Hit production boosts local economy.
Disney’s The Lion King will complete its sell-out run at Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday, having delighted over 190,000 theatregoers and generated millions of pounds for the local economy. The award-winning musical, which began on Saturday 29 June, will close at the theatre on Saturday 28 September having played 109 performances.
The legendary musical, the largest touring theatre production in UK history, attracted visitors from every corner of the Globe. Audience members travelled from as far afield as New Zealand, Kuwait and from throughout Europe, as well as UK patrons visiting from Inverness through Brighton.
Birmingham Hippodrome reported that over 50% were new first-time bookers to the theatre, with huge benefits for the city. “Millions of pounds” were generated for Southside bars, restaurants and shopping districts, as well as the thousands of patrons the production attracted to Birmingham who stayed overnight in one of the City’s hotels.
Ian Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, which is responsible for promoting the city as a place to visit, meet and invest, believes hosting leading productions such as The Lion King can help reach new visitor markets and boost the local economy. He said: “The Hippodrome is at the heart of Birmingham’s internationally celebrated theatre scene, attracting world-class performances from around the globe. The Lion King is the largest production ever to play the venue and brought with it huge commercial appeal, helping to attract many first time tourists to Birmingham. Bringing 190,000 additional visitors to the city – half of whom had not booked tickets at the Hippodrome previously – the show has significantly benefited local businesses, driving footfall to our many hotels, restaurants and retail outlets. We would conservatively estimate that benefit to be in the millions of pounds.”
Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Birmingham Hippodrome, said: “Working with Disney for the past two years bringing The Lion King to Birmingham has been one of the most rewarding challenges the Hippodrome team has ever undertaken. It’s a massive show requiring great teamwork and huge numbers came into Birmingham from far and wide for this high quality experience. We’re delighted that the summer has been such a ‘roaring’ success and we can’t wait to welcome another Disney show back very soon!”
The touring production now moves on to Edinburgh for a 15-week season at the Playhouse, marking the first time the musical will play in Scotland. Meanwhile, the acclaimed West End production continues to play at London’s Lyceum Theatre, where it is entering its 15th triumphant year.