Working to save the most important unused theatre in the UK
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The campaign

Our Brighton Hippodrome began in autumn 2013 when the plans to convert the unique Hippodrome building into an eight-screen cinema became more widely known. A meeting was convened by Professor Gavin Henderson, former director of the Brighton Festival, on the very wet Sunday afternoon of 20 October 2013. The meeting room at the Friends' Meeting House was unexpectedly packed to the rafters. Among the audience were architects, performers, historians, members of amenity groups, local residents and members of the local branch of the actors' union, Equity.
      An ePetition was opened on the Brighton and Hove City Council website urging the council to use its best endeavours to ensure that the Hippodrome was restored for live performance. The petition was presented to the Economic Development and Culture Committee of the council on 23 January 2014, having gathered 1,099 signatures.
      Over the following weeks, thanks in no small measure to the initiative of Jevon Antoni-Jay, the present campaign group was assembled and plans began to evolve. The first objective was to lodge an objection to the planning application for a cinema conversion.
      We also set out to raise public awareness of the plans. Pretty well everyone was in favour of restoring the Hippodrome and could not understand why anyone would want it to be turned into another cinema.

Meanwhile, our evolving business plan shows how the Hippodrome could be used round the year for a wide variety of live performances—top-class theatre, music, dance, opera, West End musicals, ballet, variety, stand-up—as well as for snooker, wrestling, conferences, even large-screen prestige cinema presentations. The Hippodrome's unique circular layout means it could also be used for theatre-in-the-round, circuses and 'roundhouse' productions like the Cirque du Soleil. Think Brighton's answer to the Sheffield Crucible, Strictly on the South Coast, our Albert Hall.
      Use of the building on this scale has not been contemplated since the heyday when the Beatles topped the bill. Unfortunately, the developers haven't really considered it either. Yet this is what the Hippodrome was built for.


∎ To secure the future of the Hippodrome and Hippodrome House for live performance.
∎ To restore the building, especially the Frank Matcham interior of the main auditorium.
∎ To be the major stimulus in the regeneration of Middle Street and the Old Town.

∎ To serve as the key performance venue in Brighton and Hove, to complement other venues and working with them to develop the city's role as the regional hub for theatre, music and the arts.
∎ To promote theatre arts through performance, training and education.
∎ To establish a strong commercial partnership with an established theatre management company as the basis for taking the operation of the theatre forward.
∎ To provide a year-round programme of performances across the range of styles: drama, musical, opera, ballet, circus, pantomime, that will entertain and inspire visitors with a wide range of tastes and preferences.
∎ To enhance the cultural offer of Brighton and Hove.
∎ To develop and sustain an ongoing and expansive business plan through commercial entrepreneurialism and careful financial management.
∎ To make a significant contribution to Brighton and Hove's tourist economy.
∎ To extend the heritage and traditions of the Hippodrome by laying the foundations for a positive future in the modern age for decades to come.
∎ To create a flexible, state-of-the-art modern theatre in a historic building that will enjoy a high international reputation as a flagship venue.

∎ To become a producing as well as receiving house, originating productions that can subsequently tour the country.
∎ To develop a second auditorium/performance space to be used for smaller productions, as an art-house cinema, for meetings and talks, and as a rehearsal room.
∎ To establish the theatre as an educational centre for community programmes and academic research.
∎ To take advantage of the Hippodrome's unique size and flexibility to innovate in presentations styles, setting a standard as the beacon of theatre practice for theatres nationally and internationally.

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The view in 2016

to view full-screen: click to play then click in the right-hand bottom corner



To restore the Brighton Hippodrome to its former glory and to operate it as a receiving/producing theatre with a commercial partner and to provide facilities for community activity and involvement.

∎ We are passionate about theatre, music and all forms of live performance.
∎ We are dedicated to establishing the Hippodrome for the social wellbeing and interest of the local community.
∎ We will practice and encourage the pursuit of excellence.
∎ We value the principles of diversity and equality.
∎ We respect and will work with neighbours in the Old Town area and the wider city community to ensure harmonious and creative relationships.

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The business part of the project. Click to read more.

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Facebook Twitter Image: The galleried lantern in the main auditorium's dome