Grand Times: New Season Launch in Blackpool
Sandra Mangan | Friday, July 24, 2015
Blackpool in July – and an appointment at one of the resort’s top seafront eateries. Sun, sea, sand…. what could possibly go wrong with the Grand’s new season launch?
As I battled my way into a headwind, rain rapidly frizzing my carefully coiffured barnet, I began to wonder which season was being launched? Surely this was supposed to be the summer?
Prospects brightened as I threw myself through the doorway and into the dry. What’s that I spy? A glass of sparkling stuff? And a goody bag too? Things were certainly looking up!
New Season of Drama
It was smiles all around as Ruth Eastwood, chief executive of the Grand, began to outline what the theatre has in store for us over the next few months.This September, customers will be able to enjoy more shows than ever at the Blackpool Grand “With our box office and Studio space refurbishment, we are at the start of a very exciting time at the Grand Theatre,” she beamed. “This September, customers will be able to enjoy more shows than ever with our new season of drama, family and comedy shows in The Studio, as well as our regular programme of top-quality plays, musicals and entertainment. We want to make sure we offer something for everyone.”
Before the opening of The Studio though, there’s the small matter of a summer show; forget end of the pier, think Strictly with added sparkles. Puttin’ on the Ritz stars Katya Virshilas and Jared Murillo of Strictly Come Dancing, plus Becky O’Brien, who made her mark on Britain’s Got Talent. The show celebrates the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and the Strictly stars can’t wait to bring it to Blackpool – it runs from July 27 to August 29.
“Its a great show with some fantastic songs,” said Katya. “I’m really looking forward to coming to Blackpool for five weeks. I know it well because I’ve been coming here for years for the British Dancing championships.”
She admitted she will be steering clear of fish and chips "I prefer my calories in liquid form,” she laughed, but Jaryd is definitely up for sampling the cuisine. “I’m the one doing the lifting, so I don’t have to be so careful,” he explained. “But with some of Katya’s dresses weighing 10 to 15lbs I’m glad she is starring clear of the fish and chips!” The weight of those dresses comes from the number of rhinestones that adorn them – as many as 50,000 in total, according to Katya.
They say their performances will be “more Strictly than Strictly” and promise a killer Charleston and show-stopping Lindy Hop. Watch this space for the Downstage Centre review!
Regional theatre is very important: for many people it is their first experience of theatre
Other season highlights include the opening of two new national tours of The Full Monty (starring Gary Lucy and Andrew Dunn) and Thriller Live and the world premiere staging of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, presented by Touring Consortium Theatre Company (TCTC) – who brought Brassed Off and Regeneration to the Grand in 2014.
Producer Matthew Gale is delighted to be returning to the Grand: ”Regional theatre is very important,” he said. “For many people it is their first experience of the theatre. Involvement and participation in the arts is vital to a child’s education – a theatrical production will give you clues and make you use your imagination, and when it works, it is an extraordinary event.”
TCTC is launching an Arts Award for your theatregoers, who will be encouraged to use a logbook to chart their theatrical experience. More details coming soon. The company will also be bringing Of Mice and Men and A Tale of Two Cities to the Grand in 2016.
The Full Monty: September 10-19
Thriller Live: October 5-10
Brave New World: November 24-28
For more details about the new programme, visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
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