After a six month shutdown, The Hippodrome is finally reopening its doors.
From October 8, the venue will host Van Gogh Alive – “a multi sensory experience giving visitors the sensation of walking inside the paintings of one of the world’s most famous artists”.
Van Gogh Alive has been presented in over 50 international cities including Madrid, Rome, Milan, Abu Dhabi and Beijing.
Hosting the the UK premiere of the family friendly exhibition, which has won rave reviews around the globe, is a huge coup for the Hippodrome – struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dutch post-impressionist painter’s work including Sunflowers, The Starry Night, and over 3,000 more images will be digitally displayed on giant screens, walls, ceiling, floor of the Hippodrome main stage.
Visitors will also be able to smell fragrances specifically designed to evoke the setting of the paintings.
The exhibition which runs until December 3 will adhere to social distancing and strict Covid safety guidelines, with bookings made in alloted time slots.
A spokeswoman for the Hippodrome added: “For first time the audience will be allowed on to our main stage – where Van Gogh Alive will take place – giving you the sensation of walking straight into his paintings – engaging all senses – sight, sound and smell.”
Like many businesses, the theatre has been forced to adapt its business model post Covid.
Fiona Allan, the Hippodrome’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “It being financially unviable for Birmingham Hippodrome to reopen for live performance until social distancing guidance is relaxed, we have had to completely rethink how to use the building and how to serve our public.
“The opportunity to do something completely different with our spaces, and still provide a high quality and compelling cultural experience, came at exactly the right moment.”
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street praised the venue for “adapting and thinking outside the box” to overcome the challenges of working post Covid.
Mr Street added: “Many sectors are going through an incredibly difficult period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the arts is no exception.”
Last week we reported how arts complex MAC Birmingham which has also been closed since March is making mass redundancies.
MAC which operates as a charity, housed theatre, dance, music and comedy performance space as well as a cinema – is closed until 2021.
MAC’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director Deborah Kermode said: “It is of the upmost importance to all of us at MAC that as a charity, we will reopen for our community in a stronger position and work through this unprecedented financial pressure.
“Sadly, this means when we do reopen, we will need to be a different organisation than when we closed some of our services may need to adapt – and the staff teams will not look the same.”
The arrival of Van Gogh Alive in Brum, is a welcome tourist boost to the city after the cancellation of several popular arts, entertainment events later this year including the Hippodrome panto season.
Van Gogh Alive, the experience runs from Thursday October 8 to Thursday December 31.
For more info and tickets for Van Gogh Alive go to the Hippodrome website.
What Grande Exhibitions, organisers of the event, say about Van Gogh Alive:
“Venture into an exciting new world; forego all preconceived ideas of traditional museum visits, dispel all notions of tiptoeing through silent art galleries to view masterpieces from afar, change how you engage with art.
“Vitalize your senses and challenge your beliefs in a completely unique, stimulating Vincent van Gogh exhibition experience.
“Be prepared for a vibrant symphony of light, color and sound, combined and amplified to create what visitors are calling “an unforgettable multi-sensory experience”.
” In an instant, Van Gogh Alive transports visitors to another time and place, immersing them in the artists’ world.
“Adults and children alike, wander throughout the space, exploring nooks and crannies and engaging with the experience in a manner that transcends traditional installations.”