Jon Gilchrist and Vicky Graham - Photo credit: Simon Hadley

BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME ANNOUNCES PLANS TO DEVELOP NEW MUSICALS WITH DEDICATED DEPARTMENT, STUDIO SPACE AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

  • Birmingham Hippodrome will be the first UK venue with an in-house new musical theatre department
  • Vacancy for the new role of Head of New Musical Theatre live today
  • Fully equipped studio space dedicated to the development of musicals
  • Career development opportunities include a year-long Musical Theatre Writers’ Lab 

Birmingham Hippodrome has today (Thursday 27 April) announced it will be home to the first in-house musical theatre department at a UK venue to develop new musicals in the West Midlands. 

The new department will be led by a Head of New Musical Theatre, who will grow a specialist team and collaborate with creatives and partners to create new production opportunities in Birmingham and beyond. Recruitment for this pivotal new role is open now.

The dedicated department will commission, develop and produce new musicals as part of the Hippodrome’s core business, alongside offering skills development, employment, and a new Writers Lab, supporting more sustainable career pathways in musical theatre.

The team will operate from a dedicated studio space at the Hippodrome, ensuring an inspiring and dynamic creative environment for new work to grow. Work developed will be presented on all the Hippodrome’s stages and with partners across the country. The Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio will be a year-round home for new work, new musicals and new audiences.

Jon Gilchrist, Artistic Director and CEO of Birmingham Hippodrome said: “Over 260,000 people come to see musical theatre at the Hippodrome every year and we know our audiences are hungry for new musicals. This next phase in our artistic ambitions sees the organisation make a long-term commitment to developing musical theatre on site and making more opportunities for careers in musical theatre.

“Audiences will play a key role in every step of the process, from invites to work in progress sharings, first performances in our studios, all the way up to large scale new productions.”

The Hippodrome has been working in consultation with theatre producer and consultant Vicky Graham, who specialises in creative and strategic development of new musicals.

Vicky said: “This is cause for real celebration. While there is no shortage of musical theatre writing talent in the UK, there is a need for consistent space, support and production opportunity. The Hippodrome - with its enthusiastic musical theatre audience base, passionate and skilled team, and well-equipped space - is perfectly placed to respond to this need. It’s an honour to be a part of it.”

As part of the commitment to developing new musicals, a range of long-term creative development opportunities will be available to artists making a career in musical theatre. One confirmed programme, which will launch later this year, includes a year-long Writers’ Lab, which will be led by Victoria Saxton and developed with the Head of New Musical Theatre. Victoria is a writer and dramaturg with expertise in new musical theatre writing. Full details of this and other talent development and commissioning opportunities will be announced in autumn. 

Victoria Saxton said: “This is a game changer. Musical theatre writers need time, space and long-term support to work on their craft, collaborate and dream up bold new projects – and, crucially, have the chance to get them on their feet and produced. In my experience producing BEAM, designing and working on development projects, what’s been missing in the UK has been a coherent, long-term strategy that provides a home for brilliant career musical theatre writers”. 

The new department and producing plans have been developed over several months as part of the Hippodrome’s new five-year business strategy. The musical theatre strand has been developed in consultation with national and international industry peers, alongside local and national artists at all stages of their careers.

Jon added: “We are ambitious for ourselves, our industry, as well as the city and region. There is so much incredible work being done across the musical theatre industry and we want to play our part in supporting a thriving theatrical ecology here in the West Midlands, telling diverse stories for a young and diverse city.

“Our first fully Hippodrome-produced musical will be staged in the Patrick Studio in 2024, with produced work becoming a regular feature on our stages in the seasons that follow. We are incredibly excited by this opportunity to create new work and develop more opportunities for creatives. We look forward to receiving applications from people as fired up as we are by the new role of Head of New Musical Theatre.”

To view the recruitment pack for the vacancy of Head of New Musical Theatre at Birmingham Hippodrome, click here Applications close on Friday 9 June.

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