Programmes

You can search a selection of Birmingham Hippodrome programmes held by the theatre, The Library of Birmingham and in private collections.

Victorian theatre programmes were cheap printed pamphlets with a simple cast list, given away to people on the street. Not many of these have survived through time!

But not all programmes were made of paper. From the 1700s until around 1914 silk and satin playbills and programmes were made to celebrate special events such as openings or important performances.

By the 1900s programmes were more magazine in style with coloured covers and illustrations. They had paper seals to protect them from being re-sold.

During the time Moss Empires operated Birmingham Hippodrome its programme designs were nearly identical to all the other theatres on the circuit. A number of programme proofs with handwritten notes in the collection show how programmes were changed for different venues.

Today’s programmes are glossy booklets packed full of content from features about the performers and performance to advertisements, articles and even quizzes.

Programmes are collectable souvenirs and an important part of the theatregoing experience. For many they trigger memories of a good night out.