From variety, musicals and comedy giants to Shakespeare, ballet, drama and dance, this venue caters for every age, pocket and personality. Find out what’s on next at Blackpool Grand Theatre.
Highlights of the 2019 season include the NEW summer production ‘Around the World in 80’s Days’ and ‘Comedy Chaos’ with the lovely Steve Royle.
WHAT’S ON AT BLACKPOOL GRAND THEATRE
Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club
Friday 5 July, 2 August, 6 September, 4 October at 8pm
Treat yourself to a laugh at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club with four top pro comedians to make you LOL!
See comedians off the telly from all the major panel shows and roadshows plus the best of the rest. Previously Jason Manford, John Bishop and Sarah Millican were booked before they hit the big time. So come and see more brilliant comedians! The Grand Theatre reserves the right to change the line-up at any time.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS – Call the Box Office on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!) or visit the website
Saturday 13 July, 10 August, 14 September, 12 October at 1.30pm
The Grand Theatre Play Reading Group is an excellent way to get involved with the theatre, meet new people and while away your time reading and discussing plays!
Perfect for anyone who relishes reading and engaging in discussion about great titles from some of the world’s leading playwrites.
No experience of play reading is necessary and you don’t even have to join in if you don’t wish. This is an informal and friendly group of people sharing like-minded interests, and the group have read everything from Greek tragedies and Shakespeare, to Oscar Wilde and J. B. Priestly. Jennifer Smethurst, a qualified speech and drama tutor, guides participants through the readings and raises any interesting issues for discussion.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS – Call the Box Office on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!) or visit the website
125 Celebration Open Day Tour
6 July, 15 September, 3 October at 11am, 12 and 1pm
125 years ago, local businessman Thomas Sergenson secured the world’s leading theatre architect, Frank Matcham, to design the magnificent jewel we know today. Now you can join us for our special 125 Celebration Open Day.
Blackpool Grand Theatre has always been in the vanguard of development in theatre: it was the first theatre in Blackpool to be totally electric; it was the first to have a fully cantilevered circle eliminating the need for pillars to give every seat a clear view; and Matcham invented the crash doors that enabled a quick evacuation of the building.
To celebrate this important milestone, our mission is to secure the theatre for the next generation, starting with a campaign to raise £125,000 to repair the storm damage to the dome at the front of the building.
Access all public areas
For our 125th Anniversary we will be holding a limited run of special access days; The 125 Celebration Open Day will be free of charge. Allowing you to wander free around public areas with a special selection of our archive on display highlighting our 125 years, from the original build through to the epic struggle, to the glorious theatre it is today…
Or, book now for one of our thirty-minute tours led by one of our heritage volunteers (£4 p/p). Book early as these will go quickly. We look forward to celebrating our 125 years with you all!
Stand on the raked stage and observe the cantilevered tiers of circles, boxes and pit – and the complete visibility of every seat in this atmospheric house. See the secrets of the great stage and take in Blackpool’s hidden gem, learn about flamboyant architect Frank Matcham and explore the warren of staircases that lead to the stars, dressing rooms and beyond.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS – Call the Box Office on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!) or visit the website
Spymonkey – Cooped
Tues 11 – Fri 14 June at 7.30pm, 2pm matinee on Thursday
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Spymonkey are offering Blackpool audiences an unmissable opportunity to catch this deliciously demented take on the pulp gothic romance – think Hitchcock’s Rebecca meets The Pink Panther.
Overflowing with brilliant characters, rip-roaring farce and virtuoso physical comedy, this is the show which made them an international comedy sensation, from Just For Laughs Montreal to Sydney Opera House.
A spooky mansion, a plucky young heroine and a handsome English aristocrat. Add a German butler and a Spanish soap star and you’re… COOPED with Spymonkey!
Beautiful, fawn-like Laura du Lay arrives in the heart of darkest Northumberlandshirehampton to take up a post as secretary to the reclusive but devastatingly handsome Forbes Murdston. She has ignored for as long as she can the unsettling rumours that surround her new employer and his ominous manservant Klaus. If only Roger Parchment, the family lawyer, were not so obviously in love with her! Then she could confide in him her darkest fears:
Is Forbes really the killer who lurks in the darkness? Who is the prey he seeks? And will Inspector Detective Judadench solve the mystery before it is too late?! Directed by Cal McCrystal, the comedy genius behind One Man Two Guvnors, A Scouse Nativity and Paddington. Please note this show contains full frontal nudity.
The Lancashire Hotpots – The Love Tour
Saturday 15 June at 7.30pm
The Lancashire Hotpots are back with a brand-new show and they’re in the mood for love!
Bernard and the boys will be playing all your Hotpot favourites with an emphasis on all the things they really love: meat pies, nights out down the boozer, and of course a Chippy Tea!
It’s going to be an unbeatable night of music and laughs for everyone. If music be the food of love… have yer dinner with the Hotpots!
Romeo and Juliet – A Grand Romance
Monday 17 June at 2.30pm
Royal Shakespeare Company in partnership with the Grand Theatre Blackpool present Romeo and Juliet – A Grand Romance.
This is a community co-production where the RSC and The Grand Theatre have brought together participants from community groups across Blackpool to create a performance piece that responds to the RSC’s 2019 touring production of Romeo & Juliet. These are groups who would rarely meet, who would rarely set foot in a theatre and have little or no experience of Shakespeare.
Alongside scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet you will hear the participants own stories of love and romance. You might already be familiar with the most famous story of love at first sight, this is your chance to come and share in the excitement of first love on Blackpool’s Prom!
Shakespeare Nation is a Royal Shakespeare Company project produced in partnership with the Grand Theatre Blackpool, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Friends of The Grand Coffee Morning
20 June, 18 July, 15 August, 19 September, 17 October at 10.30am
Our Friends of The Grand welcome all to their Friends Coffee Morning. Join us for a get together over coffee and cake. At each Friends Coffee Morning there will be a different guest speaker from either the Theatre or the world of show business.
Due to popularity please BOOK YOUR TICKETS – Call the Box Office on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!) or visit the website
Walk Right Back
Friday 21 June at 7.30pm
After a phenomenal sell out tour in 2018, Walk Right Back is…BACK! From the Producers of That’ll be the Day, the show tells the story of the most successful duo of all time – The Everly Brothers.
Featuring hits such as Bye Bye Love, All I Have To Do Is Dream and Cathy’s Clown, this unique concert-based musical entwines the wonderful, sad yet glorious story of The Everly Brothers around those trademark “harmonies from heaven”.
Follow the brothers rise to fame, through their decade-long feud to the glorious reunion that gave them back to the world, and back to each other.
One Night In Dublin
Saturday 22 June at 7.30pm
Spend One Night In Dublin and be transported to ‘Murphys Pub’, where the house band, The Wild Murphys, will entertain you with a selection of great Irish songs from artists such as The Pogues, The Dubliners, The Fureys, and The Saw Doctors to name just a few.
Widely regarded as one of the best Irish bands in the UK, in 2018 The Wild Murphys scooped the title of Best Irish Act (UK) in the LUX Global Entertainment Awards.
One Night In Dublin – Sing along to classics including Galway Girl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, The Irish Rover, Brown Eyed Girl, Seven Drunken Nights, Sally MacLennane, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, Whiskey In The Jar, Wild Rover and Molly Malone and many more. A must-see show for all fans of Irish music!
Music for Heroes
Monday 24 June at 7pm
Blackpool says thank you to the Armed Forces past and present, with this musical extravaganza in Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, Music For Heroes.
Now in its 11th year, this concert has become one of the many highlights of the Armed Forces Week celebrations. Blackpool’s Grand will host a night of music, comedy and live performance with a full program of entertainment. Music for Heroes will feature the Irish Guard Singers, Blackpool Music Service and much, much more.
Puttin’ On The Ritz
5-6 July at 7.30pm, 2pm matinee on Saturday 6th
Direct from London’s West End comes the All Singing, All Dancing production of Puttin’ On The Ritz. Featuring the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin & Cole Porter.
Welcome to Puttin’ on the Ritz, the spectacular stage production that features the most famous songs of the Golden Age of Hollywood – live on stage.
This dazzling production features spectacular singers and wonderful dancers direct from London’s West End, together with breathtaking costumes and stunning musical arrangements.
Let us take you back in time, to an era when Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly were the Kings of the silver screen. Let us entertain you with the classic songs of George Gershwin, Irvin Berlin and Cole Porter. Puttin on the Ritz is the all singing all dancing theatrical experience that brings the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the stage.
The Magic of Motown
Sunday 7 July at 7.30pm
The Magic of Motown celebrates the sound of a generation.
Music fans are invited to the biggest party of the year as the unstoppable Magic of Motown show steams into town! Seen by over a million people, it’s no surprise that the show is one of the biggest success stories in British theatre history.
Prepare yourself for 40 back-to-back classic Motown hits, glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves and outstanding musicianship in this explosive concert experience.
Celebrate the sound of a generation as the timeless music of Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and more, are sensationally recreated for you by an exceptionally talented cast and band.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
Friday 12-14 July, shows at 10.30am, 1.30 and 4.30pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by author/illustrator Eric Carle has delighted generations of readers since it was first published in 1969 selling more than 43 million copies worldwide.
Eric’s well-known books captivated readers with his iconic colourful hand-painted tissue paper collage illustrations and distinctively simple stories, introducing generations of children to a bigger, brighter world – and to their first experience of reading itself.
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, the critically acclaimed production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features a menagerie of 75 lovable puppets, faithfully adapting four of Eric Carle’s stories, Brown Bear, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show celebrating its 50th Birthday in 2019 The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Monday 15-17 July, shows at 7.30pm and 2.30pm matinee on Weds 17th
Direct from London’s West End where it is now in its record breaking 11th year, Thriller Live is a spectacular concert created to celebrate the career of the world’s greatest entertainer.
Experience over two hours of non-stop hits from pop to rock, soul to disco as the cast pay homage to Jackson’s legendary live performances and innovative dance moves executed with flair, precision and passion, this is a show that you will never forget.
Expect your favourite songs delivered by an exceptionally talented cast and band, including: I Want You Back, ABC, Can You Feel It, Off The Wall, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, Bad, Rock With You, They Don’t Care About Us, Dangerous and Thriller plus many more!
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap
Monday 22-27 July, shows at 7.30pm and 2pm matinee on Thurs/Sat
Discover why Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has kept people guessing for so long, becoming the longest running show of any kind in the history of theatre.
The scene is set when a group of people gathered in the country house cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be?
One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed.
Experience shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner.
Around the World in 80s Days
Shows at 2pm and 7.30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 31 July – 31 August!
Blackpool Grand Productions Limited presents Around The World in 80s Days. Travel with us on a musical adventure! The WORLD PREMIERE of one of the greatest adventure stories ever written with an exciting 80s musical twist…
Join the mysterious and fabulously wealthy British gentleman Phileas Fogg, as he accepts a bet for half his fortune to prove it really is possible to travel around the world in eighty days. Fogg and his valet set off on a thrilling race against time – outwitting dastardly villains, escaping perilous locales and finding themselves in hilarious situations in this high-octane comedy musical – all mixed with your favourite chart hits from the 1980s!
The nations favourite decade of big shoulder pads and even bigger hair collides with one of greatest adapted tales of all time, in this brand-new action and comedy packed show that will keep an audience of all ages captivated. Based on Jules Verne’s acclaimed novel. Written and Directed by Ian McFarlane
In celebration of its 125th Anniversary Blackpool’s Grand Theatre has launched its own brand new production company – Blackpool Grand Productions Ltd. This is the first time The Grand will produce its own Summer Show under this production company.
Steve Royle’s Comedy Chaos for Kids
6-28 August. Shows at 7pm, weekly on Tuesday and Wednesday
Steve Royle’s Comedy Chaos For Kids includes non-stop fun for the whole family, comedy, magic, puppets and some very special surprises.
Blackpool’s Grand Theatre has teamed up with Pantomime Veteran and BBC Radio Lancashire star Steve Royle and Special Guest Magician Russ Brown to create the theatre’s first dedicated Summer Show for all the Family!
Royle, who is a veteran 16-year performer in Pantomime at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, has entertained and given belly-laughs to over 50,000 people each year. In addition, he has supported both Peter Kay and Dave Spikey on tour and was voted ‘Entertainer of the Year’ at the Red Rose Awards.
Russ Brown will be joining Royle on stage. He was the resident children’s entertainer at the world-famous Blackpool Tower for over ten years before leaving to take up residency in his own venue at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. 2009 saw Russ Brown receive the coveted Ken Dodd Comedy Award.
King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys
Monday 26 August at 7.30pm
With more than 6500 performances in 21 countries under their belt in their 30 years on the road, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys are more than just the world’s greatest jump, jive and swing band – they’re an institution!
In that time they have opened shows for B.B. King, Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, Ray Charles, and toured with the real Blues Brothers Band – the one from the movie. They’ve played on 36 radio shows and made 73 television appearances, including several on Blue Peter, The Teletubbies, as well as the Paradise Club series where they were the house band. They also featured on Challenge Anneka, The Gadget Show and on a prime time National Lottery advertisement – not to mention accompanying John Barrowman in a rendition of I Get A Kick Out Of You on Live And Kicking.
Rough, tough and always rocking, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys have appeared at festivals, in concert and at clubs throughout the UK and Europe – and they still play the Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival, where they have headlined for an unprecedented 14 years.
An Evening of Eric and Ern
1 & 2 September at 7.30pm
From the Olivier Nominated duo behind the hugely celebrated and critically acclaimed West End hit comes An Evening of Eric of Ern with Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens.
This is a brilliant homage crammed full of renditions of those famous comedy sketches, that hits all the right notes! From Greig’s Piano concerto to Mr Memory, “Arsenal!” It’s a show full of Morecambe and Wise’s most loved routines, songs and sketches and of course a musical guest. This wonderful show, evokes memories of times when whole families would huddle around the telly on Sunday evenings.
Strangers on a Train Set
Thursday 5 September at 7.30pm
Challenging a youth to turn down his music, Irene Sparrow, inventor of the left-handed crochet hook finds herself under suspicion of murder after the train emerges from a tunnel with the young man dead.
But this is no ordinary train, each passenger is reading a book, each book is a portal into a parallel universe of train related crime fiction.
With clever use of projection and train sets, LipService give you a whistle stop tour that will leave you breathless and racing for the refreshment coach.
So, don’t blow your stack, this show is just the ticket to help you let off steam and overuse many more railway metaphors. A show that appeals to crime aficionados and narrow-gauge railway enthusiasts alike.
In the Night Garden Live
Saturday 7 September at 1 and 4pm
Sunday 8 September at 10am and 1pm
Brand new In the Night Garden Live show coming to Blackpool in 2019! Join Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends for a brand new show on their first ever UK theatre tour!
You’ll see all your favourite characters beautifully brought to life with full-size costumes, magical puppets, and enchanting music. The show lasts just under an hour and it’s a completely new production for the very first In the Night Garden Live UK theatre tour.
Now in its 10th year, In the Night Garden Live is one of the UK’s favourite family events. Over 1 million people have seen it so far and it gets 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 12,844 parents’ reviews.
Please Note: Babe in Arms Tickets are only available for children under 12 months. These can be obtained from the Box Office.
The Woman in Black
Weds 11 September to Sat 14th. Shows at 7.30pm plus Weds/Sat at 2.30pm
The West End smash hit The Woman in Black opens its 2019 Tour in Blackpool!
Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story comes dramatically alive in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation. This gripping production, directed by Robin Herford, is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror.
A lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family by the spectre of a Woman in Black, engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It all begins innocently enough, but then, as they reach further into his darkest memories, they find themselves caught up in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds.
Book now and join the millions of theatregoers worldwide who have experienced ‘The most brilliantly effective spine-chiller you will ever encounter’ Daily Telegraph.
125 People Power
Sunday 15 September from 11.30am
125 People Power: Then, Now, Always… In celebration of Blackpool Grand Theatre’s 125th Anniversary we will be holding a very special National Heritage Open Day on September 15, 2019.
The Theme of National Heritage Open Day is People Power, but what does People Power mean to you? Perhaps it’s the recent marches that have taken place in London, or the growing awareness of the dangers of single-use plastics. The phrase might conjure up images of the Greenham Common women, the poll tax riots, or even John Lennon and Yoko Ono, long-haired and hippyish in the Amsterdam Hilton. People Power is all these things – from small victories to global triumphs and everything in between. Heritage Open Days – has People Power at its heart, and the ability of local communities, groups and individuals to evoke change will be our main focus and theme for this year’s Heritage Open Day.
In support of this National Heritage Open Day campaign, Blackpool’s Grand will hold a celebration of the incredible work of the Friends of The Grand and the thousands of Volunteers and supporters who helped support this beautiful building over its 125 years.
A huge amount of people have been involved supporting and fundraising this iconic Blackpool building. However, maintenance and building work is an ongoing challenge for historic buildings and the Grand Theatre is no exception. In its 125th celebration year we aim to raise £125,000 to repair damage to the Copper Dome, iconic on the Blackpool skyline.
As with the ‘Extraordinary Women’ theme last year, this is an opportunity to tell the stories of people who have changed and shaped the Grand Theatre. We want to hear about the creation of The Friends, special friendships forged connected to The Grand, and ultimately how the Frank Matcham building was saved. We want to talk about and to the people who have been instrumental in the past but moving the theatre forward and helping support it day after day so that we can say ‘the first 125 years were just the beginning…’.
People Power comes in all forms; rebel songs, protests/marches, and conversations over tea and cake. We want to highlight all of these, so on the 15 September the theatre will be co-ordinating a march of ‘125 people’ through the streets of Blackpool, we are hoping to organise groups, businesses, Councillors, Mayors and original, and new, Friends and volunteers.
If you are interested in taking part register online or call 01253 290190. Following the march at 11:30am, the theatre will open for National Heritage Open Day on September 15 at 12noon.
The Addams Family
Wednesday 18 to Saturday 21 September. Shows at 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday
A world wide smash, spawning a TV series and two major Hollywood movies starring Angelica Houston and now the phenomenon that is The Addams Family… hits Blackpool in the coastal premiere of this Broadway musical!
From the creators of the Jersey Boys musical Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and multi award winning Andrew Lippa, this hilarious musical promises to be a spectacular production.
When Wednesday (The Addams family’s rebellious daughter) brings home a “normal” boyfriend, chaos ensues from both family members (alive or dead), it’s a love story with a real heart, albeit a twisted one!
Join Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley & not forgetting Grandma … “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky!” on this magical and fabulous musical – it’s the hottest ticket this season and early booking is advised.
Critically acclaimed ENSEMBLE Theatre bring you The Addams Family following their major hit productions of Oliver and The Sound of Music.
A MONSTER FAMILY HIT … You’ve Just Clicked!
Islands In The Stream
Sunday 22 September at 7.30pm
Islands in the Stream celebrates the music of Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers.
Leave your 9 to 5 worries at the door and get ready for a night in the company of Country Music Royalty!
This thigh-slapping stage show brings together the beloved glamour and personality of Dolly, along with Kenny’s charisma and energy with hit after hit including: Jolene, Ruby, 9 to 5, Lucille, Here You Come Again, The Gambler, I Will Always Love You, Coward of the Country, plus the smash hit Islands in the Stream.
Enjoy a superb score and supreme musicianship as we bring the house down with the ultimate tribute to two country music legends.
Monday 23 to Saturday 28 September, shows at 7.30pm and 2pm Thurs and Sat
Friendsical is an original and unique new parody musical inspired by the gang in Friends, the iconic TV show.
When Ross’s wife leaves him for another woman, he fears he will never find love again. But then Rachel runs back into his life… will he end up with his one true love?
With original new songs such as ‘(He’s her) Lobster!’, ‘Richard’s Moustache’ and ‘You’re Over Me, When Were You Under Me?’, the gang take on naked Thursdays, a power cut, and a dinosaur convention! What could possibly go wrong?
This show is sure to sell-out FAST! So book early!
Reduced Price Public Transport when you Visit The Grand
Blackpool’s Grand Theatre welcomes over 130,000 people a year through its doors. Over 20% of these theatre-goers use public transport. So Blackpool Grand have formed a working partnership with Blackpool Transport to encourage even more theatre goers to travel on local public transport.
Adults can travel to and from the theatre for just £3 and children at £1, saving over 40%.
The travel ticket is simple to add on to theatre tickets when booking your show. In addition, the theatre offers a dedicated webpage where you can order weekly and monthly travel tickets direct to your phone App.
Take advantage of this new, highly-discounted return travel ticket (for adults and children) giving easy access and reduced cost.Using public transport has huge benefits to the community, both economic and health wise, and helps to reduce local road congestion.
How can you help The Grand?
There are lots of ways to make a difference:
– Come to the theatre! The more people who buy tickets and see shows, the more profitable we become. The more profit that we make the better we can be. Simple!
– Make a one-off donation at the website
– Set up a regular donation, you could look at the Charity Aid Foundation (CAF)’s Long-Term Giving. They offer tailored philanthropy services, knowledge and expertise, to help you fulfil your charitable ambitions. They work with over 2,000 high net worth individuals in a variety of ways, from providing valuable administration of their charitable giving through to expert advice on a long term giving strategy.
– Donate when you shop online with easyfundraising. Shop for products from thousands of leading online retailers; use their price comparison tool to ensure you get the best price and even save money by using the exclusive offers and deals available. A percentage of everyday and annual purchases you make (like Travelodge, Thomas Cook, M&S, John Lewis, Aviva, AA, RAC, Sainsbury’s ASDA, Tesco and Ocado) will be donated to charity. easyfundraising have over 3,000 shops and sites that give them a commission for your purchase. They then turn that into a donation and give it to the Grand Theatre. Easy!
– Search online with Everyclick.com – a new UK search engine which donates 50% of its gross revenue to charity. Just use it instead of Google to search online and clicking on one of the results. Its founders hope to pass on to charity some of the £3.9 billion of global web search revenues that are predicted to be generated this year. Just select The Grand as your chosen charity.
– Charity credit cards and energy supplies – ask your energy suppliers or credit card companies if you can donate or if they donate on your behalf, like charitably donating your Cashback offer.
Grand Returns to its Original Footprint – for the first time in more than 40 years
The Friends of The Grand today announced that, after thirty-five years of fundraising, they have, at last, achieved their long-held ambition to return the Grand Theatre to its original architectural footprint.
When Frank Matcham, the famous Victorian theatre designer, was commissioned to create the Grand Theatre in 1893 its owner, Thomas Sergenson, briefed him to incorporate a number of small shops on Church Street into the design.
However, back in 1981, when the Friends purchased the Grade II* listed building from the then owners, EMI, these units were not included in the sale. Ever since, the Friends have been saving in a special fund for the day when it might be possible to buy them.
Well, that day has come and John Buck, Chairman of the Friends of the Grand said ‘it’s like a dream come true. We’ve been saving for this day for years; selling raffle tickets, lapel badges, holding coffee mornings and, even as recently as April we received a bequest from our long-serving Treasurer, Alan Sears, who sadly died earlier this year. It came with the specific instruction that it should only be spent of the purchase of the shops. Alan will be smiling down on us this day’.
John, who is now in his seventies, was one of the original group who raised the money to save the theatre from demolition in 1973. He, along with other passionate and dedicated Friends, cleaned, repaired and painted in their spare time to get the building back on its feet ready for its reopening and dedication from HRH The Prince of Wales in 1981.
‘We were invited to buy the shops back in the 1990s’ remembers John, ‘but, back then, the owners wanted more than a million pounds for them and we thought we’d never be able to raise that much. And we were right! Obviously, times have changed, and, thankfully, we’ve been able raise enough to buy them for less than half that price’.
When the purchase is complete, the deeds of the properties will be donated to the Grand Theatre Trust, the heritage conservation charity which owns and cares for this beautiful historic building.
Roger Lloyd Jones, Chairman of the Trust said ‘there are many, many people who have made this wonderful purchase possible and I would like to thank everyone who has helped. The theatre is now 122 years old and, as you can imagine, needs constant care and attention. We hope the shops will prove an asset to the theatre, providing a small but much-needed rental income to be re-invested in the upkeep of this precious architectural gem’.
The Friends of the Grand is a registered Charity.
Today, the Friends of the Grand still volunteer their services as Front of House staff, envelope-stuffers and runners of the theatre’s coffee stall. Last year, they provided 13,174 hours of voluntary service for the theatre at a value of £88,000.
Blackpool is the home of entertainment and presiding over it is the ‘Grand’ Old Lady.
From opera, ballet and Shakespeare to variety, musicals and comedy giants, The Grand Theatre caters for every age, pocket and personality.
When you enter the Victorian auditorium of the Blackpool Grand Theatre you will understand what people mean by ‘the glorious Grand’. This Frank Matcham designed masterpiece offers ornate, gilded plasterwork, baroque ceiling, cavorting cherubs and cantilevered balconies allowing every seat a clear view of the stage.
125 Glorious Years!
The Grade II* listed Grand Theatre celebrates its 125th Birthday in 2019. It first opened its doors on 23 July 1894, and still remains as one of the few surviving examples of the work of Frank Matcham.
The Grand Theatre has hosted a multitude of stars since its opening, from Lily Langtree to Michael Macintyre, Gracie Fields to Ken Dodd, Arthur Askey to Lee Evans…and the list goes on!
Photo: Sean Conboy
It’s attracted the very best in award-winning touring companies, including The National Theatre, English Touring Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Opera and Ballet International and the Russian State Ballet.
As well as presenting a programme of quality drama, comedy, dance and children’s theatre, The Grand Theatre plays host to the outstanding talents of local performers from groups across Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde.
By the early 1960s theatres across Britain were closing due to loss of audience to television and in July 1972 the then owners, the Tower Company, applied for permission to demolish it. In its place they proposed to build a department store. However, by then, following an application to the Department of the Environment, the theatre had been listed as a Grade II* building and there had to be a full public enquiry.
Early in 1973 the Friends of the Grand Theatre was formed and after legal and financial wrangling, they, together with EMI and the local council, put together a deal involving leasing the theatre for £10,000 per annum and final purchase for £250,000.
You can find out more about the history of this amazing building here
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