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Supporting Our Creative Town

At the Hippodrome we are proud to support local organisations bring their own creativity to the stage in Todmorden. We have had many long standing relationships with various groups within the town and these have been fruitful and rewarding for all those involved.

Our support of these organisation has allowed children who may not usually have the opportunity, the chance to perform on stage. It has also helped bring a more diverse programme of events to the town through our support of organisations such as the Todmorden Book Festival and Music for the Many.

Below are examples of the groups that have come to use the Hippodrome and some of their testimonies about us and our relationship.

Links With Local Schools and Other Youth Organisations

We at the Hippodrome understand the impact that theatre and the arts can have on the lives of young people. We seek to support this through good relationships with our local schools; throughout the year there are a number of events that take place in order to facilitate this. For example during the Christmas season the Hippodrome holds festive films for each of the primary schools who wish to take up the offer. This gives the young people of the town a cinema experience without the significant costs that are involved should you travel to mainstream out of town cinema complexes. During this season we also hold our annual Christmas Tree Festival where local schools and other organisations and charities such as the Scouts and Guides are invited to decorate one of our lovely Christmas trees which gives them the opportunity to raise much needed funds for themselves.

Throughout the year we also offer discounted ticket deals to our suitable productions. These are available to all local schools and charitable youth organisations  such as the various Scouting and Guiding groups within the town. As with the cinema, this provides the opportunity for young people to experience high quality, live entertainment without the exceedingly high prices that are involved in trips to professional theatres in nearby cities such as Manchester.

Some of our local schools take our relationship a step further and venture onto the boards at the Hippodrome Theatre in order to perform their talent shows each summer. Both Shade Primary School and Castle Hill Primary School have been working with us for well over 10 years to give their children the rare opportunity to perform in a stunning Edwardian theatre. It is always a special moment to see the children giving it their all for the parents and family filling the auditorium and it is a relationship that we hope will long continue and go from strength to strength. Below is a testimonial from the Headteacher of Shade Primary School that underlines what the special relationship we share brings to the children of the area.

Mollie McCracken

Headteacher - Shade School

"For the last 13 years, Shade has had the fantastic opportunity of using the Hippodrome Theatre for an annual showcase; Shade Shines. 80 children get to perform on the stage in a glorious talent show ranging form comedians to violinists. This is probably the only time that some of these children will get to perform in a real theatre with all that comes with it. The support we get to stage our shows from the volunteers is second to none and elevates the experience to that of a professional production. If the theatre wasn’t here in Todmorden, then we would not be able to include this in our wider curriculum offer.

Our children have also had the opportunity to appear in TAODS productions. Most recently, 8 members of our choir formed the children’s choir in their production of Evita, which was an incredible experience. Many of our children then audition to become part of the Youth Theatre due to their experience there.


Once a year the theatre provides screenings of a Christmas Film for all local schools at the cost of £2 per child. This is greatly looked forward to by both staff and children. We also take part in the Christmas Tree Festival and Craft fair, organised by the volunteers at the Hippodrome, by decorating a tree and nominating a charity to receive funds should our tree win. Many of our children then attend the Fair to see their decorated tree taking their families along with them.

Once a year, sometimes more, we organise an evening trip to the Youth Theatre production. The theatre has special school rates to all the schools in the town which include a drink and sweets and a discounted price. The children are often accompanied by their parents and thus enjoy a family evening out together that is affordable.

The town would be significantly poorer culturally if it didn’t have the Hippodrome and it’s incredible group of volunteers and we look forward to continuing our long relationship with them".

Supporting the Arts

The Hippodrome is passionate about bringing a diverse range of artistic content to the town and one way in which we seek to do this is by supporting local organisations that provide something different, such as the Todmorden Book Festival, in staging their events.

The Todmorden Book Festival was established in 2018 by a group of volunteers wishing to celebrate the written word. Their aim is to put on events that aim to inspire and challenge their audiences. They focus on new and establishes authors from both the local regions, UK and internationally with fiction, non-fiction and poetry events designed for both adults and children.

The Hippodrome is proud to work alongside the Book Festival in providing one of the local venues that can host larger audiences for their showcase evenings.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage at the Hippodrome as part of 2019 Book Festival

St Joseph's Players

St Joseph's Players annual pantomime is an immovable fixture in Todmorden and we share a long and proud tradition of working with them to provide the facilities for the show to thrive year after year.

St Joseph's Players have been performing  in Todmorden since the early 1950s and like TAODS they are also an entirely voluntary run organisation. Originally plays and pantomimes were performed in St Joseph's School Hall, but their growing reputation soon meant they were out-growing the space. With demolition of the old school pending and audiences booming the players took the step of moving to the Hippodrome. 

Their first pantomime performance at the theatre was their 1980 offering The Sleeping Beauty which met with great acclaim and the Players haven't looked back since. The annual panto is a regular sell-out leaving the audience laughing out of the building with a spring in their step. We love hosting and working with St Joseph's Players and long may that relationship continue.

"St. Joseph’s Players have been performing an annual pantomime at the Hippodrome Theatre for many years.  The brave decision to move from St Joseph’s School Hall
to the Hippodrome was made by Tony Cannon who was producer at that time.  This proved to be a far seeing vision as the Players have gone from strength to strength over the years.  We are very lucky to have such a wonderful theatre in the town and the Players look forward to future productions especially as there are exciting plans for the Hippodrome". 

Vivienne Uren - St Joseph's Players

Local Dance Schools

Local dance schools have been using the Hippodrome for many years in order to give their dancers the opportunity to showcase their skills in a truly remarkable space. Parents and family members have been entertained and delighted by seeing their children, grandchildren and other relatives perform within our stunning auditorium. 

We are proud to be able to support these local dance schools in achieving their visions for the productions they bring and we very much look forward to welcoming them back each year.

"Sarah Hitchon School of Dance have been holding dance shows at the Hippodrome since 2006. What an amazing theatre and group of volunteers the theatre have! 

It is so important to me as a dance teacher to inspire the next generation and to give them many opportunities to perform. The Hippodrome theatre is the perfect venue for my students to showcase their talents and build confidence for dancing on stage.


The volunteers at the Hippodrome are passionate about working with groups like ourselves to help put shows together, and I can say from past experience that there is never a job too big or small.


What a joy it is to have such a beautiful, well kept theatre in our little town".

Sarah O’Sullivan - Sarah Hitchon School of Dance

"My dance school, DC Dance & Performing Arts, has been performing dance shows at Todmorden Hippodrome for two decades. Our annual show is the highlight of our dance year and showcases the work of our junior and senior students to friends and family. The importance of being able to perform dance upon a real stage is extremely significant for young dancers as it brings the magic of dance alive with a real audience and adds an extra dimension of communication and expression to our performances.  


We are extremely lucky in Todmorden to have our local Todmorden Hippodrome available to hire as for many young children, they may never get the chance to even visit a theatre, let a lone perform on stage there. During our shows at the Hippodrome our dance pupils are able to observe a working theatre in operation and see a wide range of roles within the theatre.  Whilst dancing at the theatre the building itself may well be inspiring the next costume designer or lighting technician!


Theatre has a huge impact on society, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in new experiences and learn more about humanity through emotions, actions and the stories told on stage. Our town’s theatre is also steeped in local history and every time you enter the building it feels extremely special.


We must thank the fantastic team of volunteers that help keep this beautiful building alive for all around it to enjoy".


Dawn Chapman - owner and principal – DC Dance & Performing Arts

For many years the Gang Show has been a regular fixture in the town. First established in 1959 the Gang Show moved to the Hippodrome in 1965 having outgrown the venue at Calder College. The Gang Show went from strength to strength performing each year with growing vision and elaborate staging. The Hippodrome and Gang Show have always shared a close relationship with many volunteers belonging to both groups or often beginning in the Gang Show, getting the bug and becoming members of the Youth Theatre at the Hippodrome. This collaboration has borne fruit for both organisations in the past and we shared many, many happy years supporting each other.

Although the Gang Show has struggled to recover from the enforced hiatus that Covid 19 brought, we very much hope that they will come back and we will be able to join forces once more in the future.

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