Birmingham Hippodrome Announces Reopening Plans
Birmingham Hippodrome have announced a two phase plan for reopening. The venue will firstly open its doors to the public in May, welcoming back the enormously successful Van Gogh Alive, produced by Grande Experiences.
The world’s most visited immersive, multi-sensory experience made its UK premiere in October, welcoming 28,000 socially distanced visitors in one month to a transformed Hippodrome before closing prematurely due to November’s national lockdown.
Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Birmingham Hippodrome said: “Van Gogh Alive is incredibly important to us all at the Hippodrome as it was the only way we found to reopen the building during a year without any live performance. We were taken aback by the public response we had, both to the beauty and joy of this enriching cultural experience, and how safe our visitors felt with the timed entry and social distancing measures in place.
“It is brilliant that we have found a way to reopen Van Gogh Alive for a limited run, 25 May to 11 July, as we know so many people were disappointed to miss out when we went back into lockdown last November.”
Van Gogh Alive uses state-of-the-art SENSORY4™ immersive gallery technology which projects a thrilling display of over 3,000 inspirational images. Set to an evocative classical score, visitors are surrounded by a vibrant symphony of light, colour, sound and fragrance that has been called an ‘unforgettable’ multi-sensory experience. The technology brings Van Gogh’s masterpieces to life and gives visitors the sensation of walking right into his paintings, a feeling that is simultaneously enchanting, entertaining and educational.
Bruce Peterson, Founder & CEO of Grande Experiences, added: “Van Gogh Alive was met with such a heart-warmingly positive response by audiences at Birmingham Hippodrome, it’s just brilliant that the doors can reopen once again. With the news that we are also opening Van Gogh Alive at Kensington Gardens in London this June, our UK tour is really gathering momentum and we can’t wait for UK audiences to be dazzled by this incredible experience in the coming months.”
The auditorium will then take six weeks to be transformed back into a theatre and will reopen with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s classic musical Tell Me on a Sunday on Tuesday 24 August. Charting the romantic misadventures of an English girl in New York during the heady days of the 1980’s, Tell Me on Sunday will mark the first live production to take place at Birmingham Hippodrome since the original closure due to the pandemic on Monday 16 March 2020.
Fiona continued: “Tell Me on a Sunday will be the first time in almost 18 months that a live performance will be seen in our auditorium. Words can’t describe how great it feels for us to be able to return to what we have long been known for – presenting the biggest and best touring productions for audiences across the region.
Fiona added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our audiences for all the support you have shown during our extended closure. Just knowing how many people were counting on us to find a way through the pandemic and make sure the Hippodrome could reopen again on the other side, kept me and the team determined and motivated through the last 13 months. We cannot wait to start welcoming you back!”
The iconic musical features Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wonderful score including the chart-topping Take That Look Off Your Face and title track Tell Me On A Sunday. This new production is directed by Paul Foster and stars Jodie Prenger stars as ‘Emma’, marking her return to the stage following her acclaimed performance in the National Theatre’s production of A Taste of Honey.
Producer Jamie Wilson said: “We are thrilled that we are able to revive the acclaimed Watermill Theatre production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s Tell Me On A Sunday to be the reopening production for Birmingham Hippodrome. Tell Me On A Sunday, with its cast of just one actress, is probably the most naturally socially distanced musical in the world! We are delighted that Jodie Prenger is able to return to this role to reprise her incredible performance as “Emma”. This production is the perfect way for audiences to support their local theatre with this classic show.”
Seating for this production will be based on a socially-distanced model at this moment in time, subject to change depending on Government guidance closer to the performance date.
Birmingham Hippodrome’s Director of Marketing and Sales, Chilina Madon added: “The safety of our audiences, performers and staff remains our uttermost priority. It is very much our hope that all shows will be presented at full capacity, but we are using socially distanced plans as a precaution in the lead up to the eventual easing of restrictions to provide the best possible audience experience.
“We will be in touch with all ticket holders by email ahead of the production date with full details of our latest audience safety procedures and requirements in order to provide full peace of mind.”