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A project to secure the future of the Hippodrome

"I would like to ensure that T.A.O.D.S. remains part of the thriving community within Todmorden, attracting visitors from further afield.  The theatre is very much part of the community, and people are extremely passionate about the historic buildings within their town"

Craig Whittaker

MP for Calder Valley

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Our ‘Raise The Roof Project’ will extend the theatre, creating a larger foyer and improved entrance areas. New performance, exhibition and rehearsal spaces will be built, along with a home for our incredible archive.  We’ll be able to increase the range of events we present and open the theatre more often, securing the future of our Edwardian theatre for our community and volunteers.

Built in 1908, the Hippodrome Theatre is a brick built Edwardian Variety Theatre.  Despite the vision of the original owner, Richard Dewhirst, in creating a venue of this scale in a small West Yorkshire Mill Town, it struggled to make a profit and in 1912 an extension was rapidly built to house a cinema projection tower, allowing ‘talkies’ to be shown alongside live theatre events. 

It is this rapidly built extension that, ironically having been the saviour of the Hippodrome in 1912, is now the biggest risk to its future.  With a failing structure, this extension would require substantial work to renovate it.  T.A.O.D.S. has considered all the options and decided that this is a once in a generation opportunity and the time is right to do something truly transformational at the Hippodrome.

Whilst our Edwardian Auditorium is beautiful, it does not always lend itself to smaller scale and informal events.  The new ground floor area will allow us to expand the number and range of events we can present and offer many more opportunities to perform for our Youth Theatre.  We'll also be able to create much needed daytime activity within the town with a dementia café, exhibition space and access to our incredible archive of materials on the history of performing arts in Todmorden.


Accessibility is a serious barrier for both audience members and volunteers alike.  The new extension will create a fully accessible ground floor where people can be truly independent.  There will also be a lift to access the upper floors of the extension and a lift that will allow people with additional mobility needs to access our stage for the first time in the history of the Hippodrome.


The upper floors of the new extension will create spaces to be used for rehearsals and events.  With a business model that encompasses flexibility, they can be used for many types of event with one of the areas being fitted out to allow use as a cinema space.  The top level will also be the home for our Youth Theatre, allowing us to increase the numbers of young people that can join us from the current waiting lists. 


With a strong, resilient volunteer base and exceptional community support, our ‘Raise The Roof Project’ will create a landmark building for people to realise their dreams in the creative and dramatic arts and opportunities to be part of the running of one of the UK’s largest community run venues.


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23rd April 24

Members of our Youth Team supporting last week’s production of Shrek, took a break to receive a donation of £1,000 from The St Joseph's Players towards our Raise The Roof Project at the Hippodrome. It’s great to have such strong local support for our project to extend and improve the Hippodrome, and generous donations from local people and organisations will help us secure the future of our wonderful theatre.

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Thank you to The Brelms Trust for supporting our Raise The Roof Project with their grant of £4,700.  It's wonderful to have your support for our community project. 

21st April 24

28th March 24


We're delighted to announce that we have received a grant from The Foyle Foundation towards our Raise The Roof Project.  The £35,000 grant will contribute towards the completion of the new ground floor spaces created. We are very excited to have their support for our transformational project at the Hippodrome Theatre. 

12th March 24

Works to install our new cinema facility at the Hippodrome has now been completed.  There was a slight delay as the screen was held at customs in Italy, but at a test screening today it was amazing to see the quality of the new screen and projector and hear the incredible sound quality.  We'll now be working on some future events so that everyone can have the chance to get a professional cinema experience, right here in Todmorden. 

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Could you become part of our story?


We have a proud history of community support at the Hippodrome. We’re looking for local people and families who may be able to support the project with donations to help us reach our final target, securing the future of the Hippodrome in the heart of our community. 


All donations we receive will be publicly acknowledged within the new spaces we create. For more information, please contact our Project Manager, Steve Clarkson by email at


We’d love to make you part of our story of community support here at the Hippodrome.


Inspiring the architects of the future

We're delighted to be working in partnership with the Manchester School of Architecture on a project inspired by our Raise The Roof Project.  We welcomed almost 100 students and staff to the Hippodrome along with our architects Storah Architecture.  Students from MSA will be developing their own ideas and schemes for ways to develop period variety theatre buildings to create sustainable futures for them and we're honoured that they chose the Hippodrome to use as a template.  We can't wait to see the ideas they come up with!  We were delighted to give them the opportunity to see the original architects plans which we still hold in our archives. They're also carrying out an environmental survey to help us with future ventilation schemes. We're so proud to be supporting the architects of the future and hope they find a passion for working on theatre architecture projects in their professional work. 

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