Birmingham Hippodrome reopens with new stage

media captionBirmingham Hippodrome's chief executive Stuart Griffiths has called the theatre's new stage "world class".

Birmingham Hippodrome is to reopen after a £1.2m refurbishment which included its stage being replaced.

The theatre has been closed since 26 August while the 30-year-old plywood stage was ripped out and boards that are 10cm thicker put in.

The orchestra pit has been refurbished and new ticket kiosks and 500 low-energy light bulbs have been installed.

Resident company the Birmingham Royal Ballet will give the first performance on the new stage on Wednesday night.

'Long overdue'

First soloist with the BRB Victoria Marr said: "[The old stage] had a lot of wear and tear: it had started to show signs of ageing and it got a little bit dangerous.

"For us, wearing pointe shoes which are inherently slippery anyway, any little lump or bump in the surface can make it precarious."

image captionThe theatre said the old stage had become uneven and started to split in places

Birmingham Hippodrome's stage was last refurbished in 1982 and the theatre said it had become uneven and started to split in places.

It said the new stage was made from heavy duty 11-inch (28cm) plywood.

Chief executive Stuart Griffiths said the refurbishment had been "long overdue".

He said: "We've had probably 1,000 shows and about 10,000 performers a year - that takes its toll.

"It just got to the point where we needed to provide an even, stable stage especially for dance and ballet."

The money to pay for the refurbishment has come from donations from grant-making trusts, local businesses, while almost £113,000 has been collected from audience members, the theatre said.

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