Up close and personal with JT, otherwise known as Jonathan Thompson, head of visitor services at Birmingham Hippodrome
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I have worked at the theatre for 15 years. It is an amazing and rewarding role and beautiful place to work. The theatre is known for the amazing performances on the main stage, but also the work in the local community. Welcoming more than 500,000 people through the doors each year keeps us all very busy!
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
Depends on what time I start work – it can be anything from 8am to 3pm. I live in Bearwood and the Hagley Road has a bus service every 10 minutes. I run home via the canal network as I am in training for the Birmingham and Brighton marathons. If I am finishing late at night, I’ll drive.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
I have seen an amazing change in the city over the years – the Bullring, Grand Central and now all the work around Paradise Forum that is going to look stunning. When I got the job, I remember my family asking why on earth did I want to move here? Now they see why. There is an amazing atmosphere in the city. And it’s so central – I often pop down and watch a show in London and make the last train back. My family are in Staffordshire and Lincoln, so it’s just onto the motorway. Easy!
I like the Quarter Horse Coffee on Bristol Street. Great venue and coffee – and it’s just around the corner from the theatre.
It’s normally grab-and-go when you can. In the ‘showbiz world’ you never know what you are going to be dealing with. I can be working Front of House welcoming audiences, be in planning meetings, greeting VIPs or dealing with first-aid incidents!
I’ll often stroll to the Bullring for a little retail therapy!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
The Mailbox is lovely now after its refurbishment and has a great vibe to it.
I’m a dry white wine drinker and like to go to either Thorp 17 bar or the Loft Lounge. Days off, it’s the Plough in Harborne. Great beer garden and I love the pizza, burgers or Cuban sandwich with spicy fries!
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
I would love to see a few more independent bars and restaurants open (more family home cooked meals like pasta, pizza, etc) rather than a lot of chains of restaurants.