One Year On: Fiona Allan

One Year On: Fiona Allan

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By Fiona Allan, UK Theatre President and Chief Executive, Birmingham Hippodrome
Date Published: 01 December 2016
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Are you keeping the integrity and curatorial oversight in both the produced and presented programme you mentioned in Going Places last year?

Big touring venues like Birmingham Hippodrome tend to be programmed some years in advance, so in my first 12 months there has not been much space free in the mainstage programme where I could have real artistic impact. I've been focusing on getting to understand our current and potential audience demographics, and 'quarantining' weeks in coming years where we can test some new ideas. As an example, Dan TDM is doing two Sunday shows which is a way of getting a completely new younger audience into the Hippodrome. Key to developing a well-rounded programme will be to increase our investment in order to enable more dance and movement based performances in the Patrick Centre.

What elements are you enjoying most about the combination of artistic and business leadership?

The usual - no two days being the same.  I've enjoyed getting to know all the major artistic companies in Birmingham, and making lots of new networks as well - there is a lot going on at a smaller scale in the region. The opportunities for creative collaboration are vast.

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

I’d like to make the Hippodrome a globally known cultural centre that is busy day and night, and is a catalyst for the development of creative skills and talent. I’ve been adding the finishing touches to our new strategic plan; an ambitious blueprint for Birmingham Hippodrome, and over the next 12 months we will need to work hard to embed this new direction.  Other priorities include finalising plans for Birmingham's new dance hub development, and seeding some new collaborations and co-productions for future years.

How are you finding juggling all your roles at the Hippodrome, UK Theatre and The Space?

The Space has been the biggest learning curve for me, which is exactly why I took on the role of Chair - I now have a far greater understanding of digital arts and digital dissemination, and this overlaps neatly with some of UK Theatre's planning priorities.  And both areas complement the shifts I'd like to see at the Hippodrome.  One thing is for certain - between these three roles I come into contact with a lot of very clever and interesting people, which is a joy.   How do I juggle it?  Well, I think the term 'work-life blend' sums it up.  So long as I still make time for my riding, I'm happy working whatever hours I need to.

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"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.