Head of Business Development at Birmingham Hippodrome, Judith Greenburgh, discusses mixing ‘business with show-business’
Tell us about your job at the Hippodrome?
As Head of Business Development, I’m responsible for managing external corporate relationships here at the theatre. This principally includes looking after our three strands of Corporate Membership scheme, our Good Company Club, Associate and Performance Partners. We also work with a number of individual Project Partners; businesses from across all sectors, whose support helps to raise funds for the work of Hippodrome CREATIVE out in the community. We also run a successful networking group called Leading Ladies which consists of a varied events programme from Champagne tasting to Salsa dance workshops.
Birmingham Hippodrome is well-known for its world-class stage facilities but it’s also home to some of the city’s most versatile event spaces. Tell us more?
We are so lucky here at the Hippodrome to have six unique spaces which are available for hire seven days a week during the day and evening. That, of course, includes our magnificent auditorium. The spaces on the Thorp Street side of the building have all recently been newly refurbished to state of the art spaces in which to hold events of any kind whether that be meetings, conferences, training sessions, workshops, networking, private receptions or dinners.
The Hippodrome now offers offsite event management. How did that come about?
I think it’s been a natural evolution from some of the large-scale corporate events that we’ve held in the building. Even our incredibly spacious building has become too small as particular clients’ needs and ambitions have grown. We’ve naturally expanded to offsite locations, delivering events to some very unusual spaces across the city including warehouses, carparks and even a Municipal bank.
The largest event we’ve delivered so far this year offsite was a Game of Thrones themed awards ceremony for 450 members of the Casual Dining Group, held in Digbeth. As you can imagine, we really went to town on the theatrical flair! We like to say here in-house, ‘if you can imagine it, we can create it’. After all, if we can help to make Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fly then the sky is really the limit for us!
Do you have a typical ‘client’?
I can’t say that we have a typical client other than, within any of the organisations that we work with, there’s at least an individual who has a complete passion for the theatre and who holds the Hippodrome In particular in high regard. I think, also, they tend to recognize that, both as individuals and as a team, we really always try to go the extra mile to ensure that the event and their time spent with us in the building is as memorable as possible.
By holding an event at Birmingham Hippodrome, clients are also directly contributing to the work of Hippodrome CREATIVE on stage and in the community. Why is this important to you?
As the UK’s single most visited theatre, we are highly successful in selling tickets for shows across our two stages but, as an independent charity, we have a really strong corporate social responsibility commitment through the work of Hippodrome CREATIVE. As a former teacher myself, I’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative effects that exposure to arts and culture at a young age can have so it’s wonderful to work with businesses who recognize those benefits and share our aims.
What’s been your proudest achievement over the last twelve months?
I think, most recently, when we held our open day ‘The Greatest Show Around On Earth’, it was fantastic to welcome over 100 members of the corporate community into our building and to showcase our newly refurbished rooms. The Las Iguanas client event in Digbeth was also a real privilege to work on. For me, just having the opportunity to see what my incredible colleagues in Production and Catering were able to deliver was incredibly exciting.