arts Council England. This will facilitate the long term sustainability of The Drum, and allow us to offer an outstanding programme of international performing arts within the heart of the local community.”Professor Mick Durman, Acting Chair of The Drum

“To again be recognised by the Arts Council as an NPO is a fantastic tribute to the work of the staff, the talents of the many and varied artists who perform, and the support of all those who visit The Drum, as we move forward in providing premiere art and culture in the heart of the community.”Sharon Palmer MBE, Drum Trustee

“We are delighted to once again be selected by Arts Council England as an NPO, and will continue bringing our audiences and community great arts. We are also thrilled about the Stage One Pass, bringing us closer to actualising Raising The Roof and transforming The Drum into an all-purpose arts centre for the future.” – Charles Small, CEO of The Drum

The Drum thanks everyone who has helped make this great news possible, and especially our dedicated audiences, whose support proved the need and demand for us to provide excellent art and culture opportunities.

To learn more about Raising The Roof, and to get involved with our plans for the future, follow the link!

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The Drum - The UK’s Premier Intercultural Arts Centre - Book Online or Call 0121 333 2444: Pantomime Production Vacancy

Production/Theatre Company for The Drum Seasonal Pantomime

The Drum is seeking a professional production company to create ‘Birmingham’s Intercultural Panto’ capable of bringing together and entertaining the cities diverse audiences. We would like the show to link to the city’s local stories, and engage a community cast.  We are seeking professional practitioners that can produce a family pantomime with wide casting appeal.

A number of visiting companies have presented pantomimes at The Drum before. These have been targeted specifically at our Jamaican audience. This year, we are seeking to commission a Panto that is unique, innovative, reaches our wider audiences and generates Box Office income. This year will be a pilot that we aim to build on in the future.

The contract is for 4 performance days with an option to extend through a Box Office split if demand is high. To meet our requirements we are looking to award the full provision of a pantomime where the successful tenderer is fully responsible for all aspects of the production which includes the following:

•Schedule (Rehearsals etc.)


•Set & Costumes


•Lighting & Sound

•Choreography and Dancers




•Stage Management

•Marketing & Publicity

The fee £10,000 inclusive

To apply please email v.ryansmith@the-drum.org.uk for an application pack

Deadline for applications Mon 21 July 2014

For more information please contact:

Martin Cox
Programme and Arts Manager
The Drum
0121 333 2425

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The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Oz comes alive at the Giant Screen…

This Sunday (29 June) the beloved family classic, The Wizard of Oz will be screened at Birmingham’s incredible Giant Screen at Millennium Point. The colossal 72 foot screen will bring the ever-popular  1939 film to magical life in a way you have never seen before – PLUS we have a very special giveaway for those […]