New sculpture celebrating 120 years of Birmingham Hippodrome unveiled

Birmingham Hippodrome has unveiled a new sculpture commission entitled The Tower of Varieties part of the venue’s 120th birthday celebrations.

In partnership with Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre, the new sculpture created by Rachael Champion was commissioned to mark the Hippodrome’s origins as The Tower of Varieties circus in 1899.

Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome said: “We were thrilled to unveil this new site-specific installation as part of our birthday celebrations. Rachael’s design perfectly brings together both Birmingham’s history and architecture, with a nod to the backstage world of theatre.

“As Birmingham prepares to engage a global stage over coming years, the Hippodrome aims to provide a cultural haven where people from all backgrounds and ages can engage with arts and culture all day every day.  Rachael’s wonderful new work provides yet another reason to visit the Hippodrome, and is a significant contribution to Birmingham as a world-class cultural destination.

The unique design celebrates not only Birmingham Hippodrome’s heritage, but many other iconic buildings in Birmingham as suggested by members of the public.  The sculpture itself is a stunning 11 metres and is comprised of twelve rings, representing the twelve decades of the Hippodrome. The spectacular design features photography of iconic buildings realised in the last 120 years including the Rotunda, Mosely Road Swimming Baths and even Spaghetti Junction.

Lucy Tomlins, Rachael Champion and Fiona Allan

Rachael Champion commented: “It’s been a fantastic experience getting to know Birmingham and the remarkable architecture across the city as suggested by members of the public. There were so many passionate responses and I wanted to include buildings that have real meaning to the communities of Birmingham.”

Lucy Tomlins, Director of Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre, who commissioned the sculpture with the Hippodrome added: “Tower of Varieties responds to the theatre, its history and technical workings beautifully. We’re extremely proud of Rachael’s final piece and our first major public sculpture commission in the city.”

The sculpture can be viewed for free in the Hippodrome foyers Monday – Saturday from 10am.

Photos: Simon Hadley

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