Part-time traveller, Full-Time Brummie

Birmingham Pantomime gets the Go-Ahead!

It’s been a long eight and a half months since theatre shows have graced the stages of our Birmingham theatres. Back in March I snuck in Buddy at The Alexandra (Press invite) and Book of Mormon at the Birmingham Hippodrome before theatres were forced to close their doors. It seemed like a Birmingham pantomime was unlikely to be on the cards in 2020.

It’s been a worrying time for the arts. From big-scale West End shows to national tours, from local theatre companies to amateur productions, shows have been halted. But in excellent news announced today, a Pantomime is coming to Brum.

“Oh no it isn’t!”

“Oh yes it is!”

Presenting…Robin Hood

The Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment will be presenting an all-new, socially distanced, one-act production of Robin Hood. Whilst the Van Gogh Alive experience graces the auditorium and stage of the Hippodrome, the pantomime will be staged at the nearby Alexandra Theatre.

Robin Hood will play from 15th to 31st January 2021 for a limited run.

Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood will star as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside the Hippodrome’s pantomime superstar Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty and Black Country matriarch Doreen Tipton,

The production is able to go ahead thanks to the support of The National Lottery. Thousands of theatregoers will have the the chance to enjoy a socially distanced pantomime this Christmas. This initiative will make it viable for venues to open their doors to the general public, generating vital income for the theatres and helping to restore jobs while providing much-needed cheer for pantomime lovers. 

Presenting…The Cast

Fresh from the ballroom, Craig Revel Horwood will star as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. He’ll show Birmingham his real mettle as he tries to outwit Robin Hood and win the hand of the beautiful Maid Marion. Craig is a well-known face as a judge on all 18 series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing. He recently returned to his roots as a performer in musical theatre, starring as Miss Hannigan in Annie.

Craig will be joined by Hippodrome funny man, Matt Slack as Robin Hood. Matt has entertained audiences at the Hippodrome pantomime for the last seven years. These roles have won him, amongst others, the Best Comic accolade at the Great British Pantomime Awards.

They will be joined by Richard Cadell as Will Scarlet, with his mischievous sidekick, Sooty. A star of television, stage, comics, animation and movies, Sooty made his screen debut almost 70 years ago. Richard has accompanied Sooty on stage and television for over 20 years following Matthew Corbett’s retirement.

Joining them as Mrs Tuck is Doreen Tipton, back for her second consecutive Hippodrome pantomime following her star turn in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last year. Also joining the cast them will be pantomime dame and Hippodrome regular Andrew Ryan,  and West End leading ladies Landi Oshinowo, Nicola Meehan and Lauren Chia.

Presenting…Those that have made this happen

“We’re delighted to be working together to make sure that our loyal audiences in Birmingham don’t miss out on the magic of pantomime this year. Presenting Robin Hood at The Alexandra allows us to see two of the city’s key cultural institutions open with social distancing in place. Although on a different stage, this year’s show will be designed and created by the usual Hippodrome panto creative team, and will feature all the comedy and laughter our audiences have come to expect”.

Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome, and Michael Harrison Managing Director of Qdos Entertainment.

This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Hippodrome audiences know and love from their annual festive pantomime, in their temporary theatrical home at The Alexandra for this year only.

“Words can’t quite express how thrilled we are to be working with Qdos Entertainment and our friends at Birmingham Hippodrome to bring this much loved annual tradition back to the city this festive season! This cross-venue collaboration is one of many examples of cultural organisations in Birmingham working together to provide audiences with entertainment during what has been a challenging time for the sector. We are incredibly grateful to the National Lottery for their support, without which we would not have been able to proceed. The opportunity to bring our team back to the venue to prepare for this special socially-distanced experience is the Christmas present we have all been dreaming of!”

Lisa Mart, Theatre Director at The Alexandra 

The previously advertised production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears starring Jason Donovan and Matt Slack will be staged back at the Hippodrome in December 2021. Existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.

Presenting…The National Lottery

The support of The National Lottery will ensure that socially distanced panto can take place this year in Birmingham, and other theatres across the UK. Up to 20,000 free tickets to pantomimes across the country will be made available to National Lottery players to thank them for making it possible for this Christmas tradition to go ahead. National Lottery players raise on average £30M each week for Good Causes.  This year has seen up to £600M in National Lottery funding being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sport sectors.

Tickets for Robin Hood will be on sale to Birmingham Hippodrome Friends and ATG Cardholders from Monday 16 November. They will go on general sale from Wednesday 18 November. Tickets can be booked by visiting ATGTICKETS.COM/Birmingham or by calling 0844 871 7615*

*Calls cost up to 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.

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