Ride and Read
For the first time in Blackpool, free reading books will be available on buses across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre provided by Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
Ahead of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s forthcoming visit to the theatre with Romeo and Juliet, Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, in partnership with Blackpool Transport aims to give passengers free access to Britain’s iconic writer and storyteller – William Shakespeare.
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
As part of this year’s 125th Anniversary celebrations, Blackpool’s Grand has placed 125 copies of Romeo and Juliet on more than 25 buses across Blackpool Transport’s fleet. The paperbacks are there for commuters, students and children to enjoy free reading of a few scenes whilst on their journey and then leave the book on the seat for the next passenger to discover. The theatre expects over 175,000 people to have access to the books over the next month. Shakespeare’s most famous story of love-at-first-sight explodes with intense passion and irresistible desire with heart-breaking consequences, and after enjoying reading some of it, passengers can see this fantastic story come to life on the Grand Theatre’s stage from 26 February to 2 March.
Directed by Erica Whyman, this contemporary look at the timeless lovers has been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. The production will feature young people from Blackpool who will perform alongside the professional cast.
The Daily Telegraph said ‘This must be the most fleet-footed account of Romeo and Juliet since West Side Story. Erica Whyman has done something bold, which is to incorporate into the company a handful of pupils from schools across the country; their freshness rubs off onto the rest of the cast.’
The RSC production of Romeo and Juliet is aimed at young people of all ages and is a fantastic way to explore the concepts of family, love and loyalty.
Ruth Eastwood, Blackpool Grand Theatre Chief Executive said, ‘We are extremely proud to welcome the Royal Shakespeare Company back to the Grand Theatre. Over the last seven years, the RSC have become important and valued partners, working with us in schools across the district, with amateur societies and community groups – bringing Shakespeare to life for all ages.’
Jane Cole, Blackpool Transport Managing Director said, ‘We are proud to offer our customers an excellent experience on our fleet and we hope this fun initiative will inspire them to enjoy more than just a journey’.
Erica Whyman, director of Romeo and Juliet said: “We really enjoyed our time at Blackpool’s Grand when we brought my production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream there back in 2016. I’m delighted that we are returning with Romeo and Juliet, in the theatre’s 125th year.”