Blackpool’s Grand Theatre was opened on July 23 1894 by Thomas Sergenson, Blackpool’s first successful theatrical manager. Sergenson christened 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. The theatre took just nine months to build and cost £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.
With his imposing new theatre, Sergenson surprised the resort with the quality of his stars and shows. 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 first summer season show was held in 1940. It was a variety revue starring local comedian Harry Korris. During World War Two, Blackpool was a safe haven from German bombing and many great stars and shows came to The Grand.
Today, Blackpool’s Grand still hosts Britain’s most amazing companies and is a Cultural asset within the town. The Theatre has presented such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and Birmingham Stage Company to contemporary dance companies like Hofesh Schechter, Boy Blue and Matthew Bourne.
The Theatre presents over 100 different companies a year covering drama, dance, comedy, family as well as the classical Ballet and Opera.
In more recent years’ appearances by household names included; Peter Kay, Dame Barbara Windsor DBE, Michael McIntyre, Jason Manford, Des O’Connor CBE, Derren Brown, Sir Roger Moore KBE, Su Pollard, Pauline Quirke, Jimmy Tarbuck, Julian Clarey, Sooty, Lesley Joseph, Danny Miller, Dawn French, Alan Carr, Gary Lucy, Ricky Tomlinson, Rufus Hound, Sir Ken Dodd OBE, Olly Murs, Jimmy Osmond, Elkie Brookes and the Hairy Bikers.
To discover more of What’s On at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk or call 01253 290190.