Traditional carol concerts, live science experiments, a children’s production, seasonal favourites and a jukebox musical straight from the West End. These are just some of the presents at Town Hall & Symphony Hall this Christmas, offering audiences more events to enjoy than ever before.
The biggest festive season to date from Birmingham’s two major concert halls features over 100 performances with something for everyone – from lovers of Christmas tradition, to friends and work colleagues looking for a great night, as well as those seeking an afternoon of entertainment for the whole family.
Highlights include twenty-two performances of spectacular West End musical Thriller Live, explosive science from TVs Dr Bunhead and a brand-new production of award-winning children’s book What the Ladybird Heard. Catatonia front-woman Cerys Matthews, Welsh male voice choir Only Men Aloud and popular pianist and bandleader Jools Holland feature alongside classical favourites the Russian Patriarchate Choir and Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and the traditional Symphony Hall Christmas Festival with its usual offering of carols and cheer.
The Christmas Tradition
A Christmas Celebration from the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge on Thursday 26 November heralds the beginning of the festive season with the Choir – who gave a sold-out Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah last year – returning to Symphony Hall with Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.
There is plenty to keep festive traditionalists entertained, including a chance to Sing Carols with the City Organist, listen to some Lunchtime Christmas Music and enjoy some Carols by Candlelight presented by acclaimed actor Robert Powell.
A capella group Black Voices will be putting a gospel spin on traditional favourites in a performance at Town Hall as will the award-winning Town Hall Gospel Choir who play at The Drum. Actor Clive Francis returns to Town Hall to give two readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – 160 years after the author premiered the book on the same stage – and the Russian Patriarchate Choir will be conjuring up the dark snowy landscapes of their homeland in a performance at Symphony Hall.
The ever-popular Symphony Hall Christmas Festival returns, from 20 December until 5 January 2014, with favourites including The Glory of Christmas, Christmas Carol Singalong, The Four Seasons by Candlelight and the annual New Year’s Eve Gala Concert. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year Concert features Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 and Bruch’s Violin Concerto, among a programme of other classical favourites, and the London Concert Orchestra will be performing The Very Best of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Great Nights Out
For a great night out with a difference, Thriller Live arrives in Birmingham for 22 performances from Tuesday 17 December (until Sunday 5 January 2014, ICC Hall 1), taking audiences on an electrifying journey through the magic of Michael Jackson’s 30 year musical history. Described by The Stage as a ‘breathtaking celebration’, expect two hours of non-stop hits including favourite songs Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean and many more from a spectacular show which has been seen by over two million people in 26 countries.
There’s plenty of evening entertainment at Symphony Hall over the festive period too, including performances from the ever popular Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Only Men Aloud and the Bootleg Beatles.
Roy Wood will be joined by special guests The Proclaimers for a concert celebrating 40 years of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day at Symphony Hall, whilst Cerys Matthews will be performing at Town Hall. The Catatonia front-woman’s exclusive gig opens with an intimate solo set, before she is joined in the second half by a specially assembled band of exceptional players.
Christmas with the Rat Pack brings 1950s Las Vegas to Symphony Hall, with well-loved show tunes and a handful of seasonal classics, whilst rock ‘n’ roll variety show That’ll Be The Day comes to Town Hall, with a brand new Christmas production. Jingle Bell Christmas brings some seasonal cheer with festive hits, including Jingle Bell Rock and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and on Christmas Eve there is plenty of joyous and traditional music in The Glory of Christmas. Bond and Beyond celebrates the UK’s most famous secret service member with music and songs from the last 50 years.
Something for Families
Three family friendly shows take place at Town Hall throughout December and into early January, starting with Horrible Science. Using actors and jaw-dropping 3D Bogglevision, this seriously squishy show is guaranteed to thrill parents and children alike. The scientific theme continues when TVs Dr Bunhead attempts to answer important questions such as ‘Can reindeer really fly?’ and ‘Custard vs jelly – which is more flammable?’ in his very explosive, Very Dangerous Christmas Show.
There is an exciting treat in store for younger family members too, with a brand-new adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ award-winning picture book What the Ladybird Heard (20 December – 10 January 2014, Town Hall). From the producers of The Gruffalo, this farmyard adventure contains live music, plenty of audience participation and one or two special surprises! As part of this run, Town Hall & Symphony Hall will be presenting their very first Relaxed Performance – open to everyone but specially designed for people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, a learning disability or sensory and communication disorder; a great way for families to experience live performances together in an adapted environment.
Families can also take advantage of some special ticket offers on selected Symphony Hall shows, including Jingle Bell Christmas, The Glory of Christmas and Bond and Beyond.
THSH also has your gift dilemmas solved! At just £15, a gift membership lasts all year and offers advance notice of on-sale dates as well as benefits on THSH bars, parking and cloakroom and more. Gift vouchers are also available and are redeemable against all THSH shows.
Concerts take place across Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham. Full details, tickets and information are available from the Box Office on 0121 780 3333 or www.thsh.co.uk/christmas2013.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Town Hall & Symphony Hall Box Office
0121 780 3333
*A £2.50 fee per transaction will be charged on all bookings, except purchases made in person at the Town Hall or Symphony Hall Box Office. A further charge of £1 will be applied for postage if required.
Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a Registered Charity No 1053937. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to music from jazz, folk, world, roots and classical, to rock and pop. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and almost 12,000 young people and 6,000 adults participate in the thriving Education and Community programme.
Funded by Birmingham City Council
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England
Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).
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