Blackpool’s Grand for summertime fun

Joe Longthorne - Blackpool Grand Theatre summer
Joe Longthorne - Blackpool Grand Theatre summer
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Blackpool Grand Theatre is to stage what general manager Neil Thomson describes as “a mini summer season”.

HRH Productions, the company run by entertainer and promoter Tony Jo is moving most of the shows the previously presented at North Pier to the Grand for the summer.

That will see Billy Pearce’s record breaking show at the Grand every Tuesday from July 26 to October 25; Dancing Queen – an Abba, 70s and Grease tribute show every Wednesday from July 27 to October 26 and Joe Longthorne every Thursday and Saturday from July 28 to October 29.

“It’s going back to where I started as a show producer and bacBlackpool Grand Theatre is to stage what general manager Neil Thomson describes as “a mini summer season”.

HRH Productions, the company run by entertainer and promoter Tony Jo is moving most of the shows the previously presented at North Pier to the Grand for the summer.

That will see Billy Pearce’s record breaking show at the Grand every Tuesday from July 26 to October 25; Dancing Queen – an Abba, 70s and Grease tribute show every Wednesday from July 27 to October 26 and Joe Longthorne every Thursday and Saturday from July 28 to October 29.

“It’s going back to where I started as a show producer and back to the home of variety,” said Tony Jo. “I was proud of what I achieved at North Pier Theatre – a venue which I love but unfortunately the goal posts were being moved and it was no longer viable to put on the type of shows I wanted at the prices that I feel are essential in this day and age.”

He is now predicting a bumper season at the Grand with ticket prices starting at just £10, the first accompanied child going free and the second being £6.

“These show are all tried and trusted products and now we have the advantage of not having to walk to the end of the pier to see them,” said Tony Jo. “I am just delighted to be back at The Grand and being able to provide people shows at affordable priced.”

Joining Billy Pearce will be Claire Brady and full supporting company whist Joe Longthorne’s guests will be Mick Miller, Carol Kaye, Leye D Johns and Lynda McMurray.

Neil Thomson said he welcomed the shows back.

“Although not in the same format as we used to have this is still a mini summer season,” he said. “There is certainly being a market change – the staycation and the current economic climate I think will attract people back to the seaside and I am confident that a lot of them will be attracted to Blackpool.

“There’s a lot going on here, a lot of development and there’s been a lot of publicity about the football club being in the Premier League which can only be good for the town.

“I think we have come through to the other side of the recession because we actually began to be hit with it before a lot of other places in the country.”

He added that the new look Winter Gardens, the development of St John’s Square and the new headlands were “vast improvements” which would all help attract trade.

“And it’s not just Blackpool,” he added. “Look at the changes in Cleveleys and the centre of St Annes – it’s all good for the entire Fylde coast.”

Other shows booked into the Grand Theatre during the summer include Cannon and Ball (July 29), Bob The Builder (August 1 and 2), the 40th Anniversary tour of The Comedians (Fridays in August), crooner Dominic Kirwan (August 8) and comedians Joe Pasquale (August 28), Jason Byrne (September 16), Reginald D Hunter (September 250, Justin Moorhouse (September 26) and Ken Dodd (five Sundays from October 2).

On a more experimental front he has also booked two nights of opera with the Co-Opera Company presenting Carmen and The Magic Flute (September 11 and 12) plus a return of the Mugyenko Drummers (October 3), Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (October 23) and another return visit of psychic Sally Morgan (October 24).

“The more attractions and the wider the range of shows we have in Blackpool the better it is for the whole place,” said Neil.

Tickets for all the shows go on sale today from the box office on (01253) 290190 and online at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk. groups can book on (01253) 743232.