The most important unused theatre in the UK
Our Brighton Hippodrome



Latest news
Working together

We are working to develop and implement the plans put forward by Colliers International in the viability report we commissioned with other members of the Stakeholder Group (see News bulletin #12).
      A key element of the project has to find a commercial partner with whom we can create 'enabling' development on the site. As well as augmenting the potential of the Hippodrome restoration project, this could be a major contribution to the revitalisation of Brighton's Old Town Conservation Area.
      We are now drawing up an agreement with our preferred development partner.

Meanwhile . . .
The first objective is to acquire the freehold and then do the necessary remedial work to make the buildings weatherproof and safe. The phase will result in a versatile 'arena' in the main Hippodrome auditorium, that will provide a flexible, adaptable space with modular seating. This will be used for a wide variety of performance types and events from cabaret to circus, theatre-in-the-round to dances, stand-up comedy to sit-down dinners, snooker tournaments to wedding receptions . . . the potential is almost as great as our imagination can make it.
      This is not yet the same as a lyric theatre. That might come one day. However, the proscenium stage will be available and this too could be used a a self-contained performance space or opened out for use with the main auditorium.

As the Colliers report puts it:
'The strategy would be to make the most of the "spectacular hall" character of the building, and its location at the heart of one of the most cosmopolitan and popular destinations in Britain, to create a truly unique arts and entertainment venue. It would return the building to its heritage as a place of variety entertainment.
      It would offer both live entertainment and screen-based entertainment. It would be a social and entertainment hub operating from morning to night. It would be attractive to tourists and locals alike. It would make a connection between Middle Street and Ship Street. It would stimulate regeneration of both.'

How exciting is that?

'I hope they do not pull the Hippodrome down and replace it with a block of flats.'
—Judy Cornwell, who made her debut as a dancer at the Hippodrome at the age of 15 and took the lead in Cinderella when the lead actress fell ill. [Quoted in The Argus 23 April 2016].

What's happening?

We are now using the grants we have raised to continue the introductory phase of surveys, architectural designs and financial planning.
      After our recent successful bid for a £44,600 grant from the Coastal Revival Fund and a £3,000 development grant already awarded by the Architectural Heritage Fund, we have now been awarded a further £10,000 start-up grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
HLF logo

CRF banner

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We are also looking at the area around the Hippodrome with a small amount earmarked for work that we hope will lead to proposals for the regeneration of the whole Old Town conservation area.

We wish to thank the Regency Society of Brighton and Hove for a donation of £2,000 towards the cost of the options and viability report.
Regency Society logo

The 'big' funding push, including a submission to the Heritage Enterprise Scheme will be in the new year. The first phase of acquisition and restoration is expected to cost in the region of £7m-£8m.

Restoration for live performance and events is now the clear default option. We are continuing to work with our Stakeholder Group partners: Brighton and Hove City Council, The Theatres Trust, Historic England, the Frank Matcham Society and AMG to bring that about.

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Hippodrome timeline

Key dates in the Hippodrome's history are here. [Under revision]

OBH forthcoming events

Our Brighton Hippodrome brings you fun, entertainment and information to raise campaign funds. See listing.

Our mission statement and objectives

Read them → here.


Annual general meeting
The OBH annual general meeting will be held on Saturday 9 July 2016 at 10:30 in Middle Street School, Middle Street, Brighton (opposite the Hippodrome).
      Come along to hear about everything we have achieved in the past year and how we hope and expect to move forward over the next few months.

New pages

In the Gallery:
Plans and designs banner
a selection of historical plans of the Hippodrome building from 1897 to the 1980s.
Stars banner

and 100 of the stars who appeared on the Hippodrome stage over the 60 years from 1904. The results of the quiz are now available.

Thanks . . .
• . . . to all those, from Aberdeen to St Ives, who signed our most recent petition asking Brighton and Hove City Council to support the OBH campaign. Isn't it great that they are now doing so?

• . . . to all who have become members of OBH. Now please tell your friends to join you.

If you haven't already, here's a reminder:
Join the campaign..

Go to our Donate page.

We do not want to be entirely dependent on grants, valuable as they are. It is important to show to funding agencies that we have the support of the community. You can help towards this goal by donating even a small amount. For details, click → here.

OBH's vision for the Hippodrome

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Facebook Twitter Image: The ceiling of the main Hippodrome auditorium


Page updated 11 December 2015