Joyful leap at cash windfall

Blackpool Grand Theatre general manager Neil Thomson celebrates an award for �120000 by the Arts Council of England to become a centre of contemporary dance with Bispham High students
Blackpool Grand Theatre general manager Neil Thomson celebrates an award for �120000 by the Arts Council of England to become a centre of contemporary dance with Bispham High students
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BOSSES at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre were jumping with joy at news it is to receive a £120,000 cash boost.

The funding from the UK Arts Council will be used to turn the theatre into a regional centre for contemporary dance.

Regular funding will be delivered over three years as part of the national portfolio – which recognises buildings of national significance.

Grand Theatre general manager Neil Thomson said: “We’re delighted our plans have been recognised as being of sufficient national importance to attract this level of funding.

“It will allow us to broaden our artistic programming and plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence in this genre.”

The award marks the first time any arts organisation on the Fylde has secured this type of regular income.

It also comes against the backdrop of major Government cuts to arts funding which has seen budgets slashed by 30 per cent.

The cash will be used to encourage promising young dancers and develop a new generation of contemporary dance audiences.

The cash injection means the theatre is hoping to attract high profile contemporary dance companies to Blackpool to perform and run workshops.

It will see the theatre produce shows for the first time as it normally only receives touring productions.

Mr Thomson added: “Blackpool is the world capital of ballroom dancing, but in recent years contemporary dance tours have moved and the Fylde has seen audiences for this genre decline.

“The theatre will work to commission new work using local dancers, composers and choreographers .”

The news has been welcomed by local schools and dance groups. Bispham High Performing Arts College has a strong focus on contemporary dance.

Deputy headteacher John Topping said: “This is wonderful news for young dancers in the resort. We hope to continue our good relationship with the Grand Theatre through this exciting time.”

Marie Cavney from Phil Winston’s Theatreworks said: “This is great news, we hope this will encourage more people to come to dance shows and appreciate the local talent we’ve got.”