Grand’s golden days are revisited

Blackpool Grand Theatre retro image

Blackpool Grand Theatre retro image

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Crowds poured through the doors of Blackpool Grand Theatre for its recent annual Heritage Open Day.

Enthusiasts of architecture, theatre and history were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the ‘hidden gem of the North’ and the public were able to browse through intriguing archive material not normally displayed in the theatre, including images and plans of the restoration process and an array of old photos, revealing forgotten stories of the historical building.

Also on display were old posters from bygone classic shows such as Mrs Dering’s Divorce starring Lily Langtree in 1904, Of Mice and Men from 1940 and a poster of King Lear from 1987.

Tour visitors even had their own moment in the limelight, as the iron safety curtain was raised and the group was revealed on the Grand Theatre’s stage.

The Grand was built by the leading Victorian architect Frank Matcham in 1894, and described by the first theatre manager Thomas Sergenson as ‘Matcham’s Masterpiece’. The theatre took just nine months to build and cost Sergenson £20,000, part of which he had earned by operating two small rented theatres and from a circus that he staged for five summer seasons on the site of The Grand.

The theatre will soon be launching new Heritage Tours throughout the year, presented by the Grand Theatre archivists Geoff and Linda Tolson.

It will also be launching a special event named The Grand Old Lady, which will allow visitors further insight into the Matcham Theatre.

For more information keep an eye on the website at blackpoolgrand.co.uk