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Following continued success of The Grand Theatre, Blackpool’s Play Reading Group, (which takes place on the second Saturday of every month) we are delighted to announce our 2017 dates.
On the Second Saturday of Every Month 1.30pm – 3.30pm. Saturday’s - 12 August, 9 September, 14 October, 11 November
Perfect for anyone who relishes reading and engaging in discussion about great titles from some of the world’s leading play writes.
This friendly group enjoy getting together and revel in discussion on the aspects of the title. They welcome new members on any date, so feel free to join at any time over the next year, you don’t have to attend them all. Be assured of a warm welcome and a lively discussion, with no acting experience or speaking ability required!
Tickets are £3 which includes tea and biscuits. Tickets can be purchased prior to the event or on the day at the Box Office.
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 ticket in advance online, at the Box Office or by calling 01253 290190.
8pm - Friday 4 August, 1 September, 6 October, 3 November
Welcome to the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club at The Grand Studio - bringing the best live stand-up to Blackpool! Each show will have 4 comics including MC Damion Larkin 'One of the country's top new comedians' BBC.
Wherever possible we'll be bringing you comedians off the telly from such shows as BBC2's Mock The Week, Channel 4's 8 Out of 10 Cats, BBC1's Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Have I Got News For You, and Paramount's Live at The Comedy Store. Previously acts have included Jason Manford, John Bishop and Sarah Millican before they hit the big time. So come and see more brilliant comedians!
Prices and book tickets here
Tuesday 15 August at 11am, Saturday 23 September at 11am, Monday 16 October at 11am, Friday 10 November at 11am
Join us for one of our Heritage Theatre Tours led by theatre archivists Geoff and Linda Tolson MBE. 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, 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.
Tuesday 25 July to Sunday 27 August - at 7.30pm with 2.30pm matinees on Wednesday and Saturday
WALK LIKE A MAN takes you back in time on a musical journey through the incredible career of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, now immortalised in the multi-award winning show Jersey Boys, which has been packing theatres worldwide since it’s debut in 2005.
Valli’s unmistakable voice dominated the airwaves for more than two decades with classics such as Sherry, Let’s Hang On, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, My Eyes Adored You, December 63 (Oh What A Night), Bye Bye Baby, Who Loves You and many, many more.
With a repertoire which needs no introduction, WALK LIKE A MAN combines infectious personalities, amazing vocals, slick harmonies and even slicker dance moves to deliver a show full of energy and nostalgia which will leave you wanting more! Don’t miss the ultimate celebration of one of the world’s greatest Rock & Roll bands!
Call the Box Office to book on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it here!) or visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Thursday 31 August to Saturday 2 September at 7.30pm
Direct from its sell-out London run, Derren Brown: Underground is the latest stage show from the multi-award winning master of psychological illusion.
Bringing together a collection of the very best of Derren’s previous stage work, Underground is a spell-binding experience of showmanship and magical genius.
A unique opportunity to see Derren perform his own choice of some of his favourite work on the Grand Theatre stage, for three performances only.
Book quickly as tickets will sell out fast!
Not suitable for under 12 yrs
Monday 11 to Saturday 16 September
Winner of the 1988 Olivier Award for Best Comedy Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine Starring Jodie Prenger.
Shirley is a Liverpool housewife. Her kids have left home and she makes chips and egg for her husband while talking to the wall. Where has her life disappeared to? Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for 2 weeks and she secretly packs her bags. She heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself very differently.
Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy premiered in 1986 and took the world by storm. It was adapted into an Oscar nominated film. Now, on its 30th anniversary, Jodie Prenger stars in the first major revival of this national treasure.
Suitable for 14+
Matinee Thursday and Saturday at 2pm
Sunday 17 September at 7.30pm
The award-winning spectacular is Europe’s biggest and best-loved production of the Blues Brothers.
The show is a high-octane, adrenaline-pumping musical mash-up that presents the best material from the original Blues Brothers movies and is jam-packed full of songs by legends such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Cab Calloway – plus many other blues, soul, Motown and funk classics and a few surprises thrown in along the way. Capturing the sound, energy and persona that propelled the film to a cult status that still thrills audiences worldwide today,
Back with a Brand new production for 2017 with an all new elaborate stage set the Chicago Blues Brothers are taking you back to 1980 to finish the concert at the Palace ballroom hotel. This show is a powerhouse two-hour song-fest with over 40 hits performed live on stage in the concert that never finished.
The Chicago Blues Brothers is a joyous hoot, a musical riot, a juiced-up jamboree of the coolest, funkiest soul, blues and Motown hits performed with style, class and showmanship by a troupe of some of the finest entertainers working in modern musical theatre.
Infectious, dazzling, riotous, exuberant and spirited, the legacy of Jake and Elwood has been jump-started for a new generation with an energy that’s impossible to resist. The Chicago Blues Brothers are on a mission once again – in a high-octane, on-stage party you can’t afford to miss.
19 & 20 September at 7.30pm
National Dance Company Wales is an award-winning company presenting work by some of the most celebrated international choreographers alongside creations by the hottest new talent from Wales. Now NDCWales presents a triple bill of astonishing dance to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
Folk by Caroline Finn - A darkly comic vision of society presented in Finn’s quirky and engaging style. Expressing themes of social relationships, familiar yet surreal scenes come alive to an eclectic and enchanting landscape.
They Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem by Lee Johnston - A heart-wrenching exploration of the separation and disconnection within a relationship, set to music by Max Richter.
Profundis by Roy Assaf - Playful, vibrant and provocative. Roy Assaf’s Profundis uses a haunting and exotic soundtrack along with whimsical wordplay to challenge us to ask questions about what art really means.
Thursday 21 September at 7.30pm
This year T-Rextasy are celebrating Marc’s life and works with a very special commemorative tour. Truly a rock’n’roll concert for all ages – If you would like to know exactly what a Marc Bolan concert was like in the 1970s, this show is for you!
Bolan, with his band T-Rex, was one of the most flamboyant and charismatic stars of the original glam rock era. It’s hard to believe that 40 years have now passed since Marc’s tragic fatal car accident and fans have mourned the loss of a truly individual, inspirational talent ever since. Marc Bolan’s special ingredient of Rock-a-Boogie songs including ’20th Century Boy’, ‘Get in On’ and ‘I Love to Boogie’ have insured that Marc Bolan and T-Rex have become one of the most memorable and enduring bands of the seventies.
T-Rextasy have now been performing around the world for over 20 years, a career that ironically out lives Marc’s very own T-Rex. They have become widely accepted as the world’s only official tribute show dedicated to Marc Bolan & T-Rex, and the only band endorsed and approved by Marc’s family, estate and catalogue management, not to mention original members of T-Rex. The band has been described by many as ‘beyond the boundaries of tribute’.
Friday 22 September at 7.30pm
Purple Rain are a world class live celebration of the music, life and legacy of Prince.
This full 8 piece live band delivers a non-stop, hit packed show spanning more than two hours! Complete with backing vocals, horn section, keys and of course Jimi Love as the unsurpassed Prince.
Expect to see, hear and feel all of the hits from one of the most loved artists of all time. 1999, Little Red Corvette, Purple Rain, Kiss, Diamonds And Pearls, U Got The Look, When Doves Cry, Cream, I Wanna Be Your Lover and so many more.
Hailed by original Prince and the Revolution drummer Bobby Z as “authentic and on the money”, do not miss your chance to see Purple Rain live
Saturday 23 September at 7.30pm
The biggest comedy hit in Scotland since Mrs Brown’s Boys. After two sell-out tours of Scotland, The girls are back for one final tour of The Dolls Abroad.
Having scrubbed toilets and pubs across Scotland, The Dolls are in need of a holiday. Luckily fate intervenes when Agnes wins top prize at Big Bella’s Bingo – a holiday in Greece, and she’s taking her lifelong pal Sadie along for the ride. Expect a whirlwind of Ouzo cocktails, new foods (Tzatziki’s a food? We thought it was an infection) an unlikely romance and the realisation that a friendship found gabbing over a bleached toilet bowl is a friendship for life!
Starring Louise McCarthy (Only an Excuse?) and Gayle Telfer Stevens (River City), The Dolls Abroad is the must-see comedy for 2017.
**PLEASE NOTE: This show is not for the fainthearted or under 16’s**
Call the Box Office to book on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it here!) or visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Sunday 24 September at 7.30pm
Direct from it’s success in London’s West End, a SOLD OUT UK tour and standing ovations at every performance, The Simon and Garfunkel Story is back!
Using huge projection photos and original film footage, this 50th Anniversary Celebration also features a full live band performing all the hits including ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘Cecilia’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Homeward Bound’ and many more. Get your tickets fast as this is an evening not to be missed!
“Fantastic” – Elaine Paige, BBC Radio 2. “Authentic and Exciting” – The Stage
Saturday 30 September at 7.30pm
Tap Factory is an International hit-show for all the family, featuring urban tap dance, percussion, comedy and acrobatics.
Tap Factory is so much more than a tap show – full of high energy dance, explosive percussion and unbelievable acrobatics, all wrapped up in a fun-filled evening.
The stunning live music and choreography is created from the most ordinary of objects by a highly talented, internationally renowned cast of award-winning tap dancers.
On stage the show features; 4 pairs of tap shoes, 12 oil barrels, 1 stepladder, 4 trash bins, 1 bucket, 1 toolbox, 1 broom, 12 cans, 4 wood mallets and eight handsome men. Don’t miss it!
1, 8, 15 & 22 October at 7pm
Come see Ken Dodd Happiness Show and you’ll be absolutely discumknockerated (that’s Knotty Ash for ‘over the moon’) by a truly tattifelarius (fun-filled) evening of laughter and songs.
Sir Ken Dodd’s incredible and hugely successful career as a professional entertainer now spans over 60 fun-filled years! He is a comedian of unrivalled legendary status. An icon and national treasure who has been entertaining audiences for a lifetime of happiness and laughter.
He is a multi-award winning entertainer, so don’t miss his fun-filled Happiness Show for all the family. With a supporting company, non-stop gags and a selection of songs presented in Ken’s uniquely versatile style: everything from ballads to grand opera!
Saturday 7 October at 7.30pm
Steve Steinman’s The Meatloaf Story heads to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
Steve Steinman the creative force behind the hugely successful Vampires Rock returns with this epic musical concert delivering the best of the best from Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell record-breaking album.
Discarding the pretence of wigs and make up for this show, Steve lets his voice and the performance do the talking.
With video scenes, incredible stage set, superb band and Steve Steinman’s unique sense of humour and stage presence, the show will have you up on your feet and dancing in the aisles to all the greatest Meat Loaf hits –Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth, Anything For Love, Dead Ringer For Love and Bat Out of Hell, to name just a few.
PS…and don’t forget to book your tickets for Vampires Rock: Ghost Train too!
9 - 14 October at 7.30pm, matinees at 2.30pm on Weds and Sat
Bill Kenwright presents The Classic Thriller Theatre Company in Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone.
Eunice struggles to fit in. When she joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper the very reason for her awkwardness, long hidden and deeply buried, leads to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood – on Valentine’s Day. Ruth Rendell’s brilliant plot unravels a lifetime of deceit, and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as grizzly as murder itself.
Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, which sold over two million tickets and continually played to packed houses around the UK, Bill Kenwright presents a new production adapted from one of the most celebrated works of the writer often hailed as the successor to Agatha Christie. Credited with revitalising the mystery genre, Ruth Rendell was first published in 1964 her prolific output included film and TV as well as 80 novels.
A Judgement in Stone’s star cast includes award winning TV Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster in Coronation Street) who played the role of DI Neil Manson in The Bill. He is joined by Sophie Ward who played Dr Helen Trent in long-running ITV drama Heartbeat, pop-idol Mark Wynter, Deborah Grant, who has starred in Not Going Out and Bergerac, movie icon Shirley Anne Field who became an overnight star in the landmark films The Entertainer opposite Sir Laurence Olivier, Antony Costa who shot to fame in chart topping boy band Blue and Ben Nealon of Soldier Soldier.
17 - 21 October at 7.30pm, 2pm matinee on Weds and Sat
STOMP, the British theatrical sensation that has become a truly global phenomenon, is an infectious mix of percussion, dance, theatre and comedy with an exhilarating soundtrack inspired by the commotion of everyday life.
Eight performers use everything from Zippo lighters, bin lids, and even the kitchen sink to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm enjoyed by audiences of all ages the world over.
The show was created in Brighton by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas in 1991, previewing at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre and premiering to critical and popular acclaim at the Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Between 1991 and 1994, the original cast of Stomp played to capacity audiences around the world: from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Dublin to Sydney. The touring culminated in a sell-out season at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in January 94, where Stomp received an Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment and won Best Choreography in a West End Show.
Now STOMP returns and it’s bigger and louder than ever…
24 - 28 October at 7.30pm, 2pm matinee on Thurs and Sat
Tango Moderno is the irresistible hot new stage spectacular from tango superstars Vincent and Flavia.
Dance partners for over two decades, world champions, Strictly favourites and West End stage stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace fuse together Ballroom, Latin, and Argentine tango to give you a performance that smoulders with desire. With classic steps, they create a Tango for today.
Tango is the rhythm of the city, the heat of the streets and the pulse of life.
Sunday 29 October at 2.30pm
Based on the fabulous new book Don’t Dribble on The Dragon by Steven Lee and with magic designed by the legendary Paul Daniels.
This spectacular musical adventure is about growing up and the importance of family. It is the perfect feel-good show for big hearted adults and loving little ones alike.
Tom is a toddler with a cool older brother, a secret dragon… and a dribbling problem that just won’t stop! When Tom’s endless drooling threatens to tear the brothers’ friendship apart can their dragon’s amazing magic help them put it back together again or will it only end up making things worse?
For adults and cool kids of all ages (not recommended for under 2s)
30 October at 1.30 and 4.30pm, 31 October at 10.30 and 1.30pm
Following a smash-hit West End season, The Tiger Who Came to Tea is coming to Blackpool!
The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger!
The tea-guzzling tiger is back on the road in this delightful family show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! A stunning stage adaptation of the classic tale of teatime mayhem… expect to be surprised!
David Wood OBE is undisputedly the country’s leading writer and director of plays and musicals for children. His many successes include The Gingerbread Man, BFG, The Witches, Meg and Mog, Spot and Babe the Sheep Pig.
For children aged three and above. Running time: approx 55 minutes (no interval).
Wednesday 1 November at 7.30pm
Original ‘dreamboats’, Marty Wilde, Eden Kane, Mike Berry, and The Wildcats, as well as very special guest Mark Wynter, join forces in The Solid Gold Rock ‘N’ Roll Show.
The late fifties and early sixties were without doubt some of the most exciting and important years in the history of music. With the arrival of rock n’ roll, a whole new pop culture was born.
Performing their own hits and collaborating live on stage, Marty, Eden, Mike and Mark, teen idols of their day, show us how rock n’ roll with its fusion of sound and rhythm shaped the style of music that we listened to then and still do today. Includes hits such as A Teenager In Love, Rubber Ball, Donna, I Don’t Know Why, Well I Ask You, Don’t You Think It’s Time, The Sunshine of Your Smile, Venus In Blue Jeans, Go Away Little Girl, and many, many more!
3 & 4 November at 7.30pm, plus 2pm matinee on Saturday
Jasmin Vardimon Company presents a brand new adaptation of the classic tale, Pinocchio.
Be charmed by Jasmin Vardimon’s joyous and wildly imaginative take on the classic Collodi fairytale. With humour, engaging drama and theatrical innovation, Pinocchio takes us on a magical journey as he discovers what it is to be human.
With trademark choreographic style, Vardimon’s breath-taking dancers bring to life the enchanting world of the famous marionette in this visual delight for all the family.
Sunday 5 November at 7.30pm
An 80s Triple Header featuring: Midge Ure’s Band Electronica ,The Christians and Altered Images featuring Clare Grogan.
Midge Ure with his Band Electronica, The Christians and Altered Image featuring Clare Grogan, three critically acclaimed legends of the 80s join forces in this major new UK tour.
With millions of albums sales and iconic hits, plus over 30 years perfecting their craft, performing to audiences at sold out stadiums, intimate unplugged sets and everything in between, this authentic 80s triple-header is not to be missed.
7 - 11 November at 7.30pm, plus 2.30pm matinee on Thursday and Saturday
In Private Lives, Noël Coward’s most popular and enduring stage comedy, strong passions and stronger personalities set the stage for a classic battle of the sexes.
1930. Deauville, France. Two newly-married couples occupy adjoining honeymoon suites in the same hotel. As a distant orchestra plays, Sibyl gazes adoringly at charismatic husband Elyot, while Victor admires his new wife, the vivacious and sophisticated Amanda.
Champagne flows and the sea shimmers in the moonlight as the newlyweds prepare for the evening ahead. But when Amanda overhears a familiar voice singing a forgotten song, an old spark reignites, with spectacular consequences.
Sunday 12 November at 7.30pm
For over 50 years, John Mayall has served as a pioneer of blues music, rightly earning him the title, “The Godfather of British Blues”.
Regarded by many as blues’ most influential artist, John’s band The Bluesbreakers, launched the careers of many true legends including Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Peter Green and Mick Taylor.
64 albums later and John’s captivating and authentic sound is still as vital today is it ever was.
Special guest and long term collaborator, Texan guitarist Buddy Whittington makes a welcome return to the UK with The Buddy Whittington Band. After joining The Bluesbrakers in 1993, he energized the band with his unique and fiery live style. Buddy made his recording debut on the Spinning Coin album and proved to be more than equal to following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors.
Monday 13 to Saturday 18 November 2017
Direct from London’s West End where it is now in its record breaking 9th year, THRILLER LIVE returns to Blackpool following huge popular demand.
The spectacular concert created to celebrate the career of the world’s greatest entertainer goes on sale at 10am on Friday 24 March on Blackpool Grand Theatre’s website www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Seen by over 4 million people in over 30 countries, THRILLER LIVE continues to moonwalk around the world, taking you on a visual, audio and electrifying journey through the magic of Michael’s 45 year musical history.
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!
Call Box Office on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it here!) or visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Monday 20 November at 7.30pm
Be part of the magic as A Night of Dirty Dancing heads out on its BIGGEST Tour yet.
No film has captured the hearts of a generation like Dirty Dancing. Relive the passion, the romance & joy of the cult classic and celebrate the music of one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time.
Be part of the glorious summer of ‘63 and experience all your favourite songs such as She’s Like The Wind, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Hey Baby, Wipe-out, Hungry Eyes. And of course, the Oscar Winning (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.
So put down that watermelon and get your tickets for A Night of Dirty Dancing: The Ultimate Tribute Show. It’s going to have you dancing dirty in the aisles… Touring from September 2017.
*Please note this show is not affiliated with ‘Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage’ currently on tour in the UK and worldwide.
Call Box Office on 01253 290 190 (please mention you saw it here!) or visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Wednesday 22 November at 7.30pm
Joss Arnott Dance new classical contemporary programme for 2017 will take you on a gripping journey through powerful and heart-pounding choreography that has established the company as one of the most exciting voices in British contemporary dance.
Created in collaboration with the some of the industry’s foremost, award-winning dancers, composers and designers, Arnott’s new Triple Bill consists of two brand new dance works – A Movement in 3 and RUSH – alongside the company’s internationally award-winning solo V that will feature live music for the first time.
Expect a highly charged, visually stunning and musically led evening of dance that explodes with power and technical brilliance.
Thursday 23 November at 7.30pm
Touring UK theatres for the very first time, Someone Like You – The Adele Songbook is an immaculate celebration of one of our generation’s finest singer-songwriters.
Hand-picked by Adele herself to star on Graham Norton’s BBC ADELE Special, the outstanding Katie Markham has the show-stopping voice and captivating charisma to deliver all your favourite hits in an enthralling concert performance.
The show faithfully recreates the magic of the three record-breaking albums 19, 21 and 25 – including Chasing Pavements, Make You Feel My Love, Set Fire To The Rain, Someone Like You, Hello, Rolling In The Deep, the multi-million seller Skyfall and many more.
Someone Like You will take you on a soul-stirring journey from break up to make up!
Friday 24 November at 7.30pm
Get ready for an unforgettable evening with a global superstar, as he puts the Boom Boom into your heart in the all new production for 2017 – Fastlove – A Tribute to George Michael.
The show is packed with crowd pleasing anthems. From Wham! classics of the ‘new pop’ revival to the chart topping success of the eighties album Faith. All the awesome tunes of the nineties & noughties including the irresistible Flawless.
This is a spellbinding experience you don’t want to miss. You’ll be getting up (to get down) to all your favourite songs: Careless Whisper, Freedom, Faith, Father Figure, One More Try, Outside, Jesus To A Child, I Want Your Sex, Kissing A Fool, and many more.
Relive the passion, the flare, and the unique sensitivity of George Michael in this incredible concert sensation. As the great man said: you gotta have faith… So book your tickets now!
Saturday 25 November at 7.30pm
Relive the iconic sound of The Police and front man Sting with this unmissable pitch-perfect production – Message In A Bottle: A Tribute to The Police.
Fans of the legendary rock band won’t believe their ears as message in a bottle brings the stage alive with the magic of the Police’s greatest hits including Every Breath You Take, Roxanne, Message in a bottle, Walking on the Moon, So Lonely, Cant Stand Losing and Englishman in New York.
Witness the raw talent shine through stunning vocals and flawless instrumentals, underpinned by an effortlessly cool stage presence and accompanied by captivating lighting – bringing an old-school nostalgia to this new wave tribute.
Whether you’re a diehard fan or just a lover of great music, this energetic live show oozes authenticity and promises a medley of music that’s guaranteed to have you singing your heart out.
Sunday 26 November at 7.30pm
Some Guys Have All The Luck is a fantastic theatrical production celebrating the career of one of rocks greatest icons, Rod Stewart – from street busker through to international superstar!
Paul Metcalfe delivers an authentic and charismatic performance assuming the persona of this legendary singer-songwriter and performer right down to the last detail – from the distinctive vocals to the swaggering showmanship and sheer fun that have made Rod Stewart one of the most loved performers of all time.
The show includes all the massive hits from Rod’s incredible career, classic rockers like Maggie May, Baby Jane and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy through to big ballads such as Sailing, You’re In My Heart, and Tonight’s The Night as well as favourites from his days with the Faces such as Stay With Me and Twistin The Night Away and timeless Motown tunes from the album Soulbook.
The Grand’s Panto for 2017/18 is CINDERELLA and will run from 5 December 2017 to 7 January 2018!
Tickets are on sale NOW! Prices and book tickets here or call the box office on 01253 290190 (and please mention you saw it here!)
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 are 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.
SEPTEMBER 2016 TO MARCH 2017
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool announces an exciting new programme of shows for 2016/ 17. With an incredible line-up of drama, musicals, dance, opera, music and comedy–there’s something for everyone to enjoy at The Grand!
Grand Theatre Chief Executive Ruth Eastwood said,
“At the Grand Theatre we always strive to offer our audiences the best quality and variety of arts and entertainment, with productions as diverse as Ellen Kent’s Aida, Stickman and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest, we hope that everyone will be able to find something that appeals to them in our autumn 2016 programme.”
Call Box Office on 01253 74 33 39 or visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Blackpool Grand Theatre has completed its major refurbishment project on time and on budget.
The £1m backstage project saw new rehearsal and dressing rooms created along with a new multi-use space and an open plan office suite. The project has delivered modern facilities that sit comfortably in the Grade II* listed theatre.
Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust chair, Roger Lloyd Jones, commented, “I am extremely proud of what has been delivered on a tight budget while keeping the theatre open throughout the work programme.
“Our architect, Lawrence Mcburney from Cassidy + Ashton; project manager, Shaun Ward from Blackpool Council; and contractors, Parkinsons, worked in close partnership with us to sensitively upgrade and extend our facilities.
"None of this would have been possible without the financial support of Arts Council England, Friends of The Grand, Garfield Weston Trust, and Blackpool Council.
"My thanks to our CEO, Ruth Eastwood, and her team for completing the project on time and on budget.
"We are now able to offer a variety of additional facilities to local arts organisations for meetings, functions, rehearsals and small-scale performances.”
Ambition for Excellence
Blackpool Grand Theatre is pleased to announce that its application to Arts Council England’s ‘Ambition for Excellence’ Fund has been successful. The fund has been created to stimulate and support ambition, talent and excellence in the arts, particularly outside London.
The award totals £680,000 and will be used to commission two pieces of work for the town, both of which will involve artists of international standing as well as local talent to create exciting new events in 2016 and 2017. The two new projects will be delivered by the Grand Theatre in partnership with LeftCoast.
Michael Trainor, Artistic Director of LeftCoast, said: “Winning this major national award from Arts Council England is a huge vote of confidence in Blackpool’s creative community and will bring the very highest quality creative experiences to the amazing locations and good people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.”
For the first piece, the partners will work with the renowned company dreamthinkspeak. dreamthinkspeak hasn’t created a new work in the North West of England since Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008. The company’s highly imaginative ways of working and the amazing artistic experiences that they create will attract both locals and visitors to Blackpool.
Tristan Sharps, Artistic Director of dreamthinkspeak, said: “This is wonderful news! I’m really looking forward to my stay in Blackpool and creating a show for a secret and fantastical site at the heart of the town! As always with a dreamthinkspeak project, I will be living in the town during the creation of the show and working closely with large numbers of local residents. I’m really excited to explore and discover how the project will adapt and develop in response to this remarkable town’s past, present and future. I’ve been dreaming about this project for the last two years. This award makes the dream real and I cannot wait to crack on”.
Older readers might remember a huge King Kong strapped to the front of Blackpool Tower, and the second piece, planned for 2017, will be a re-imagining of the King Kong story, utilising multiple art forms in a variety of locations. Again working with large numbers of local artists, crafts people and residents, this project will have huge community involvement as well as great spectacle.
Alison Clark, Director Combined Arts & North, and Programme lead for Ambition for Excellence said, “This award represents a very significant moment for arts in Blackpool. This exciting internationally important programme illustrates the impact of the innovative cultural leaders in the town, and we look forward to seeing its powerful long term effects on artists and the arts infrastructure in Blackpool and beyond.”
Ruth Eastwood, CEO of the Grand Theatre (pictured) said: “We don’t want to give too much away just now. These are big and important projects that will help consolidate Blackpool’s growing reputation as a place with culture at its heart; celebrating the uniqueness of this amazing town and offering new and different artistic experiences to people, young and old. Now the hard work starts to create something really special.”
Regular Visit Fylde Coast reader Peter and his wife went on Tuesday evening to see The History Boys at the Grand Theatre.
It’s a well known play by the acclaimed playwright Alan Bennett. Set in Yorkshire in the 1980’s with a background of 80’s music and revolving around a group of male students and their teachers and Head, and a good sized cast which adds interest.
With humour and intelligence the students joust for mastery of their teachers while the teachers challenge for mastery of method. All the while sexual tensions rise between students, school staff and teachers led by the school Lothario and tester of all boundaries.
The headmaster is driven by results the teachers by their teaching styles. It certainly stretched my grey matter, debating the merit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake and knowledge for exam success. Are they bound for Oxford or Nottingham. Will their interview rehearsals help?
In the end one teacher is in a wheelchair and another perhaps died for his belief and the students declare their life paths. It’s a lot to take in and the brain needs to be working well to get the most out of it. Although maybe you just take in the characters, jokes and student humour.
It was another good night out and well attended at the lovely Grand Theatre.
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool marked the centenary of the First World War by hosting the final dates of the world premiere tour of Pat Barker’s Booker-nominated novel Regeneration from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 November 2014
Regular Visit Fylde Coast reader Peter and his wife visited the matinee of ‘Regeneration’.
"The play is highly rated and quite a coup for the Grand. There was a good sized audience topped up by a lot of teenagers from local schools. The play has a serious theme in a war hospital based on some truth but it also has humour. Especially from the northern lad who isn’t normal officer class and has always defied his asthma. In the background is the contrast between the relatively pleasant life in the hospital and the harsh life at the front line. Whether it encourages malingering and the complex feeling of guilt for being a survivor.
The story is well written and presented keeping the attention through a lot of clever scene and costume changes as well as convincing acting.
The two officer poets, Sigmund Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, are well known and offer insight to war poetry. As a bit of local interest Wilfred Owen in real life spent some time at Fleetwood Rifle Range.
The story hinges around Sigmund Sassoon, who has written an anti-war paper and because of friends has been declared mentally unfit rather than shot, and the doctor in charge whose job is to get the men fit to return to the front line. Also Wilfred Owen who adulates Sigmund and his poetry although it’s not fully reciprocated. The patients are a mixed selection of officers with early 20th century attitudes which are genuine belief but often appear slightly humorous now. There is emotional turmoil, men suffering from shell shock.
This play is a lot more gripping than expected and it seemed like we had travelled on a journey that kept the interest high right through.
Regular Visit Fylde Coast reader Peter and his wife review Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool presented by the English Touring Theatre, 23rd October 2014
This is the first of Shakespeare’s comedies I’ve seen and a jolly, confused, caper it is with excellent acting and imaginative use of stage props. Matinee shows usually have an older audience but plays like this often have schools in the audience. Today youngish 10/11 year olds filled a large section. They really enjoyed the comic scenes and were well behaved, a credit to the schools.
This production has a 19th Century feel for the set and costume. Like many Shakespeare plays it takes a while to get your ear tuned to the 16th century dialogue. The opening scenes make good use of effects as the twins are washed ashore in a storm. The parts are introduced and for a while it seems a bit slow going. The show has a lot of lows and highs. When Mr Belch really has had too much to drink the show lifts off. The children loved these scenes of drunkenness and Mr Belch is brilliantly played.
The trick played on Malvolio that makes him appear a madman is pure mischief and we love his socks even if the lady doesn’t. The show becomes a frenzy of activity with women pretending to be men in love with men and women in love with women believing them to be men and a servant tricked into appearing mad locked in a cell. Meanwhile the Fool plays on. It was a sign of a play well done that the end scenes of the twines re-united were quite touching - something in my eye again.
Some famous lines are in this play: ‘Some are born into greatness, some achieve greatness and some have it thrust upon them’. The wonderful line ‘none can be called deformed but the unkind’ brought some giggles from the younger section of the audience and I wondered why, it is a great thought and from the year 1600. ‘If music be the food of love, play on’. All that and more in one play.
The acting by everyone is excellent, this is a top class production with a good sized cast using an interesting interpretation and props. Well worth seeing.
The Simon & Garfunkel Story was on for one night at the Grand in September and Visit Fylde Coast reader Peter and his wife went along to the show.
Not being a massive S&G fan I was wondering how they’d fill the time but thought the story could be interesting. Many stars begin their careers at a very early age, they were singing together in the early 50’s and keen on harmony.
The two actors told us the story with photos projected behind them and then burst into song. They seemed to be chosen for their look and that their voices were so like the real thing, especially ‘Garfunkel’. The Voice of an Angel said ‘Paul’ at the end, and it was true.
The show had a very decent sized audience and many who knew all the songs. Starting with their pop Everly Brothers style which the Story says they carried on by always playing an Everly Brothers song in their shows. Moving to folk in the early 60’s it was a bit of a mixed start. By Homeward Bound we were moving into friendly ground. It was written when Paul was sitting on Widnes railway station and pining for his English girlfriend and New York we were told.
‘I am a rock’ was another great song, ‘I have my books and my poetry to protect me’. The vocals and instruments were better than the records, certainly better than some of the re-mastered ultra-clean things you can buy. The show was getting into its stride and at the interval we were trying to recall what was left to play.
Actually the show hadn’t begun. ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ what a track with that guitar riff and words of passage of time ‘look around the leaves are brown’. Mrs Robinson, we all know about that, with clips of Dustin Hoffman in the film behind.
Bridge Over Troubled Water was such a mega-album and built up in the Story, full of great tracks. Cecilia, The Boxer and one I’d forgotten that has haunted me since ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied’, an ear-worm it’s said. We were told they were tiring of each other and split a few times.
‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ seemed ambitious but ‘the voice of an angel’ delivered it without a flutter. Listening to those tracks afterwards it seems the show versions are often better, more presence in the voice and more beat. This show was one without regrets.
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.
The Grade II* listed Grand Theatre celebrated its 120th Birthday on Wednesday 23 July 2014.
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
Over the 120 years, 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 plays host to the outstanding talents of local performers from groups across Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde.
Ruth Eastwood, Chief Executive said,
“120 years on from first opening its doors, The Grand still remains at the heart of the community, offering people of Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde and the Region the very best in touring productions, as well as opportunities to participate, experience and learn through theatre.”
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 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.
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool is one of Britain’s premier heritage theatres. Listed Grade II*, this Matcham theatre is in the top 8 per cent of all listed buildings in England, and one of only thirty listed buildings in Blackpool. It is one of only nine large theatres listed Grade II* or above, north of London.
The Grand is owned by the Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust Limited. This organisation reopened the theatre in 1981 following the efforts of a number of committed volunteers who saved the theatre from demolition. Restoration work has continued without ever closing the theatre.
This amazing space is a wonder of restoration and revival, presenting a full range of every performing artform, as Blackpool's community theatre, Lancashire's preferred opera house and Britain's National Theatre of Variety.
The Grand Theatre was opened on July 23, 1894, by Thomas Sergenson, Blackpool's first successful theatrical manager.
Sergenson immediately dubbed the theatre 'Matcham's Masterpiece', a title that is even more merited now that there are few surviving examples of the work of Frank Matcham, the leading Victorian theatre architect who designed it.
The theatre took just nine months to build and cost Sergenson £20,000, part of which he had earned by operating two small rented theatres and from a circus that he staged for five summer seasons on the site of The Grand.
During his fifteen years at The Grand, Sergenson presented great stars like Ellen Terry, Madge Kendal, Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtry, F R Benson and Dan Leno. In 1909 he sold the theatre for a handsome £47,500 to the Blackpool Tower Company, who ran The Grand for the next sixty-two years.
The Grand was the first Blackpool theatre to present the two big musical hits of World War One - The Maid of The Mountains and Chu Chin Chow - and in the 1920s become noted for staging big American musicals like Rose Marie, The Desert Song and No No Nanette.
The theatre began to be used by top West End producers for British premieres and for forty years many plays and musicals were seen at The Grand 'prior to London'.
After the success of talking pictures, The Grand in the 1930s was a cinema in the winter and staged 'live' shows during the holiday season. Most famous of the 1930s' attractions was Gracie Fields, who made all her Blackpool Variety appearances from 1932 to 1938 at The Grand Theatre.
When the Tower Company began to build the new Blackpool Opera House in 1938, The Grand was returned to its role as an all-year playhouse. The first summer season show was held in 1940. It was a variety revue starring local comedian Harry Korris, who returned the following summer with a stage version of his famous Happidrome radio show.
During World War Two, Blackpool was a safe haven from German bombing and many great stars and shows came to The Grand. There were visits by Gielgud, Evans, Ashcroft, Harrison, Vivien Leigh, Flora Robson, Robert Donat, John Mills and Emlyn Williams.
In October, 1942, Noel Coward premiered and appeared in two of his plays and the prestige of The Grand continued through the 1950s, which was a glittering decade in spite of the growing impact of television. Holiday-makers of the 1950s and 1960s best remember The Grand for the highly successful summer season forces, starring comedy favourites like Arthur Askey, Thora Hird, Glenn Melvyn, Danny Ross, Hylda Baker, Freddie Frinton, Sid James and Jack Douglas.
By the early 1960s theatres across Britain were closing due to loss of audience to television. The Grand survived longer than most, thanks to the backing of the Tower Company. But the shortage of good shows, coupled with declining ticket sales, forced a policy of winter closure from 1963. Fewer big names came to the theatre, although the summer season forces continued to make money.
In the mid 1960s, the theatre was included in a town centre redevelopment plan. The result of this was that in July 1972 the Tower Company applied for permission to demolish it. In its place they proposed a department store.
By then, however, following an application to the Deparment of the Environment, the theatre had been listed as a Grade II building. Because of that, there had to be a full public enquiry.
Early in 1973 there was a meeting at a local hotel where the Friends of The Grand was formed specifically to resist the application, which by then was supported by the Local Authority.
In 1975, after years of disuse, it became obvious that the Tower Company were planning to turn The Grand into a bingo hall. After another round of legal and financial wrangling, the Friends of the Grand, 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.
After the eventual purchase of the theatre by The Grand Theatre Trust, in September, 1980, dozens of 'Friends' helped to refurbish the dressing rooms and backstage areas in readiness for The Grand's reopening in the week of Monday March 23, 1981, by Timothy West and Prunella Scales in the Old Vic production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
In May 1981, the theatre had a prestigious two-week visit by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company with their Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, and on May 29 the ultimate theatrical honour of a Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales.
The audience for weekly theatre, which had dissolved during the nine-year closure of The Grand, was slowly won back and developed during the 1980s. The Grand brought Northern Ballet Theatre and London City Ballet to Blackpool on regular visits. Annual concerts by The Halle and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras became a feature Opera appeared on the theatre's calendar of events, first by Opera 80 and now from international travelling Opera companies.
The theatre proves that, when scheduled within a varied programme of plays, dance, musicals and concerts, there is a healthy demand for the arts in Blackpool and the surrounding areas.
Adapted from "A Short History of the Grand Theatre" by Barry Band, Grand Theatre historian and Director of the Grand Theatre Trust Ltd, and "How the Grand was Saved" by A Burt Briggs (TD), Vice-President of the Grand Theatre Trust and Founder of the Friends of the Grand, published in the pamphlet "Centenary Appeal: Blackpool Grand Theatre 1894-1994".
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