The stage was set for vintage, red carpet glamour at Birmingham Hippodrome last week (Tue 7 – Sat 11 Feb 2017). Alongside the public performances of The Red Shoes, the city’s premier theatre hosted a week of fundraising events and creative learning projects inspired by Sir Matthew Bourne’s magical new staging of the classic Powell and Pressburger film.
The show itself played to a sell-out crowd over seven performances attracting more than 25% first-time bookers. And the fundraising events were supported by over 500 guests across four stylish nights of celebration.
Over £15,000 was raised for the theatre’s award-winning Hippodrome CREATIVE programme of learning, access and free community performance, which delivers inspiring arts experiences for young people, vulnerable adults and families across the region.
Opening the week, at a SimkissGuy Leading Ladies reception of networking and cocktails, supported by evening sponsors Marketing Birmingham, guests got up close with the show’s creator Sir Matthew Bourne and three professional dancers for a pre-show Q&A compered by award-winning broadcaster and presenter Marverine Cole.
The following evening, dance students from top regional academies and colleges performed a special Curtain Raiser to a packed house ahead of the main public performance. Now in its eighth year, The Curtain Raiser – which was sponsored for the second time by Tilney – has become a regular feature of Matthew Bourne’s Hippodrome week. Produced in association with Re:Bourne, the charitable arm of New Adventures, the performance (entitled ‘Journey’) featured choreography by the young people, supported by Re:Bourne associate Alan Vincent and the Hippodrome’s lead dance practitioner, Clare Palethorpe. The Curtain Raiser performance featured 16 dancers and four choreographers, aged 12-19, from Stratford-upon-Avon College, Walsall College, BOA, BMET College and ACE Dance & Music inspired by themes from The Red Shoes.[slideshow_deploy id=’11419′]
A Red Shoes Corporate Dinner saw over 160 guests from Birmingham’s business community enjoy a night of first-class dining, vintage glamour and world-renowned dance in support of 5,000 youth dance opportunities at the Hippodrome and in the wider community. Birmingham Hippodrome was also thrilled to host its first ever Gala Fundraising Dinner for individual supporters and dance lovers which included speeches from Chair of the Board of Directors, John Crabtree OBE, DL, D.Univ and Artistic Director and CEO of Birmingham Hippodrome, Fiona Allan.
A Charity Prize Draw proved hugely popular at both dinners with a single highest bid of £1,000. Prize donors included New Adventures plus local partners: Monarch, Tom’s Kitchen, Harvey Nichols, Daniel Footwear, Opus Bar, Miss Macaroon, Itihaas, The Botanist, Hotel Indigo, The Cube and Chung Ying Central. The spectacular dinners were sponsored by The Mailbox and were generously supported by Laurent-Perrier who supplied champagne for a brand new cocktail entitled ‘To Dance? To Live!’ created by event partners The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge.
Working in partnership with Re:Bourne – students of Hodge Hill Primary School treated Saturday matinee audiences to a three minute pop-up performance of The Little Shoes, a new initiative by Hippodrome Creative, aimed at introducing young children to dance and in particular the work of Sir Matthew Bourne.
Martin Guest, Chair of Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Development Trust said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generous response to our sell-out Red Shoes fundraising events. We are delighted so many of our current and new supporters donated so generously to Hippodrome CREATIVE.
There is another chance to see The Red Shoes when it returns to Birmingham Hippodrome from Wed 19 – Sat 22 July 2017 and tickets are now on sale. Charitable donations can still be made to the Hippodrome on 0844 338 5000 (calls cost 4.5p/min plus your phone company’s access charge) or online at birminghamhippodrome.com/donate