Backstage Tour – Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates (7th January 2013)

On 7th January 2012, Chris and I got the chance to have a backstage tour at the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre. ‘Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates’ has been being shown at the theatre and we got the opportunity to see backstage with the Robinson Crusoe set and props etc.

Seeing backstage of such a big theatre really puts into perspective all the work that goes on unseen, the magic of theatre appears to be no ‘click of the fingers’ as it might look on stage. We saw everything from the ‘quick-change’ areas, to the prop tables, the fly floor and even where the stage manager sits as the production is taking place.

It was an amazing experience, seeing all the hard work that is put in backstage so that the audience are amazed at the magic shown onstage makes you appreciate how much time and effort goes into each and every night. It was extremely impressive seeing everything that makes the show what it is and I would highly recommend going to a backstage tour if you can!

The fly floor!
The fly floor!Backstage at the Hippodrome!
Backstage at the Hippodrome!

For more information on backstage tours click here

I am a blogger and member of Birmingham Hippodrome’s First Night Scheme, offering £5 tickets to 16-21 year olds – CLICK HERE to join the scheme for free.


Press Launch – The Lion King (23rd October 2012)

Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ hits Birmingham Hippodrome in June 2013 and I can tell that the show will truly be incredible if the Press Launch was anything to go by. Stephen Crocker, from Disney Theatrical Group, showed guests and members of the press the depth of the Disney production; from rough ideas on paper, initially believing that The Lion King would be too much of a big production to pull off, to gaining a huge insight into the making and the behind-the-scenes of the whole show and learning how much work really goes into it all.

Julie Taymor, the Director and Costumer Designer said, “The essence of the power of theatre is that you animate an inanimate object and you bring life into it,” which I think reflects the Lion King completely. The aim of The Lion King being brought to stage, was to capture the African Savannah on-set, with the same colours and atmosphere but not taking away the imagination of the audience. We learnt that Julie Taymor wanted to create the masks and costumes in such a way, that never would an actors face be hidden so that their expressions would fully show. Her challenge was to find a clever way to incorporate the mask designs so that the audience could simultaneously see a vision of a mask and a costumed actor, thereby the audience can relate to the emotions of the actor and the imagination of the mask.

The Lion King is at Birmingham Hippodrome from Saturday 29th June until Saturday 28th September, with sell-out tours in New York, Tokyo, London, Hamburg and Madrid, this show will be a theatre blockbuster especially being part of its first ever UK tour.

Tickets can be bought for The Lion King here.

More information on the behind-the-scenes of The Lion King can be viewed here.

Images from the Press Event can be seen full-size here (all photography is my own).


Six Summer Saturdays (7th July – 26th August 2012)

The ‘Six Summer Saturdays’ are a series of events that happen throughout Summer and started on the 7th July. There are many different performances and exhibitions from dance, to theatre and music, there is something for everyone. On Saturday 11th August I went into Birmingham City Centre to enjoy what was happening.

‘Sink Dancing’ by Lucid Incident was the first I saw, consisting of two women tap dancing with a very unique and quirky, choreographed routine. As they took centre stage, dressed head-to-toe in black with a face painted white, no-one knew what to expect, but I can for sure say that I have never seen anything like it. Including minimal but very effective props and a costume change, the audience were gripped and mesmerized, waiting for what might happen next.

I then popped into the Mailbox to have a look at the exhibition ‘Our Journey Through The Voyage’ which included many photos and costumes from ‘The Voyage’ (an open-air, evening performance that included sky-acrobatics and dance aboard a ‘ship’ outside Birmingham Town Hall) giving an insight of what it was all about. The exhibition provided information all about it, so if you had missed out on seeing it you could still appreciate all the hard work that went into creating it.

We noticed that as we watched these events, slowly more and more people dressed head-to-toe in red had started to turn-up and put themselves in different scenarios around Birmingham city centre. These are known as ‘The Reds’ and are part of the ‘Natural Theatre Company’ who simply put themselves in different places and get on with what they’re doing, acting unaware of public and living in a world of their own.

The last event I saw was Turbo Jonez from the street theatre company, ‘Reckless Invention, who specialize in animating public spaces. Turbo Jonez brought 80’s rap back to life, including breakdancing and audience participation. With young to old entertained by this hilarious DJ, he certainly had everyone laughing, dancing and having fun while watching the performance. It was something I’d never seen done before and the audience were all captivated, admiring the energy and fun put into it!

It was a great, fun day out in which I saw many performances of things I had never seen before. ‘Six Summer Saturday’s sadly ends on August 26th but I highly recommend attending one of the Saturdays to see so many different free events in Birmingham city centre.

More information can be seen on including the times, dates and acts that will be there!


Press Launch – Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates (18th June 2012)

Birmingham Hippodrome welcomes Britain’s biggest Pantomime with stars such as Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph. Brian Conley, who has previously appeared in award-winning West End musicals, television sit-coms and many sell-out tours of the UK, joins Lesley Joseph of ‘Birds of a Feather’ fame for over 60 performances this Christmas for the production of ‘Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates’. It is being performed from Saturday 15th December 2012 until Sunday 27th January 2013 with tickets ranging from £14 to £37.50

The day started with being led into the Patrick Centre for a photocall on the ‘set’ in which press, media and photographers (including myself) ceized the opportunity to grab some great snaps (some of my own can be viewed above). This was followed by interviews with the leading stars Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph who talked about their experiences within theatre and the upcoming panto. It was during this that it was very evident just how well Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph got on with each other, and had a natural rapport which I feel will be translated onto the stage as they bounce humour off each other.

Throughout the whole morning it was obvious that Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph were thoroughly excited to be back performing at the Hippodrome along with stars Kathryn Rooney and Andrew Ryan. They revealed that they loved the feeling of the ‘magic’ that’s felt in each and every performance of a pantomime production. Lesley Joseph also mentioned she couldn’t wait for the experience of being in a brand new pantomime despite being in the theatre for 25 years.

Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates has all the ingredients for yet another fun-filled spectacular, all-age friendly panto and will be a thorough must-see this Winter.

A recording of the livestream of the start of the event can be viewed here:

(All photography is my own)


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