Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment announce socially distanced panto in Birmingham

Birmingham Hippodrome and Qdos Entertainment have announced that pantomime WILL be going ahead in the city with an all-new production of Robin Hood staged, for the first time in 20 years, at the nearby Alexandra.

Starring the Strictly judge the nation loves to hate, the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside the Hippodrome’s pantomime superstar Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty and the Black Country’s funniest matriarch, Doreen Tipton, Robin Hood will play from 15th to 31st January 2021 for a strictly limited run.

The socially distanced, one-act production will temporarily change venues whilst Birmingham Hippodrome continues to host the critically acclaimed Van Gogh Alive experience.

The production is able to go ahead thanks to the support of The National Lottery which will give thousands of theatregoers, in Birmingham and across the country, the chance to enjoy socially distanced pantomime this Christmas. The show is being staged as a result of an initiative between The National Lottery and Qdos Entertainment, which is providing financial support for theatres to stage socially distanced, live pantomimes this festive season.

This move 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. 

Fresh from the ballroom, Craig Revel Horwood will star as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and 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 on television in the UK and now all over the world, 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 the West End and UK touring production of Annie. Craig also choreographed and directed the UK tour of Sister Act and the Dusty Springfield musical, Son of a Preacher Man.

Revel Horwood will be joined by hilarious Hippodrome funny man, Matt Slack as Robin Hood. His television credits include Casualty, Doctors and EastEnders for the BBC and ITV’s Law and Order UK. On stage he's appeared in the UK tours of Boogie Nights and Hot Flush and in Blood Brothers in London’s West End.

Matt has also entertained and delighted audiences at the Hippodrome pantomime for the last seven years in roles which have won him, amongst others, the Best Comic accolade at the Great British Pantomime Awards.

Craig and Matt will be joined by television icons Richard Cadell as Will Scarlet, with his mischievous sidekick, Sooty, who made his screen debut almost 70 years ago and in that time has delighted audiences of millions worldwide with his cheeky sense of humour, jaw-dropping magic tricks and hilarious mishaps, despite not ageing whatsoever.

Doreen Tipton is back for her second consecutive Hippodrome panto, following her star turn in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last year. In her own inimitable style, the Black Country star will showcase her dry wit, penchant for doing as little as possible and helping Robin and his Merry Men as they rob from the rich and give to the poor.

Joining them will be hilarious pantomime dame and Hippodrome regular Andrew Ryan and west end leading ladies Landi Oshinowo, Nicola Meehan and Lauren Chia. 

In a joint statement, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome, Fiona Allan and Managing Director of Qdos Entertainment, Michael Harrison said:

“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”.

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. Lisa Mart, Theatre Director at The Alexandra added:

“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!”

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 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.

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 £30 million each week for Good Causes.  This year has seen up to £600 million 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 are on sale to Birmingham Hippodrome Friends and ATG Cardholders from today and on general on sale from Wednesday 18th November. You can book by visiting or by calling 0844 871 7615.


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