Working to save the most important unused theatre in the UK
About us


CIC logo

The Brighton Hippodrome Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed as the vehicle for carrying forward the management of capital fundraising and project management, to develop the business plan and commission all the necessary work to bring the project to fruition.

∎ We are passionate about theatre, music and all forms of live performance.
∎ We are dedicated to establishing the Hippodrome for the social wellbeing and interest of the local community.
∎ We will practice and encourage the pursuit of excellence.
∎ We value the principles of diversity and equality.
∎ We respect and will work with neighbours in the Old Town area and the wider city community to ensure harmonious and creative relationships.


To restore the Brighton Hippodrome to its former glory and to operate it as a receiving/producing theatre with a commercial partner and to provide facilities for community activity and involvement.


∎ To secure the future of the Hippodrome and Hippodrome House for live performance.
∎ To restore the building, especially the Frank Matcham interior of the main auditorium.
∎ To be the major stimulus in the regeneration of Middle Street and the Old Town.

∎ To serve as the key performance venue in Brighton and Hove, to complement other venues and working with them to develop the city's role as the regional hub for theatre, music and the arts.
∎ To promote theatre arts through performance, training and education.
∎ To establish a strong commercial partnership with an established theatre management company as the basis for taking the operation of the theatre forward.
∎ To provide a year-round programme of performances across the range of styles: drama, musical, opera, ballet, circus, pantomime, that will entertain and inspire visitors with a wide range of tastes and preferences.
∎ To enhance the cultural offer of Brighton and Hove.
∎ To develop and sustain an ongoing and expansive business plan through commercial entrepreneurialism and careful financial management.
∎ To make a significant contribution to Brighton and Hove's tourist economy.
∎ To extend the heritage and traditions of the Hippodrome by laying the foundations for a positive future in the modern age for decades to come.
∎ To create a flexible, state-of-the-art modern theatre in a historic building that will enjoy a high international reputation as a flagship venue.

∎ To become a producing as well as receiving house, originating productions that can subsequently tour the country.
∎ To develop a second auditorium/performance space to be used for smaller productions, as an art-house cinema, for meetings and talks, and as a rehearsal room.
∎ To establish the theatre as an educational centre for community programmes and academic research.
∎ To take advantage of the Hippodrome's unique size and flexibility to innovate in presentations styles, setting a standard as the beacon of theatre practice for theatres nationally and internationally.

The board of directors comprises the following.

Professor Gavin Henderson CBE
chairs the CIC. Principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama from 2006 to 2020, he had extensive experience in theatres, festivals and arts centres around the country before in 1984 succeeding Sir Ian Hunter as Artistic Director of the Brighton Festival, doing much to expand the Festival's profile as a centre for international theatre and dance. In tandem he directed the Dartington International Summer School, where he succeeded Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as Artistic Director, from 1985 until 2010.

David Fisher
was editor of the international media business/technology journal Screen Digest for 39 years, executive editor of Television: Journal of the Royal Television Society for four years, a government advisor on film and screen media, consultant to two government departments on cinema data, postgraduate-level lecturer in European cultural policy at the University of Warwick, and representative of UK interests in the Council of Europe's European Audiovisual Observatory. Now a local and media historian, author of Cinema-by-Sea: Film and cinema in Brighton & Hove since 1896 and the and websites. He is a trustee of the Regency Society.

Liz McCarthy
has been the director of development at the Theatre Royal Stratford East since 2018. She joined the corporate development team at the National Theatre in 2007 and held various posts, becoming head of corporate development in 2015.

Steve Pavey
was Finance and Business Director at the University of Sussex for 10 years. He is or has been honorary treasurer/trustee of a number of charities, including the West Pier Trust, for which he managed funding of the i360 tourist attraction on the Brighton seafront. He was on the board of the Gardner Arts Centre for many years, was chair of the Actors of Dionysus and is joint-chair of the Clifton Montpelier & Powis Community Alliance. He is keen on bringing the discipline of good corporate governance into the charity world.

Steve Piper
was general manager of the Brighton Dome complex for 10 years until he became managing director of Brighton City Venues, including the Brighton Centre, in 1998. From 2010 he was Director of Venues for BH Live, the trust that operated leisure, arts and cultural venues and services in Bournemouth. He is now an independent consultant.

Dr Helen Walker
is an independent policy consultant working to support sustainable communities, with a background in local authority planning policy. Currently a lecturer in planning at the University of Brighton, she has held academic appointments at the universities of Westminster, UCL, Leeds and Portsmouth. She is a special consultant to DCLG's Select Committee. She is a member of the National Committee of the Civic Trust Awards and a trustee of the Regency Society, the West Pier Trust and of Fabrica Gallery, Brighton.



Architectural consultant
John Muir
is an architect whose practice has a long history of work in the commercial theatre and entertainment sector, including extended periods handling the building works of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, Stoll Moss Theatres and the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG).The practice also acted for eight years as house architects for the Tussauds Group. He was a trustee of The Theatres Trust from 1995 to 2004.

Theatre consultant
David Blyth
was Head of Operations of the local authority-run Fairfield Halls Arts Complex in Croydon from 1987 until joining Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) in 1992, becoming Head of Operations in 1997. In 2000 he joined the board as Operations Director and in 2011 was appointed Property Director, with responsibility for the portfolio of 39 venues across the UK, America and Australia. He retired from ATG in 2015. He is chairman of the Marina Theatre Trust in Lowestoft and a trustee of the Theatres Trust.

Our funding support: £115,000+ to date
Historic England logo     HLF logo     AHF logo   Theatres Trust logo
CRF banner   Pilgrim Trust   Swire Charitable Trust   Regency Society logo   


Image: The galleried lantern in the main auditorium's dome

Page updated 26 July 2021