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Birmingham Hippodrome has announced the resignation of artistic director and general manager Fiona Allan, who is leaving to take charge of Opera Australia.

Allan joined Birmingham Racecourse in 2015 and oversaw an important period of development for the independent charity.

Meanwhile, the organization has doubled the number of people it reaches through live performances, educational programs, festivals and the visual arts to more than one million per year.

Leaving Birmingham Racecourse Allan said: “I loved being in Birmingham and I am particularly sad to be heading out on the eve of our Commonwealth Games year. During my time here I enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life and fell in love with the youthful energy of the city.

“There is incredible talent in Birmingham, and the arts and culture scene is absolutely thriving. I am honored to have played a role in helping artists create new work here which is now touring the UK and around the world.

She added, “The Hippodrome team and board of directors have been amazing in advancing an agenda of change that has allowed us to double our annual impact and become a much more inclusive organization. We’ve made huge strides over the past five years, only stopping for the challenges of the past year as our theater itself has been closed to live performances.

“Despite these challenges, we still reached over 850,000 people through art installations, the Van Gogh Alive experience, digital streaming events and our extensive work in schools and communities. I have no doubt that Birmingham Racecourse will emerge from this period stronger, more energetic and more resilient than ever. “

Allan has served on several local and national boards. She currently chairs the West Midlands Regional Tourism Board, sits at the Midlands Arts and Midlands Engine Business Councils, and is a director of the West Midlands Growth Company.

BHTT President Glenn Howells said: “Fiona’s ambitions for Birmingham Racecourse were clear from the start; she was determined to make Birmingham Racecourse a more diverse cultural organization, building on the legacy and successes so beautifully demonstrated at our 120th celebrations.

“Fiona’s triumphs in the role are too numerous to mention, but the highlights for me include producing West Side Story with 40 talented youngsters from the West Midlands in the summer of 2019; the opening night of Color Purple that same year, the stunning Van Gogh Alive exhibit that brought our building to life during the darkest days of the Covid crisis. Additionally, we saw the Board of Directors and management teams come together to advance an ambitious agenda for change in inclusion, diversity and anti-racism under his leadership.

“We are sad to see Fiona go, but we are reassured that she leaves behind a strong and talented team that will continue to grow and develop her incredible legacy.”