Belgrade celebrate their 5th Anniversary in theatrical style!


Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre celebrated the 5th anniversary of the theatre’s reopening in style last weekend with a special Gala Evening hosted by Artistic Director Hamish Glen, a 2ft cake and a celebratory party.

On Friday 21 September Artistic Director Hamish Glen and Associate Director of the Belgrade Community & Education Company, Justine Themen took to the Main Stage to discuss the journey the theatre has been on and what the future holds, especially in light of recent funding cuts from the arts council and the local council.

During the talk, which was compered by Martin Coyne, Managing Director of Ludgate Finance and a member of the Belgrade’s Business Development Committee, Hamish and Justine spoke candidly about the theatre’s achievements over the last five years, both onstage and in the local community via the Belgrade Community & Education Company.

They also talked about the theatre’s plans and aspirations moving forward which includes continuing to bring the history of Coventry to life on stage with a new play about the city to follow One Night in November, Too Much Pressure and We Love You City. For the Community & Education Company, this means continuing to work with new communities and marginalised members of society and developing the newest strand of work with members of the 50+ community.

Hamish Glen said, “When we reopened the theatre in 2007 after being closed for 18 months, we were faced with the challenge of getting our audience back. Fortunately people came back in their droves and we’ve sold over 680,000 tickets since reopening, which is a real achievement. We pride ourselves on being a local theatre for local people and it was great to celebrate the 5th Anniversary with the people of Coventry who continue to support us and the work that we do. My aim is to make sure the next five years are as good as, if not better than the last five, with an exciting programme of artistic work on both stages and remaining active in the local community, via the Community & Education Company.”

After the talk, guests were invited to watch either a performance of Marc Bolan musical 20th Century Boy on the Main Stage or Geoff Thompson’s drama Fragile in B2 before attending a post-show party.

Entertainment on the night was provided by the newly formed Community & Education Company choir and live band The Kustom, who kept people dancing until the early hours. Guests toasted the success of the theatre with a glass of fizz and a slice of the hugely impressive 2ft tall celebration cake, which was made by Mamma Jamma Cakes in the shape of a theatre chair.

The Gala Evening and party was the culmination of a month of celebratory events that took place at the theatre throughout September, including an exhibition of production photographs, screenings of work created by the Belgrade Community & Education Company and a short film featuring people’s memories of the Belgrade.