Hippodrome Network Systems

Birmingham Hippodrome to re-open with a new £1.1 million stage & Communication

MORE than 300,000 people have trod the boards at the Birmingham Hippodrome, including stars like Kenneth Branagh, Barry Manilow and Joan Collins.

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MORE than 300,000 people have trod the boards at the Birmingham Hippodrome, including stars like Kenneth Branagh, Barry Manilow and Joan Collins.

So it was hardly surprising they were suffering from wear and tear and needed replacing after 30 years.

The theatre will re-open on September 26 after a month’s closure to allow a new £1 million stage to be fitted.

Work is on schedule for Birmingham Royal Ballet to be the first to perform in a production of Opposites Attract.

Hippodrome chief executive Stuart Griffiths said: “It is appropriate that BRB should be the first performers on the stage, as they will be the best test of it – they can really feel it.

“It can’t feel too hard or, as the old stage was, too uneven.”

When workers ripped up the old boards, they discovered bowing and splitting in a stage which had played host to more than 650 productions.

Around 10,000 performers and 4,000 crew members use the space every year.

The new stage is made of heavy duty 11-inch, rather than seven-inch, plywood which can carry loads of four tons.

While the theatre is closed – for the first time since its redevelopment a decade ago – managers are taking the opportunity to replace all the tungsten lighting in the auditorium with LED lights.

They will not need changing for at least seven years, saving a considerable amount on the theatre’s annual £500,000 energy bill.

The foyer is also being widened and a second set of doors put in to help with insulation.

The new stage has also meant rebuilding the orchestra pit and shoring up a problem with flooding.

At one stage during last year’s production of We Will Rock You, two inches of water filled the pit. Mr Griffiths said: “We occasionally realise that the brook in Smallbrook Queensway is very real.”

Published: November 2nd, 2015
Author: nip1