Sex, Drugs and Gala Bingo! Heres yet another 'Gala'd up' theatre in the west midlands area. We happened to be driving past, took a look and bumped into a bunch of chavs stealing a toaster ffs..! The pikeys have been in recently for an 'exploritory mission' but other then that its still in pretty good nick. The bingo conversion has covered most areas but we found a few secrets tucked away, a set of conceled stairs to some old dressing rooms and the flys for example! The projection rooms appeared to have been eaten up by the bingo monster at some point and it was hard to really work out where they would have been exactly.. Pictures are a bit medioca but we spent much more time raking than anything else!
The Hippodrome, built as a â€˜twice nightlyâ€™ theatre in 1938 next door to the Plaza and opposite the Odeon Cinema, replaced the Opera House, destroyed by fire in 1936, on the same site. Externally like a super cinema of the time, in buff brick. At the centre, above the canopy, there were originally glazed, now blind, panels between the brick end bays, divided by two tall brick mullions. Above this a deep brick attic is divided by five horizontal bands. The name HIPPODROME in a central panel has been removed. Plain flank. Fly tower. Small foyer. The fan-shaped auditorium has not been destructively altered for bingo use. Stalls rake rises to a rear terrace. Single, steeply raked, deep balcony. Square proscenium with moulded architrave. Ceiling and walls with simple moulded ornament. Major adaptations have been made within the stage house. The building is well maintained and the interior still has a theatrical â€˜feelâ€™. It would be possible to return it to live use, but it would be necessary to remove the structural steelwork inserted in the fly tower. The stage is quite shallow, but there is open land at the rear.