Life in Birmingham 


Birmingham, the city of reinvention, transforming itself from an industrial heritage into a vibrant, young and creative hub for future talent. Statistics show the city is fast becoming the destination of choice for those wishing to escape the expense of London in terms of production and living, but still lead an affordable cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Birmingham is a city bursting with culture and holds a significant place in the creative arts industry. With a rich musical heritage, vibrant theatre scene and big budget film productions like Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One and Kingsman: The Golden Circle taking place in the city there are so many opportunities for new performers.

More recently, the triumphant spectacle that was the Commonwealth Games took place in Birmingham over the summer of 2022. The Games took place all around the Midlands, as far out as Coventry in the south and Cannock Chase Forest in the north. But the majority of the action took place right on our doorstep in Birmingham: athletics, gymnastics, racket sports, cricket and much more, all entertained the crowds in venues in the heart of the city.

At the heart of this activity is Digbeth, where you will find BIMM Institute’s Birmingham campus, which comprises Screen and Film School and Performers College. Digbeth is a highly creative district located to the south of the city centre and is known for being a hub for artistic people. The juxtaposition of old industrial buildings with contemporary creative endeavours gives Digbeth its distinctive charm.

Birmingham Cityscape, England, UK
view of birmingham canal from bridge

While historically recognised for its industrial legacy as the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ due to the vast number of industries and businesses that flocked to the area towards the end of the 19th Century, Birmingham is actually one the UK’s greenest districts, featuring 600 parks and open spaces accumulating to over 8,000 acres.

You only need to scratch the surface to see that Birmingham is a city with so much to shout about. Bursting at the seams with heritage and culture, the city boasts more canals than Venice (yes, really!), more Michelin-star restaurants than any other UK city besides London, and one of the country’s busiest theatres (The Alexandra).

Birmingham is also home to the youngest population in Europe. With its unrivalled nightlife and clubs in Birmingham, world-class library facilities and programme of inner-city festivals, this city is made for its students.

The city also holds over 50 festivals annually, including the Birmingham Film Festival, the Flat Pack Film Festival, the Birmingham International Jazz Festival and the Fierce Art Festival, to name but a few. It’s not just an exciting and vibrant scene to enjoy socially – it’s an opportunity to meet and work with talented individuals from all aspects of the arts world.

Birmingham Hippodrome
Hurst Street

The Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the most popular theatres in the country and has over half a million people visit each year.

The Alexandra
Suffolk Street Queensway

Both The Birmingham Rep and The Alexandra Theatre have excellent programmes of musicals and plays, with affordable student tickets available.

The Rep
Centenary Square

The city’s world-class producing theatre, creating inclusive, exciting and exceptional theatre by, with and for Birmingham and the wider world.

World Class Arenas
Utilitia and Resorts World Arenas

Utilita and Resorts World Arenas host international touring artists and shows.

Royal Shakespeare Company
Stratford Upon Avon

A short trip from Birmingham, The Royal Shakespeare Company in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon is the place to experience classical theatre in all its glory.

Birmingham is home to three of the country’s top theatres and a wide range of entertainment venues.

Opened in 1901 as The Lyceum, before renaming in 1902, The Alexandra has played host to such legendary shows as Grease, Summer Holiday, West Side Story and Oliver! with more recent hits such as Everybody’s Talking About Jamie finding a home in there 1093’s Art Deco auditorium too. Also from that golden era, The Hippodrome is on Hurst Street in Birmingham’s Chinatown, and has seen Wicked, Matilda, Annie, Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot and Les Miserables and many more iconic productions grace its stage. Both are also no stranger to pantomime, with the city’s top annual shows selling out all of their seats.

The Birmingham Rep produces its own shows in its three auditoria on Centenary Square, priding themselves as an inclusive and creative company.

Their neighbours Town Hall and Symphony Hall regularly feature opera, ballet and symphonic entertainment.

Along side these legendary establishments, Birmingham features a diverse range of independent arts organisations and groups for you to get involved in.

Performers College Stage production colourful suitcases
Birmingham, Festival, of, Light, Birmingham England.,March/03/2019,Event,With

It’s hard to get much more diverse than Birmingham’s vibrant and bustling night time scene, featuring some of the best bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants the UK has to offer, from popular chains to unique boutique establishments, a flavour for every taste.

A rich and eclectic mix of theatre, live music, comedy and clubbing is available, whether it’s a retro and soul night you fancy at The Night Owl, a 1940’s style cinema evening at The Electric Cinema, hilarity at stand-up spot The Glee Club, indie vibes at Snobs, or a mad night out devastating the dance floor at top clubs such as Lab11, The Tunnel Club, The Rainbow Venues, Hare and Hounds, the O2 Academy and The Mill.

Birmingham is an inclusive city, and the LGBTQI+ community have their very own ‘gaybourhood’ which is centered along Hurst Street, next to the Chinese Quarter in the city centre. Clubs such as The Nightingale, Bolts and the Village Inn are weekly hotspots, whilst Club Kids Birmingham run events hosted by legendary RuPaul’s Drag Race stars such as Miz Cracker, Shea Coulee, Thorgy Thor and Bebe Zahara Benet.

There’s also Birmingham Pride held every Spring Bank Holiday weekend which attracts over 70,000 visitors each year and offers a variety of day and night time events for everyone to enjoy.

If headline acts are your thing you’ve come to the right place. Birmingham Resorts World Arena has featured A listers such as Adele, Metallica, Emelie Sandé and the Killers. The Utilita Arena has hosted Ariana Grandé, Harry Styles, Queen, Elton John, Pete Tong and Erasure, with something for everyone’s tastes.

No cosmopolitan city is complete without a vast array of eateries and restaurants to suit varying tastes, and Birmingham excels in attracting not only popular chains of restaurants, pizzerias and fast food, but a stunning range of fine restaurants in which to lose yourself for a few hours.

Starting life in 2012 as a popular Birmingham burger stall, the Meat Shack, now located on Thorp Street opposite the Hippodrome Theatre, boasts a saliva seducing menu ‘Dripping Filthy Goodness’ to get the taste buds of the more carnivorous customer tingling.

If dirty burgers aren’t your scene and you’re looking for something a bit more chić, one of Birmingham’s most highly regarded chefs, Aktar Islam, delivers his delicious modern interpretation of Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine at the stylish and sophisticated venue Opheem, earning the esteemed restaurant a Michelin star in the process.

Right here in Digbeth, you’ll have fun food outlets like Rico Libre, Chance and Counters (also a board game café!) and Baked in Brick.

Of course, there are fast food joints like Five Guys, Popeye’s, Roscoe’s, and all the other well-known high street chains to suit any budget. Oh, and we hear our neighbours Kanteen serve some of the city’s best vegan sausage rolls and subs. You’re welcome, plant lovers.

No matter what your taste, Birmingham proves itself as a city full of flavour.

Birmingham Baked in brick 683x1024
Birmingham Shopping centre

Get your retail fix in Birmingham’s iconic Bullring Centre, with its 110,000 square-metre retail space, including the attention-grabbing exterior of the Selfridges store with its 15,000 aluminium disks.

Home to the largest Chinatown outside of London and the biggest jewellery quarter in Europe, it’s easy to see why Birmingham is one of England’s top three most visited places to shop.

Support the city’s local retailers at The Custard Factory, and get down to COW Vintage – a student’s favourite for finding clothes, and Red Brick Market is for bits and bobs.

Birmingham has more parks than any other European city of its size, ten of which boast the prestigious Green Flag Award.

Cannon Hill Park is one of the city’s most famous spaces, spanning 250 acres, including woodland and sports spaces. During the summer, this is the place for boating, fishing, bowls, tennis, putting, picnics and more.

St. Phillips Cathedral grounds are right in the city centre, known to locals as ‘Pigeon Park’, and are a prime spot for outdoor relaxation between shopping and dining.

You can also get your fresh air fix at Sutton Park (the largest urban nature reserve in Europe) and the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which dates back to the Victorian era.

Pigeon Park, Birmingham


What better way to explore the canals and wider region than by bike? There are cycle lanes or paths on many major routes into and across the city that take in some of the most beautiful parks and waterways en route. National cycle route five also runs through Birmingham.


There are buses to all suburbs and areas of Birmingham, making it a brilliant city for accessible, affordable travel. Night buses also go throughout the evening and early hours, making getting home after a night out or gig easy.


TAO taxis are Birmingham’s black cab operators. They can be hailed in the street (old school) or reached at one of the many taxi ranks throughout the city. The main taxi ranks are New Street Station, Stephenson Street and Digbeth Coach Station. You can also bell in an Uber right from your phone.


Birmingham has eight local railways that cross the city. Birmingham New Street is the largest and busiest of the three main railway stations in the city centre. It’s also the central hub of the British railway system and makes travelling throughout the UK a breeze.

Have you got a gig in the surrounding cities and towns? Midland Metro makes getting between Birmingham and Wolverhampton simple.


Birmingham has its own airport with flights worldwide. The airport is only eight miles from the city centre, making it easy to get to by train, car, or even bike if you fancy (and are going luggage-free!).

Any Questions?

For any questions regarding Birmingham student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to Performers College Birmingham please contact our Admissions Team on 0344 2 646 666 or email [email protected].


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