Blackpool’s beautiful Grade II* listed Grand Theatre attracts the best in award-winning touring companies, including The National Theatre, English Touring Theatre, UK Productions, Opera and Ballet International and the Russian State Ballet. The theatre aims to appeal to all; with an eclectic offering of opera, ballet, quality drama, comedy and dance…there is no theatre quite like The Grand!
It really is no wonder that the Grand Theatre is referred to as the ‘Hidden Gem of Blackpool’, with its long and lively history. The Theatre’s rich history began in 1894, having been built by the leading Victorian theatre architect Frank Matcham, and being described by the first theatre manager, Thomas Sergenson, as ‘Matcham’s Masterpiece’.
The Grand Theatre has presented some of the UK’s biggest touring productions including English Touring Theatre’s Anne Boleyn and Eternal Love, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) adaptation of A Mad World My Masters, the National Theatre’s renowned One Man Two Guvnors, UK Productions award-winning 42 nd Street, the Nation’s favourite play Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, Agatha Christie Theatre Company’s And Then There Were None, the 25 th anniversary tour of Return To The Forbidden Planet and not forgetting the Children’s Touring Partnership’s The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. Dance is a key feature at The Grand too and companies who have performed here include Hofesh Shechter, DV8,Ultima Vez, BalletBoyz and Fabulous Beast.
The Grand Theatre also plays host to some incredible one-off events, these have included being a location for a National Lottery Christmas commercial, the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Awards hosted by Patrick Kielty, and an episode of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.Quality drama, comedy, and dance are always top of the ever-eclectic bill at The Grand. To find out what’s on in the coming months visit interactive blackpoolgrand.co.uk/whatson
Heritage and History
The Grand Theatre was opened on July 23, 1894 by Thomas Sergenson who immediately dubbed the theatre 'Matcham's Masterpiece'. This title 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 Sergenson £20,000.
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 Friends today are still a valuable and active asset in The Grand’s operation.