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New Exhibition Set To Wow Movie Fans See replica sets, props and vehicles from movies like Knight Rider, Star Wars and Back to the Future, in this blockbuster exhibition at Blackpool Winter Gardens

 

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What's on at the Winter Gardens

There's a great variety of shows, events and entertainment for all the family at Blackpool Winter Gardens. Read on to find out what's coming in the following months.

You can find more details for all of the events at the Winter Gardens in the Events Calendar at this link.

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**SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS & NEWS**

Opens 9 July - New Exhibition Set To Wow Movie Fans

Movie fans young and old can make the jump to light speed and be transported into sci-fi and blockbuster heaven at Blackpool Winter Gardens this summer.

Scene is open at Winter Gardens from 9-30 July 2016

Scene Exhibition opens at Blackpool Winter Gardens

Scene – a three-week exhibition which features stunning fan made replica sets, props and vehicles including Knight Rider's Kitt, a Star Wars speeder and a time travelling Back To The Future DeLorean – opens on Saturday July 9.

Tickets are on sale now priced from just £6.95 for children, £9.95 for adults and £30 for a family of five. They are available from the Winter Gardens Box office, online at www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk or by calling 0844 856 1111.

The Pavilion and Horseshoe theatres within the Winter Gardens complex plays host to more than 20 different sets of a combination of fan-made replica props and costumes, along with movie cars that have been used in exhibitions and conventions across the country.

Visitors will be taken on an inter-galactic journey from deep space to Jurassic Park, through New York City with the Ghostbusters, rallied across Route 66 with Lightning McQueen from Cars before hitting 88MPH with Marty McFly and Mad Max.

So whether your genre is sci-fi, action, 1980s American TV or horror – Scene has got something for everyone, at the most affordable family experience exhibition in the UK this year.

As well as the expertly created exhibits, special events will take place during each of the weekends of Scene’s Winter Gardens run between July 9-30.

This includes Sci-Fi Saturday (July 9) when there will be a ‘Jedi Fight Academy’ with Star Wars: Episode 1 actor, Andrew Lawden. Visitors can take part in the academy to where they can learn initial steps on lightsabre control and the respect code of the Jedi. Those taking part will leave with a signed certificate from Andrew.

There are dinosaur walks, costume exhibits and the chance for everyone to grab a selfie with the famous replica vehicles – which also include Love Bug Herbie and the Trotter family’s Reliant Robin.

Scene at the Winter Gardens is open from 10am daily from July 9. Adult tickets are £9.95, children £6.95 and a family ticket (for up to five people) is £30.

For more information about the event and the special shows go to www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk or www.scene-exhibition.co.uk

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Once in a Lifetime Line-Up for Blackpool International Soul Festival

A stunning once in a lifetime line-up of world-renowned names are set to perform at the North West’s biggest International Soul Festival from 17-19 June.

See Dee Dee Sharp at the Blackpool Winter Gardens Soul Festival

Over the three days the Festival will see an array of exclusive American Northern and Modern Soul legends take to the stage in the stunning surroundings of Blackpool Winter Gardens.

Among the artists performing on the main stage are soul icons Bettye Lavette, Gerri Granger, Harold ‘Bobby’ Hutton and Dee Dee Sharp, plus there will be an exclusive Q&A session with Motown’s first A+R man Mickey Stevenson.

Richard Searling is the man behind the Blackpool International Soul Festival having organised Northern Soul events for more than 25 years.

As a well-known face on the scene Richard has organised countless all-nighters across the UK but this year he wanted to create an even bigger challenge for himself.

“I’ve wanted to put together a Festival like this for a long time, it’s been on my bucket list you could say, and there isn’t a better venue to do it in,” said Richard.

“We’ve got some big name artists on the bill and some will be performing tracks that haven’t been done live since the day they were recorded which is just incredible.

“Blackpool and Northern Soul go hand in hand and it’s great to see the town continuing to embrace it in such a big way.”

The iconic Empress Ballroom will provide the main stage for the weekend playing host to no less than four big name stars, with its giant dancefloor easily able to accommodate more than 1,000 people.

Festival-goers will be treated to live concert style performances on the main stage from…

Bettye Lavette – with a career spanning 50 years Bettye will be performing some of her rarer Northern and Modern soul hits as well as sharing some tales from her glittering career, including her performance for President Obama at his inauguration in 2009.

Gerri Granger – an intriguing addition to the bill whose 1971 track I Go to Pieces (Everytime) is one of the most popular Northern Soul anthems of all time.

Harold ‘Bobby’ Hutton – a household name in Northern and Modern Soul circles primarily for his 1974 LP A Piece of the Action which includes Blackpool Mecca anthem Lend a Hand.

Dee Dee Sharp – one of the greatest female soul singers of all time, Dee Dee released a string of hits through the 1960s and 70s, including the smash Northern Soul anthem, What Kind of Lady.

The concerts on the Empress Ballroom stage will all be supported by Musical Director Snake Davis and band The Suspicions. With many of the songs set to be performed having never been seen live since they were originally recorded in the studio this is sure to be a treat for Soul enthusiasts.

In the Pavilion Theatre there will be a chance to hear from Motown’s first A+R man Mickey Stevenson in a special Q&A session following the release of his book The A+R Man. During his time at Motown he produced numerous hits. His biggest success Dancing in the Street which he co-wrote with Ivy Jo Hunter was originally recorded by Martha and the Vandellas in 1964, later to be covered by David Bowie and Mick Jagger in 1985.

The Festival also features a further six rooms throughout the Winter Gardens complex filled with soul music and over 50 DJs from across the UK and Europe. Organisers are expecting thousands of fans to descend on the venue to enjoy the music, hear the Q&A session, visit exhibitions and shop in the specially created ‘Northern Department Store’.

Winter Gardens Managing Director Michael Williams added: “We are delighted to be promoting the Festival in association with Richard.

“The Winter Gardens is ideal for hosting such an event and the audience can look forward to a great weekend of entertainment thanks to superb line-up of artistes.”

For more information go to www.blackpoolsoulfestival.co.uk or www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

Call 0844 856 1111 or for VIP tickets call the VIP Hotline on 01253 629666.

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June at the Winter Gardens

19 June - Hits Yorkshire

Hits Yorkshire at Blackpool Winter Gardens

19 June 2016 7:00 PM, OPERA HOUSE

The show is now in its 15th year and is staged to give children the opportunity to experience performing in live theatre, and on a professional stage that has been home to many of the world’s biggest stars throughout the years.

Here at the Opera House, Blackpool we want this experience to be as enjoyable as possible for all of those children involved.

25 June - A Day at the Opera Organ Concert

Day at the Opera Organ Concert Blackpool Winter Gardens

25 June 2016 11:00 AM, OPERA HOUSE

Seven organists will be playing the historic Blackpool Opera House Mighty Wurlitzer for an entire days worth of entertainment!
The organists are as follows:

>Simon Gledhill
>Howard Beaumont
>David Lobban
>Matthew Bason (Also playing an Allen Q316 organ)
>David Ivory
>Cameron Lloyd
>Damon Willetts

30 June - Jane McDonald - Making Memories

Jane McDonald Making Memories at Blackpool Winter Gardens

30 June 2016 7:30 PM, OPERA HOUSE

Singer and TV star Jane McDonald, one of the nation’s favourite entertainers is returning to Blackpool. This will be a special concert with her brand-new show!

Jane presents an exciting and emotionally charged evening of music and laughter. Featuring many of Jane’s best loved songs and hits from her incredible career, including some of her own compositions and amazing medleys. Together with her fantastic musicians and backing singers Jane brings the audience to their feet with this ultimate feel-good show. This is one night you won’t want to miss!

Doors open at 10:30 am for a 11 am start.

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July at the Winter Gardens

5 July - Open Day to Raise Cash For Church Charity

Blackpool’s historic Winter Gardens is throwing open its doors to help raise money for people in the town.

Blackpool Winter Gardens

From 11am on Tuesday July 5 the Winter Gardens is inviting members of the public to experience exclusive tours of the magnificent entertainment complex while enjoying a coffee morning to raise funds for North Shore Methodist Church.

The church’s mission revolves around supporting the homeless and those less fortunate in the community and a huge fundraising effort is currently underway to create better facilities for young people.

Tickets for the coffee morning and tours are just £5 and are available from the Winter Gardens Box Office and the Dickson Road-based North Shore Methodist Church.

The tours will visit all areas within the Winter Gardens offering a unique insight into how the complex works and operates with inside knowledge shared by expert tour guides.

5-9 July - The Sound of Music 

This promises to be a spectacular five-star production from Tuesday 5 to Saturday 9 July.

Sound of Music at Blackpool Winter Gardens

No details of casting have yet been released, watch this space!

18-23 - James and the Giant Peach 

James and the Giant Peach at Winter Gardens Blackpool

The new stage show of James and the Giant Peach is heading to Blackpool Opera House as part of a world tour.

The classic story by Roald Dahl is produced by Sell A Door Theatre Company with the plot centering on an English orphan boy called James Henry Trotter who enters a gigantic, magical peach and has a wild, surreal cross-world adventure with seven magically-altered garden bugs he meets along the way.

James and the Giant Peach runs at Blackpool Opera House from Monday 18 to Saturday 23 July. Tickets priced from £10.

James and the Giant Peach is adapted by David Wood for Sell A Door Theatre Company. His previous work includes adaptations of well-known books such as Dick King-Smith's Babe the Sheep Pig, Roald Dahl's The BFG and The Witches. Both shows played long tours and two West End seasons. Also for the West End, David adapted and directed Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Sell A Door Theatre Company have previously toured critically-acclaimed productions of Avenue Q, The History Boys, American Idiot and Seussical the Musical. James and the Giant Peach is directed by Bronagh Lagan with all design by Kate Unwin.

For more information about James and the Giant Peach at Blackpool Opera House go to www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

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August at the Winter Gardens

11-30 Aug - Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing UK Tour at Winter Gardens Blackpool

Cast Announced for Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

The producers behind the brand new production of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage have announced the cast who will kick off the new tour when it begins in Blackpool this summer.

Blackpool Opera House will play host to the hit show for almost three weeks when it begins a brand new touring production on August 11.

And producers Karl Sydow and Paul Elliott have now revealed who will be taking to the stage in this classic story of Baby and Johnny, featuring the hit songs 'Hungry Eyes', ‘Hey! Baby’, ‘Do You Love Me?’ and the heart stopping ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.

Lewis Griffiths will star as ‘Johnny Castle’, one of the most iconic roles in popular culture. Lewis has had a prolific career in musical theatre, most recently starring as ‘Nick Massi’ on the UK tour of Jersey Boys. Other roles in UK tours include Ghost and Legally Blonde, and West End credits include Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rent and Whistle Down the Wind.

Katie Hartland will make her professional musical theatre debut carrying the watermelons as she takes on the role of ‘Baby Houseman’, having graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2015.

Carlie Milner will star as ‘Penny Johnson’. Carlie is part of the Dirty Dancing family; starting as a member of the ensemble in 2014, she covered and subsequently took over the role of ‘Penny’ in 2015.

Joining Lewis, Katie and Carlie will be Julian Harries as ‘Jake Houseman’, Simone Craddock as ‘Marjorie Houseman’, Roger Martin ‘as Max Kellerman’, Jo Servi as ‘Tito Suarez’, Lizzie Ottley as ‘Lisa Houseman’, Michael Kent as ‘Billy Kostecki’, Greg Fossard as ‘Neil Kellerman’, Tony Stansfield as ‘Mr Schumacher’, and Daniela Dobega as ‘Elizabeth’. Also joining the company are Gabby Antrobus, Imogen Brooke, Simon Campbell, Robert Colvin, Katie Eccles, Beth Highsted, Megan Louch, Ashley Rumble, Callum Sterling, Austin Wilks and Karl James Wilson.

This new tour of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage is the first time the show has come to Blackpool and follows two blockbuster West End runs, two hit UK tours, and various sensational international productions.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage will play at Blackpool Opera House from Thursday 11 to Tuesday August 30. 

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September at the Winter Gardens

19-24 Sep - Footloose: The Musical

Gareth Gates in Footloose at Blackpool Winter Gardens - Credit David Ellis for Boom Ents
Gareth Gates in Footloose at Blackpool Winter Gardens - Credit David Ellis for Boom Ents

Worldwide smash hit Footloose: The Musical is heading to Blackpool Opera House from Monday September 19 to Saturday 24 as part of a major new UK Tour.

Based on the 1984 screen sensation starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose: The Musical tells the story of city boy Ren, who has to move to a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. 

Featuring classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let's Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track, Footloose: The Musical is set to take the world by storm once again in this brand new production, bursting with youthful spirit, dazzling dance and electrifying music.

Blackpool singing star Maureen Nolan will play Vi Moore. As well as enjoying phenomenal success with her sisters in The Nolans, on stage Maureen has played Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers in the West End and on tour to critical acclaim. Other credits include Sadie in Girl’s Behind, Jill in Mum’s the Word and Sarah in The Naked Truth.

Gareth Gates will play Willard. Gareth rose to fame through the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2001, going on to sell more than 5 million records worldwide and have hits across the globe. More recently Gareth has enjoyed a successful career on stage, with credits including Les Misérables, Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Luke Baker will play Ren McCormack, the role immortalised on screen by Kevin Bacon. Luke recently played Theo in Green Day’s American Idiot in the West End, with other West End credits including the Olivier Award-winning Sunny Afternoon, Beautiful Thing and I Can’t Sing.

The cast also features Hannah Price as Ariel Moore, Nigel Lister as Reverend Shaw Moore, Nicky Swift as Ethel McCormack, Joanna Sawyer as Rusty, Matthew Tomlinson as Chuck, Natasha Brown as Wendy-Jo, Miracle Chance as Urleen, Thomas Cotran as Jeter and Scott Haining as Bickie. The cast also includes Lauren Storer, Natalie Morton-Graham, Luke Thornton and Alex Marshall.

Footloose: The Musical will run at Blackpool Opera House from Monday September 19 to Saturday 24.

Tickets from £15

For more information go to www.wintergardensblackpool.com

26 Sept-1 Oct - The Rocky Horror Show

See the Rocky Horror Show at Blackpool Winter Gardens

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit their former college professor. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, with fun, frolics, frocks, and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits. The Rocky Horror Show is a guaranteed party, which famously combines science-fiction, horror, comedy and music and encourages audience participation meaning, of course, getting dressed in your most outrageous fancy dress.

Many stars including Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Jerry Springer and Meatloaf have appeared in The Rocky Horror Show over the past four decades. Ready to thrill you with fun and naughty moments, O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is the boldest bash of them all. Be warned, this show has rude parts!

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October at the Winter Gardens

3-15 Oct - GHOST the Musical

GHOST the Musical at Winter Gardens

GHOST is a timeless fantasy about the power of love. Walking back to their apartment one night, Sam and Molly are mugged, leaving Sam murdered on a dark street. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and unable to leave Molly who he learns is in grave danger. With the help of a phony storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving and protecting her. 
 
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film of 1990, GHOST won numerous awards worldwide and is one of the biggest grossing films in the UK. It starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg and was directed by Jerry Zucker. Bruce Joel Rubin's script won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar® for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film's iconic love scene at a potter's wheel was famously performed to The Righteous Brother's Unchained Melody

19 Oct - 3 Nov - SHOUT! 

The sounds of the 60s will be well and truly heard in Blackpool as hit jukebox musical SHOUT! heads to the resort this autumn.

Shout! the Musical at Blackpool Winter Gardens

This smashing revue tracks five groovy gals as they come of age during those liberating days that made England swing, and with a packed soundtrack of some of the biggest hits from the 60s SHOUT! promises a fantastic family show when it comes to Blackpool Opera House from October 19 to November 03.

Tickets are on sale priced from £15.

SHOUT! flips through the years like a musical magazine and takes you back to the music, fashion and freedom of the 60’s with hits from the likes of Petula Clark, Lulu and Dusty Springfield. Using letters to an advice columnist, true confessions, quizzes and advertisements SHOUT! boasts terrific new arrangements of such chart-topping hits as “To Sir With Love,” “Downtown,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “Son of A Preacher Man,” and “Goldfinger.”

With its irresistible blend of hip-swivelling hits, eye-popping fashions and psychedelic dances from the 60’s, this fun-filled musical will make you want to throw your head back and SHOUT!

SHOUT! is presented by Peter Frosdick who most recently produced both A Christmas Carol and Tommy The Rock Opera at Blackpool Opera House.

Suzanne Shaw in Shout Musical at Blackpool Winter Gardens

West End, TV and former pop star Suzanne Shaw is to lead the cast in the hit jukebox musical SHOUT! when it heads to Blackpool this autumn.

Suzanne’s big break came when she auditioned for the ITV show Popstars, and subsequently won a place in the newly-formed pop band, Hear’say. She has since gone on to carve a very successful career in musical theatre having performed in countless West End and touring productions since 2003.

Suzanne will be playing Red Girl in SHOUT! Speaking about her role Suzanne said:I'm really excited to be joining the cast of SHOUT! the musical. The 60's was a brilliant era and a landmark decade for the music industry so I can't wait to perform such classic hits and enjoy a night of nostalgia with the audiences in Blackpool! It's always great performing back in my home county!"

Joining Suzanne on stage will be Atomic Kitten and musical theatre star Liz McClarnon as Green Girl and former X-Factor finalist and musical theatre star Niki Evans as Orange Girl.

Liz added: "I'm really looking forward to spending more time in Blackpool and playing such a fun/cheeky character.

“The songs are such 'feel good' tunes and I'm really excited to be at such an iconic venue as the Winter Gardens! If anyone wants to find me on my days off, I'll be at my childhood haunt, the Pleasure Beach.  Ha!"

The roles of Blue Girl and Yellow Girl are yet to be cast.

SHOUT! will run at Blackpool Opera House from Wednesday October 19 to Thursday November 3. Tickets are on sale now priced from £15. For more information go to www.wintergardensblackpool.com

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November at the Winter Gardens

14-19 Nov - The Shawshank Redemption

New Stage Production - Heads to Blackpool Opera House

Shawshank Redemption at Winter Gardens Blackpool

Oscar nominated film The Shawshank Redemption is to become a new stage play in a production visiting Blackpool Opera House this year.

Based on the short novel by Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption is regularly voted as Britain’s favourite movie ever. And now West End theatre and film producer Bill Kenwright is to bring a new production of the play, which examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope, to the stage.

The Shawshank Redemption will run at Blackpool Opera House from 14 – 19 November.

Tickets go on sale from 10am Wednesday February 24 and are available from www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

The production celebrates 22 years since the release of the 1994 movie starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins and is adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns and directed by David Esbjornson.

Winter Gardens Managing Director Michael Williams said: “We are very excited about The Shawshank Redemption coming to the Blackpool Opera House. This is a completely different kind of production for us but one we are sure will be incredibly popular.

“Millions of people have enjoyed this classic film over the years and it is now time to see it transferred to the stage in what is sure to be a truly fantastic production.”

Based on the 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, the play examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum security facility. The 1994 feature film, regularly voted Britain’s favourite ever movie, was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Despite protests of his innocence, Andy Dufresne is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover. Incarcerated at the notorious Shawshank facility, he quickly learns that no one can survive alone. Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched.

Tickets to see The Shawshank Redemption at Blackpool Opera House are priced from £14 and go on sale at 10am Wednesday February 24 from www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

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December at the Winter Gardens

Blackpool Has Great Expectations For Christmas 2016!

Hit musical and classic story Great Expectations is to be added to the 2016 season at Blackpool Winter Gardens.

Great Expectations at Blackpool Winter Gardens Christmas 2016

It's been announced that the Charles Dickens’ classic will mark the Opera House’s Christmas season for 2016 running from Saturday December 10 to Saturday January 7.

The show will be produced by Peter Frosdick, who is also producing this year’s festive production of A Christmas Carol, starring Paul Nicholas.

Tickets for Great Expectations go on sale at 9am Monday December 7.

With the opening scenes on Christmas Eve, Great Expectations begins with escaped convict Magwitch being pursued by soldiers. As Young Pip appears through the mist he encounters the gross Magwitch and so begins the tangled tale of the young gentleman, the beautiful Estelle, the jilted Miss Havisham and of course, the convict.

With a spectacular musical score the audience will follow Pip and his great expectation as he journeys through life and hardship to eventually find love in the arms of the woman who has had him spellbound since childhood.

Great Expectations will run at Blackpool Opera House from Saturday December 10 2016 until Saturday January 7.

Tickets go on sale at 9am Monday December 7 priced from £20 to £39.50. Special offers are in place for families, children and groups. There is a special Early Bird offer of 25% off the top priced tickets until December 31 and a further Early Bird of 15% off top priced tickets until March 31.

For more information go to www.wintergardensblackpool.com

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2017 at the Winter Gardens

10-15 April 2017 - WONDERLAND

Following sold out seasons in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, the multi Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominated Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland receives its UK and European première in this brand new British production.

Wonderland Musical at Blackpool Winter Gardens

Wonderland is an enchanting musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, with a huge heart, a medley of magic and a whole lot of wonder.

Here a timely and touching story of love in all its forms, it’s an adventurous exploration of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic in our lives. 

In the tradition of the best stage musicals, Wonderland boasts a catchy score full of songs by Frank Wildhorn, writer of pop hits including Whitney Houston’s ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go?’ and theatre classics including ‘This is the Moment’ from his internationally acclaimed show, Jekyll & Hyde.

MOREINFORMATION

Winter Gardens Wins Share of £3m Restoration Funding

Blackpool Winter Gardens has won £50,000 funding from the Government to help restore the historic Pavilion Theatre.

Pavilion Theatre inside Blackpool Winter Gardens

The 137-year-old theatre was placed on the Theatre’s Trust’s ‘At Risk’ register in 2014 – an indication of the vital need for investment to protect the venue’s long-term future.

Communities Minister Brandon Lewis today announced the Pavilion Theatre – part of the world famous Grade II* Winter Gardens building – is among 77 projects across Great Britain to receive a share of £3 million coastal revival funding.

The £50,000 granted to Blackpool Winter Gardens will be used to restore the walls of the Pavilion Theatre which is the proposed location for the Blackpool Museum.

Created as a concert hall in 1878, the Pavilion was converted to a theatre in 1889. A major re-building took place in 1897, resulting in a splendidly opulent apsidal-ended music hall.

The beautiful plasterwork, designed by J M Boekbinder, was completed in 1904. In the 1920s it became a picture palace and by the 1950s was used for summer shows. Household names such as Morecambe & Wise and Tommy Cooper performed there.

Blackpool Council is currently formulating plans for a multi-million pound, interactive heritage museum – situated within the Pavilion – which will tell the story of how Blackpool became one of the world's biggest tourist resorts.

The announcement sees 77 national projects – ranging from theatres to piers and lidos to lighthouses – each receive coastal revival funding grants of up to £50,000 to kick-start restoration work.

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Winter Gardens Awarded WorldHost Business Status

Blackpool Winter Gardens is being celebrated for putting customers first as it is awarded WorldHost Recognised Business status.

Michael Williams Winter Gardens Blackpool

The venue has become the latest organisation in the UK to gain national recognition for its commitment to customer service, after being awarded WorldHost Recognised Business status.

WorldHost is a world-class customer service training programme that has already been used to train almost 150,000 people in the UK, including tens of thousands of staff and volunteers for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The status is awarded to businesses that have trained 50% or more of their front line staff using any of the WorldHost training programmes and signed a commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

The Winter Gardens is one of the founding members of the Blackpool Tourism Academy, a consortium of key leisure attractions within the UK's premier seaside resort dedicated to boosting the skills of their workforce. With the assistance of funding from the Government's Employer Ownership Pilot, a range of training is being delivered to equip the workforce with skills which will not only enhance their personal abilities but also add value to the businesses in which they work.

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Look Inside the Winter Gardens...

On a dark November afternoon, the Winter Gardens threw open their doors with a warm welcome to industry guests, to showcase the best that this wonderful attraction has to offer, showing off the Empress Ballroom, the newly refurbished Derham Room laid out for a banquet, the Empress Grill with fabulous catering which really looked too good to eat. Come take a look at what we saw...

Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens Blackpool
The magnificent Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens Blackpool, getting ready for a ball!

The Derham Room at the Winter gardens, set for a banquet
The Derham Room at the Winter Gardens, set for a banquet 

The Empress Grill at the Winter Gardens
The Empress Grill at the Winter Gardens...

The Empress Grill at the Winter Gardens
The Empress Grill at the Winter Gardens, dine in style!

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Spring Cleaning

Restoring the facade of the Winter Gardens Blackpool

The front of the Winter Gardens building was tented with scaffolding and sheets, and the areas around the doorways boarded off in late 2014. The work was part of a refurbishment and repair programme which saw the 'faience' - the cream stone cladding - cleaned and damaged areas repaired. This work also uncovered a Royal Seal dedication plaque from the 1930's that hasn't even been seen since the early 1960's.

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Something for Everyone at the Winter Gardens

This huge and magnificent building has 11 main separate spaces over two floors.

The Winter Gardens Blackpool

The variety of events the Winter Gardens has to offer means there will always be something to offer locals and visitors to the resort, especially with Mamma Mia! reviving the summer season long show in 2014.

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The Opera House

New, upcoming bands have played in the Opera House including the like of Little Mix, along with old favourites such as Jane McDonald and Daniel O'Donnell who continue to return and some of the world's best bands including Canada's Arcade Fire - who selected the Winter Gardens as only one of three venues to play in the UK. 

See Mamma Mia! at the Winter Gardens Blackpool

Throughout the summer of 2014, the West End smah hit Mamma Mia! played a summer season here in Blackpool at the Winter Gardens.

Blackpool Hall of Fame for Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is now officially in the Blackpool Winter Gardens “Hall of Fame.”

mamma Mia

The international smash hit musical has ended its 12 week Blackpool Summer Season, and in the tradition of all top shows and acts performing at the Winter Gardens, the Mamma Mia! name is now etched in gold.

Since 1889 top performers or shows have had their names permanently displayed in the Winter Gardens history by appearing on the official Roll of Honour in the entrance to the Floral Hall.

The first name to be honoured was English actor and playwright Wilson Barrett and last year American music legend Bob Dylan was the latest name to be added alongside the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Gracie Fields, 42nd Street and the Royal Variety Performance.

And now Mamma Mia! is there too.

Mamma Mia! is on the Roll of Honour at the Winter Gardens

With 98 performances in Blackpool, Mamma Mia! is also the highest grossing show of all time in Blackpool.

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Fabulous Time at 'Let it Be'

Let it Be at Blackpool Opera House

Regular Visit Fylde Coast reader Peter and his wife went to the matinee of Let It Be at the Opera House this week - having had a thoroughly good time, they sent in this review.

There was a good turn out, especially in the stalls. The show got better as it went on, the first half was enjoyable but the second half was even better.

They make several quick changes as they go from the Cavern Club to the Summer of Love and beyond, and film sequences from the time are shown in black and white.

Let it Be at Blackpool Opera House

You might think that 40 songs would have some weak spots but it seems not. Although I wondered how many would know 'Do You Want to Know a Secret', covered by Billy J Kramer or 'I Wanna Be Your Man' covered by the Rolling Stones for their second release.

All the performers did a great job and for me the drummer was brilliant playing in the driving style of Ringo Starr. When they sat down and played the acoustic numbers, without drummer, the vocals and guitar were like the real thing, with wonderful tracks like 'Here Comes the Sun'.

In the second half you realise how their music evolved, 40 great numbers and you say why didn’t they play that. Well worth seeing.

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The Empress Ballroom

The magnificent Empress Ballroom is just as comfortable staging the World Dance Championships each year as it is hosting some of the world's best rock and pop acts in concert. 

The Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens

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Illuminasia

2014 saw the opening of Illuminasia at the Winter Gardens.

The Land of the Giants at Illuminasia, Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Illuminasia is a unique walk-through attraction that blends the tradition of Chinese lantern craft with modern technology to create an incredible larger than life experience.

The Land of the Giants at Illuminasia, Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Giants Under the Sea at Illuminasia, Winter Gardens, Blackpool

You'll be amazed at the sheer scale and vibrancy of the exhibits and enjoy the surprises round every corner.... immersive and interactive - it's perfect for families, yet captivating for any age. Plus, it's all indoors - an attraction that the weather can't spoil!

In 2014, Illuminasia welcomed 110,000 visitors through the doors, and they have optioned their two additional years taking the attraction to 2017.

Illuminasia reopens for the 2016 season on 13 February.

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Heritage Tours

Find out about this magnificent building with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Winter Gardens

Heritage Tour of Blackpool Winter Gardens

The Winter Gardens is an incredible building with a long history. It first opened on 11 July 1878 and since then has grown and developed as an entertainment complex which mirrors the growth of the seaside town of Blackpool. 

Right in the centre of the complex, in what is now the coffee shop, still stands the original building of the site around which the whole of the Winter Gardens has been built.

You can find out more about the History of the Winter Gardens here

Tour dates, times and more information

If you'd like to see more of the Winter Gardens and hear tales which bring the building and its past to life, why don't you book on a Heritage Tour?

Meeting at 11am in the Floral Hall, these tours will enthral and delight you, with memories of long forgotten events, fascinating facts you didn't know, and plenty of peeps behind-the-scenes of this magnificent and much loved building. 

Individual Tours can be found in the Events Calendar, and you can also find more details about Winter Gardens Heritage Tours here

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A Perfect Venue for your Event

The Winter Gardens offers a wide variety of venues for events ranging from small private business lunches to large scale conferences. You can also hold your wedding at the Winter Gardens. What could be better than a reception or banquet in the newly refurbished Derham Room? (pictured below).

Derham Room at the Winter Gardens

The main rooms include the 2,900 capacity Opera House (the largest theatre stage outside London), the grand Empress Ballroom with a capacity of 3,250 people for concerts, and the 2,600 sq metre Olympia Exhibition Hall. 

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Blackpool Dance Festival Announces International Expansion

More than 90 years after its original inception the world renowned Blackpool Dance Festival is to launch its first overseas event which will see it expand into China.

Blackpool Dance Festival

Working in partnership with International Special Attractions (ISA) the Blackpool Dance Festival will promote and be responsible for a brand new festival almost 6,000 miles away in Shanghai.

The event’s global expansion is part of an on-going relationship with ISA, the creators and investors behind Illuminasia which opened in April 2014 at the Blackpool Winter Gardens. Illuminasia has attracted more than 100,000 visitors since opening and recently announced a three year extension in the resort.

Based in Shanghai, ISA will work with the team in Blackpool on the organisation, branding and management of the prestigious dance event which will be promoted under the name Blackpool Dance Festival (China).

Blackpool Dance Festival

The first ever overseas Blackpool Dance Festival will be held at the Grand Stage, Shanghai, China from 19th – 23rd August 2016, with the annual May Festival continuing to take place at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool.

The Blackpool Dance Festival has become one of the world’s most prestigious annual dance tournaments attracting in excess of 20,000 competitors and spectators from more than 60 countries over the course of the nine-day festival. Since the first event in 1920 the Festival has become one of the key attractions in Blackpool’s annual tourism calendar.

Michael Williams, Managing Director of Winter Gardens Blackpool, said: “This is a great opportunity for Ballroom Dancing and will further enhance Blackpool’s position as hosting the number one Festival in the world.  Over the past few years we have seen an influx of Chinese dancers competing in Blackpool and for us to take elements of our Festival to China can only increase the number of dancers that will want to come and experience the magic of dancing in the magnificent Empress Ballroom.

“This is an historic occasion to take such a prestigious event to China which will further strengthen the Blackpool Dance Festival as the world’s most prestigious and foremost dance event.”

Over the past 20 years Ballroom dancing has been a fast growing business in China and formed part of the Government’s drive for citizens to lead a heathier lifestyle, with more than 50 million people now registered as ballroom dancers with official Chinese bodies. The rise in popularity has also seen an increase in participants at the Blackpool Dance Festival who now regularly visiting from the Asia Pacific region to compete each year.

Michael added: “The expansion into China with ISA will allow more people from across the globe to compete in the world renowned event but will  also raise the profile of our own Festival held each May providing an invaluable opportunity to introduce Blackpool across East Asia.”

The Blackpool Dance Festival (China) will initially take place over 3-5 days with plans to grow the event each year. Competitors will be able to compete in a full range of Latin and Ballroom dancing disciplines.

Gary Fjelstad, ISA’s Vice President/General Manager, said: “ISA is very proud to have the opportunity to work with Blackpool to introduce the Blackpool Dance Festival to China.

“With our deep understanding and working relationship with people and patterns in China we are confident this adventure will bring fruitful results to all parties involved. ISA is excited and looking forward to working with all our friends in the dance world in China.”

Entries and ticket applications for the Blackpool Dance Festival (China) will open on 15th July 2015 at: info@blackpooldancefestival.com.cn

To find out more about the Blackpool Dance Festival visit www.blackpooldancefestival.com



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