Aston Hippodrome Theatre

144 Potter's Lane,
Birmingham, B6 4UU

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Barrasford Circuit

Architects: James Lea, Lister Lea

Firms: James Lea & Sons

Styles: Art Deco, Neo-Classical

Nearby Theaters

Aston Hippodrome Theatre

Located in the Birmingham inner-city district of Aston, just to the north of the city centre, on Potter’s Lane at the corner with Aston High Street. Part of Thomas Barrasford’s chain of variety theatres, the Aston Hippodrome Theatre was opened on 7th December 1908 with a variety bill, which included as part of the programme ‘Hipposcope Pictures’. Films continued to be screened as part of the programme through the early years and every Wednesday afternoons when Picture Matinee’s were screened. The theatre was designed by architects James Lea & Lister Lea. Seating was provided in stalls, dress circle and balcony levels.

The Aston Hippodrome Theatre was later taken over as an independent variety theatre, so was not on the No 1 circuit of the main No. 1 operated theatres such as Stoll Moss Empire Theatres. On 12th February 1938, it was badly damaged by a fire, and was closed for 6 months. It re-opened with a Art Deco style auditorium. Over the years, many famous stars appeared here, including Wee Georgie Wood, Gracie Fields, George Formby, Sid Fields, Ted Ray, Sandy Powell, Morecambe & Wise & Larry Grayson.

In later years in was taken over by the Butterworth chain of variety theatres. In 1951, Judy Garland made an impromptu appearance when she was at the theatre one night during her stay in Birmingham, appearing at the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre. She was asked to go on-stage to join the cast of an Irish show who were appearing at the Aston Hippodrome. She gave a solo rendition of ‘Danny Boy’ and joined the troupe for ‘Its a Great Day For the Irish’. Laurel & Hardy appeared for a week in May 1951, on their last British tour. They stayed at the Barton Arms Hotel across the street from the theatre. Pantomimes were staged at Christmas.

The Aston Hippodrome Theatre was closed on 4th June 1960 with the revue show “The A - Z in Striptease” playing for the final week. It was converted into a Mecca Bingo Club, which operated into the 1970’s. The building was demolished in September 1980. The Drum Arts Centre was built on the site, which is the UK’s leading black-led arts centre.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Robbie25646 on September 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

My uncle Walter Bates took me to see several of the “striptease” shows as as teenager an my parents too me to several pantomimes in the 1950’s also a friend of mine worked in the box-office for many years.Wonderful memories!

Mike_Blakemore on October 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

@ Robbie25646 Have put a picture of a Panto Advert card

CSWalczak on October 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

This webpage includes some interior shots of the theatre when it was in use as a bingo club.

Robbie25646 on February 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Mike Blakemore thank you for posting the panto advert It brought back many fond memories of a lovely old theatre.

Mike_Blakemore on February 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Hi Robbie.. I have another one to put on. and I have a press picture of Laurel & Hardy. When I am in the mood I will be doing a item on “The Butterworth Circuit” It should have never been knocked dowm. The replacement building __________

Laurel & Hardy

hipplay on March 24, 2017 at 4:44 am

A lovely historical Theatre that should never have been demolished. I remember seeing the strip shows there. Terry “TobyJug” Cantor used to put on a different show every week. I saw Frankie Vaughn there when he first started. Yes, Larry Grayson worked there. I worked with him in the Midland working mens clubs but then he used his real name Billy Breen..Wonderful funny comedian. Danny La Rue also appeared there in a show called “Splinters” with Jimmy Slater a well known female impersonator. The Hippodrome sometimes held a talent show and I remember a young boy who always won because he would walk onto the stage with crutches and whistle “In A Monastery Garden” I often wondered if he really could walk without the crutches. I also saw “Jane” from the Daily Mirror with her dog “Fritz” A comedian named Stan Vann used to appear there. He looked like Larry from the 3 stooges and played a violin..Great memories

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.