Blackpool’s iconic Grand Theatre celebrates 125 years this year, the theatre was opened in 1894 by Thomas Sergenson, Blackpool’s first successful theatrical manager.
Celebrating 125 Glorious Years – Magic Memories Future Dreams
In celebration of 125 years the theatre’s programme is packed with incredible cultural joys!
Highlights include celebrating its birthday week (Jul 23-27) with the Agatha Christie’s timeless thriller The Mousetrap. This unstoppable West End hit has been delighting theatregoers for 67 years with its macabre murder mystery.
Susan Penhaligon is to star as Mrs Boyle, known for her role in the drama series Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1976), and for playing Helen Barker in the sitcom A Fine Romance (1981–84). Penhaligon has also starred in soaps Emmerdale, Casualty and Doctors.
First seen in Nottingham in 1952 starring Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim, The Mousetrap has gone on to become the world’s longest running stage production, continuing a record-breaking run with over 27,500 performances in London so far.
This special year will see the Grand Theatre produce. The Premiere of a brand new 80s musical, Around The World In 80s Days (31 Jul to 31 Aug).
Based on Jules Verne’s acclaimed novel. A premiere will be 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.
A further delight in the Grand Theatre’s programme in this 125th Anniversary is The Woman In Black, the West End smash hit by Susan Hill which will open its 2019 UK tour at Blackpool’s Grand this September (11-14).
This gripping production now celebrating 30 years is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror. Join the millions of theatregoers worldwide who have experienced ‘The most brilliantly effective spine-chiller you will ever encounter.’ Daily Telegraph.
Towards the end of the year the theatre will present the towns favourite swashbuckling adventure pantomime Peter Pan starring local legend Steve Royle. Perfect for the whole family and a great addition to Christmas.
Other great family friendly shows include; Comedy Chaos For Kids, CBeebies TV hit show In The Night Garden, the 45th Anniversary production of There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and The Adams Family.
For a full list of productions in this special 125th Anniversary year visit their website.
A Seaside Cultural Asset
Blackpool’s Grand still hosts Britain’s most amazing companies and is a Cultural asset within the town. The Theatre has presented and continues to present such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, the theatre continues to present a diverse programme which includes companies like Hofesh Schechter, Boy Blue and Matthew Bourne.
Household names that have stood on the ‘Grand’ stage 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.
The People’s Palace
Frank Matcham was the appointed architect of Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, and locally was called the ‘The People’s Palace’. Theatre 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 (only 22 remain today), the leading Victorian theatre architect. The theatre took just nine months to build and cost £20,000.
To celebrate the 125th Anniversary the theatre is holding special 125 Celebration Open Days. Throughout 2019 each month, the theatre throws open its door and allows visitors to look around the building and admire the outstanding architecture and a new . Guided tours are available by Grand Heritage Guides for a small charge.
To learn more about the history of Blackpool’s Grand Theatre visit their website.