It’s a Grand new season

STAR STUDDED: An eclectic programme of shows is lined up for the autumn and winter season at Blackpool Grand Theatre
STAR STUDDED: An eclectic programme of shows is lined up for the autumn and winter season at Blackpool Grand Theatre
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Blackpool Grand’s general manager Neil Thompson is appealing to theatre goers to “weather the storm of the recession” and support the venue’s ambitious autumn and winter programme.

The new season’s brochures are being delivered this week containing full details of the Grand’s attractions through to next March – including the National Theatre’s One Man Two Guvnors, Jim Cartwright’s Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Opera and Ballet International’s Tosca and Carmen, the Russian State Ballet and the pantomime Cinderella starring Emmerdale’s Danny Miller.

“We hope that the Grand Theatre’s new season will demonstrate our continued dedication to a diverse programme for our patrons,” said Neil. “We have embarked upon an ambitious programme of quality from the National Theatre, Opera and Ballet International, Raymond Gubbay and The Original Theatre Company.

“It has been an exciting year for The Grand, as the theatre gained National Portfolio Status from The Arts Council England – funding which is being used to develop us as a regional centre of excellence for contemporary dance, allowing us to broaden our programming horizons and appeal to new audiences.”

He added: “We continue to experience an economic recession but with your support we can weather the storm and look forward to success in the future.”

The new season opens with a contemporary dance triple bill by 12 Degrees North, introducing work by three leading choreographers, on Wednesday November 7 followed by Champloo’s White Caps on Sunday November 18. White Caps – a multi-media performance which fuses skilful dance and cinematic film.

Ballet Theatre UK presents the Dickensian classic A Christmas Carol on Tuesday November 13 and the Russian State Ballet launch the new year with Coppelia (January 11), The Nutcracker (January 12) and Swan Lake (January 13).

The new drama season starts with Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (November 19 to 24) starring Beverley Callard, Ray Quinn Duggie Brown and Jess Robinson.

The National Theatre returns with One Man Two Guvnors, with Jodie Prenger and comedian Rufus Hound (November 27 to December 1), Sebastian Faulks’ captivating Birdsong visits from February 5 to 9 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream presented by Sell a Door visits on March 8 and 9.

A date for Danny Dyer and Natalie Cassidy in a new stage version of
Alfie will be announced soon.

Beyond the Barricade at Christmas is back on December 11 and Co-Opera Co present Hansel and Gretel on February 1 with Opera and Ballet International back with Tosca (March 10) and Carmen (March 11). The Grand Theatre’s commitment to education and the community continues throughout the new season with African Music Night (November 15 and 16), Lytham Community Choir (November 25) and Poulton Band (December 18).

In partnership with Blackpool Schools and Blackpool Council Music Service, the Grand presents Schools Alive (February 11 to 14), Fame School of the Arts presents the musical Gypsy (February 19 to 23) and Phil Winston’s Theatreworks returns (March 22 and 23).

Neil Thomson added: “The Grand Theatre’s core aim is to offer a wide variety of shows aimed at children and young people and the biggest is the star-studded Christmas show Cinderella starring Emmerdale’s Danny Miller in his first ever panto.”

With Steve Royle, Amy Thompson (Channel 5’s Milkshake) and Hayley Kay it runs from December 7 to January 6.

Milkshake Live! will be taking to the stage on February 2 and the acclaimed Horse and Bamboo will be entertaining children on February 27 and 28.

The Terrible Tudors and The Vile Victorians from touring company Horrible Histories are back from March 13 to 17 and Ugly Duckling flies in from Northern Ballet on March 26.

There’s plenty of comedy with the return of Russell Kane on November 9 and the BBC Radio 2’s New Comedy Awards culminating in a live, hour-long final at The Grand on November 12

Grand Theatre’s programme manager Phil Harrison said: “We always strive to bring the best available touring productions. Be it one nighters, week long shows or pantomime, we believe we are offering a choice of live entertainment which caters for our loyal audiences tastes.”

To book for any show go to www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/whatson or alternatively call (01253) 743339.