The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has allocated £1.48 million of Local Growth Fund investment to Birmingham Hippodrome to construct and oversee the Dance Hub Birmingham physical space development – expanding and enhancing the city’s ambition to create a national home for dance.
The expansion project will create 17 new jobs, five new apprenticeships and enable 100 more dance performances per year at the Birmingham venue, increasing audience numbers to 15,000.
Delivered by Culture Central, Dance Hub Birmingham works with the arts sector to put dance at the forefront of cultural plans for the region. The development is a collaboration between GBSLEP and five principal dance organisations, all with a regional, national and international outreach. They include Dance Hub Birmingham, Birmingham Hippodrome, DanceXchange, One Dance UK and Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The project will see a rooftop extension to the Birmingham Hippodrome building’s fourth floor above the Birmingham Royal Ballet. This includes the creation of 675 sqm of floor space – comprising a new large studio for dance, changing facilities, office space, a reception area and two meeting rooms. The development will offer improved accessibility from the public entrance area and improved routes through to the rehearsal and production facilities.
Anita Bhalla OBE, Board Director for Creative Industries at GBSLEP, said:
“GBSLEP’s investment into the Dance Hub Birmingham development will bring significant economic and cultural benefits to our young and diverse population. The project will attract more dance companies from across the country to this new space, creating more jobs and opportunities for our growing leisure tourism sector.
“The performing arts scene in Greater Birmingham continues to go from strength to strength – more visitors are coming to the area for our cultural offer, spending more money here than ever. This funding continues our commitment to supporting the creative sector, which contributes to the vibrancy of our regional economy.”
Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Birmingham Hippodrome, added:
“This is thrilling news for Birmingham, home to the largest cluster of dance companies and performers outside London.
“Birmingham Hippodrome is proud to be leading on the construction of this extension to our campus, working with local partners and sector initiative Dance Hub Birmingham to provide more facilities and jobs locally for dancers, and more opportunities for everyone to enjoy dance across the region and beyond.
“Thanks to Arts Council England and the GBSLEP for providing the funding to enable this development, and to Birmingham Royal Ballet, Culture Central, Dance Hub, DanceXchange and countless individual artists for mapping sector need and enabling this development.”
GBSLEP’s commitment of £1.48 million represents a third of the total project cost of the development, with the remaining £3 million of funding provided by Arts Council England. The cultural body also pledged a further £2 million to Dance Hub Birmingham last year to support additional dance activity and commissions, including the Birmingham Weekender arts festival.
Monique Deletant, Director of Dance Hub Birmingham, said:
“I’m delighted that further resources have been awarded to increase the physical spaces available for dancers, artists and practitioners in the region. The funding supports the ongoing aims of Dance Hub Birmingham and the sector to make Birmingham the place to be to create and experience high quality dance.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said:
“We’re delighted to have the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership investing in and working alongside Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet and other partners, helping to turn the plans for the Dance Hub Birmingham into a reality.
“The new collaborative space will be a great addition to the city and will make a real difference to the artists, producers, curators and dance sector professionals in the Midlands – as well as the audiences who support them.”
The development is scheduled for completion in May 2019.