Birmingham Hippodrome will be filled on Tuesday night with 2,000 people who are seeing live ballet for the first time - and won’t have paid a penny for their tickets.
As part of an initiative to broaden its audience and strengthen its relationship with the city, Birmingham Royal Ballet set out to find people significantly different from its regular supporters by sending out invitations via schools, housing associations, youth services, local charities and other community-based agencies.
The audience will see the first performance of the company’s Russian Steps triple bill of short ballets based on Russian music, including its spectacular production of Stravinsky’s first ballet, The Firebird, which continues until Saturday.
All tickets for the event, which the company is calling Proud To Be In Birmingham, were claimed within eight hours of booking opening. It has been made possible by spreading costs over the week’s performances.
Christopher Barron, BRB’s chief executive, said: “Birmingham Royal Ballet has been based in the city for nearly 20 years and during that time the company has enjoyed the support of local government, businesses and people. However, there are many in the city who may not know about us or what we do, or have never thought about coming to watch us perform. The Proud to be in Birmingham event is a fantastic opportunity for us to show people exactly what we are about.”
Keith Longmore, communications director, said the company had concentrated on “cultural cold spots” in the city, which included areas like Hodge Hill, Perry Barr, Ladywood and Erdington.
“We were totally shocked by the speed at which it took off,” he said. “It’s been a huge success.
“There’s always a fear that because people haven’t passed any cash over the counter they won’t turn up, but I don’t think that will be an issue.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time. We know that if people don’t come it’s not about price because we have very cheap tickets available anyway. But there’s always a risk you might just not like it, so we’re taking away the risk and saying come and see it, see a company that’s very proud of where it’s based here in Birmingham and what it’s doing in Birmingham. If you don’t like it then you’ve lost nothing apart from an evening out.”