Death of Grand ex-boss

Paul Iles

Paul Iles

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FORMER Blackpool Grand Theatre general manager and chief executive Paul Iles (above) has died, aged 59, following a battle with cancer.

Most recently, he had been working as principal lecturer at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, as an associate director of the Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond and a director of acclaimed theatre company Northern Broadsides.

During a 40-year career, Mr Iles worked for many of the major venues in UK regional theatre – including two tenures running the Blackpool Grand (from 1988 to 1992 and again from 2005 until 2007.

He left Blackpool to become foundation manager of the Edinburgh Festival Theatre leading a £22 million reconstruction of the Empire and programming the 1,900-seat Lyric. He was also in charge of the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh when it opened in 1994.

David Coupe, chairman of Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust Limited said: “It was my privilege to work closely with Paul and I believe his first period at the Grand was a high water mark in an illustrious career. We were looking for an outstanding Chief Executive to put the theatre on the map. His genius in bringing to Blackpool outstanding presentations in all genres on a modest budget gave the Grand Theatre a truly national profile.”

Grand Theatre general manager and chief executive Neil Thomson said: “Paul’s passion was the theatre and he inspired many past and current members of this theatre with that passion. I will sadly miss him as a friend.”