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The Drum (Arts Centre)

The Drum is an arts centre in the Newtown area of Aston, in Birmingham, England, established as the United Kingdom's national centre for Black British and British Asian arts. Activities include music, drama, spoken word, visual arts, comedy and dance.


The Drum occupies the site of the former Aston Hippodrome, which was a major variety theatre between 1908 and 1960. The Aston Hippodrome hosted performances by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Judy Garland and Morecambe and Wise. The building was demolished in 1980, but in 1991 Birmingham City Council set up a project to create a new cultural facility on the site, specifically to reflect the highly diverse culture of the surrounding area. The Drum started hosting events in 1994, the first being an exhibition called 'Negritude'. In 1996, the singer Cleo Laine accepted cheque from the National Lottery on behalf of The Drum. The Drum was fully opened in 1998.


The Drum has two auditoria - the 350 seat main auditorium and the 120 seat Andy Hamilton Studio (named after saxophonist Andy Hamilton) - along with, an exhibition space, a cafe-bar, a business suite and a multimedia production suite.

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