The Performing Arts
Connected to the Convention Centre, Symphony Hall, at Broad Street (tel. 0121/780-3333; www.thsh.co.uk.), has been hailed as an acoustical gem since its completion in 1990. Home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, it also hosts special classical music events.
The National Indoor Arena, King Edward's Road (tel. 0844/338-8000; www.necgroup.co.uk), seats 13,000 and is a favorite site for jazz, pop, and rock concerts; sporting events; and conventions.
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, on Broad Street, at Centenary Square (tel. 0121/236-4455; www.birmingham-rep.co.uk), houses one of the top companies in England. Some of the world's greatest actors have performed with the repertory company over the years, including Lord Olivier, Albert Finney, Paul Scofield, Dame Edith Evans, and Kenneth Branagh. The widely known "Rep" comprises the Main House, which seats 800 theatergoers, and the Door, a more intimate 120-seat venue that often stages new and innovative works. The box office is open from Monday through Saturday 10am to 8pm on performance days, 10am to 6pm on nonperformance days. Tickets cost £10 to £25.
Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Cannon Hill Park (tel. 0121/440-3838; www.macarts.co.uk) is close to the Edgbaston Cricket Ground and reached by car or bus (no. 1, 45, or 47). The MAC houses three performance areas and stages a lively range of drama, dance, and musical performances, as well as films. The box office is open daily from 9am to 8:45pm.
The Alexandra Theatre, Station Street (tel. 0870/607-7533; www.alexandratheatre.org.uk), hosts national touring companies, including productions from London's West End. The theater serves as a temporary home to many of England's touring companies. Contact the box office for show details.
Note: Tickets for all Birmingham theaters are available through Birmingham visitor offices.
The restored Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street (tel. 0844/338-5000; www.birminghamhippodrome.com), is home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet and visiting companies from around the world. It hosts a variety of events, from the Welsh National Opera to musicals to dance. The box office is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 8:30pm.
Clubs & Pubs
Boho Rooms, 52 Gas St., along the City Centre canal (tel. 0121/643-2572), is a converted warehouse with a bar and two nightclubs.
Otherwise, Broad Street has become the center of nightlife in Birmingham. Just walk up and down the street and pick your favorites. We like Revolution, Broad Street (tel. 0121/665-6508; www.revolution-bars.co.uk), a vodka bar drawing a hip collection of the younger-than-40 crowd.
Birmingham has a thriving gay and lesbian community, most of them seemingly packed at night into the Nightingale, on Kent Street (tel. 0121/6226-1718; www.nightingaleclub.co.uk), nicknamed "the Gale." With its five bars and two frenzied dance floors, it is the "Queer as Folk" choice. There's also a jazz lounge. The cover is £5, but this can vary. It's open Tuesday to Thursday 9pm to 2am, Friday 7pm to 4am, Saturday 7pm to 6am, and Sunday 7pm to 2am.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.