A forum for black and minority ethnic voices, this space has a packed programme of subversive comedy, provocative art and politically engaged theatre
Sitting on the former site of the Aston Hippodrome on the edge of the city centre, The Drum Arts Centre has a programme that couldn’t be more different from that of its previous resident. Instead of traditional variety fare, The Drum’s two auditoriums – a 350-seat main room and the smaller Andy Hamilton studio, named after the popular saxophonist – are geared specifically towards providing a forum for black and minority ethnic people to be heard. It’s the kind of forum that (shamefully, considering Birmingham’s multi-cultural make-up) isn’t found at many other venues in the city.
The result is a programme of politically engaged theatre, socially relevant spoken word, subversive comedy and provocative art in the upstairs gallery, which feels as if it’s all developed naturally from the local Perry Barr, Aston, Newtown and Lozells communities that the venue has become a key part of.
Regular visitors Benjamin Zephaniah and musician Courtney Pine were recently made patrons of The Drum, using their influence to help raise funds for a significant refit of the venue planned in the next few years.
The food on offer at the bar isn’t quite as inspiring as the venue itself, but, handily, The Drum also sits opposite The Bartons Arms, a historic boozer that once had Laurel and Hardy stay over, and has the unique selling point of offering a completely Thai menu.
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|Transport:||Bus: 33, 51 Rail: Snow Hill Station|