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"
MP for Calder Valley
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.
30th Jan 24
We're delighted to announce that cinema will return to Todmorden in March 2024. Thanks to the Town Deal funding, a purpose built retractable cinema screen and laser projection will be installed. Along with improvements to our existing sound system, we'll be able to create a professional cinema space right here in Todmorden. More information soon on how you could get involved.
14th Jan 24
In January 2024 we were able to complete the purchase of a nearby building. This will allow us to create storage space for our incredible collection of costumes and props for productions. By moving this storage out of the Hippodrome we're able to create more public space within the new extension.
12th Dec 23
Our planning application for the extension and redevelopment works has been approved by Calderdale Council. This is a major achievement and means we can now progress with our project. Many thanks to everyone who supported the application and those who attended the consultation events, helping us to formulate our designs and plans.
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 email@example.com
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.