Putting variety first

Pitmen Painters - Grand Theatre
Pitmen Painters - Grand Theatre

A West End musical, a National Theatre play, crime mysteries, opera and top comedians have all been added to Blackpool Grand Theatre’s most varied ever summer and autumn season.

“What I have tried to do is bring together a programme which will appeal to locals and existing holidaymakers as well as hopefully attracting new visitors to the regenerated resort,” said Grand Theatre general manager and chief executive Neil Thomson. “We have all the elements previously associated with a traditional summer season such as Billy Pearce and Joe Longthorne but they are integrated into a programme which also sees classic and popular theatre and even opera. I see no reason why we can’t put variety into variety and balance things out.”

Highlights include Su Pollard returning as Miss Hannigan in Annie (November 22 to 26), the Agatha Christie Theatre Company with the crime chiller Verdict (June 13 to 18) starring Susan Penhaligon, Robert Duncan and Mark Wynter, and the National Theatre production of The Pitmen Painters (June 27 to July 2) written by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot).

Already announced are The Billy Pearce Laughter Show every Tuesday from July 26 to October 25; Abba tribute show Dancing Queen every Wednesday from July 27 to October 26; Joe Longthorne on Thursday and Saturday evenings from July 28 to Saturday October 29 and The Comedians 40th Anniversary Show every Friday from August 12 to 26 starring Frank Carson, Stan Boardman, Jim Bowen, Mick Miller and Duggie Brown with host Johnnie Hamp.

Children’s favourite Bob the Builder is back on Monday and Sunday August 1 and 21, there’s an audience with showbiz legend Jimmy Tarbuck on August 14 , ventriloquist Paul Zerdin on August 15 and comic Joe Pasquale on August 28.

Charming Victorian comedy Cranford visits from May 23 to 28 starring Ben Roberts and Hildegard Neil as does crime caper Death By Fatal Murder (May 30 to June 4) starring Leslie Grantham and Richard Gibson (‘Allo,‘Allo’s Herr Flick); Busybody (June 20 to 25) starring Coronation Street’s Tracy Shaw and Emmerdale’s Peter Amory and musical revue Does My Bum Look Big In This? July 4 to 9) starring Vicki Michelle and Scott Wright (Coronation Street).

One night stands include psychic medium Tony Stockwell on June 7; an all new musical adventure for Thomas the Tank Engine (June 11); the Shaolin Warriors (June 26); Dominic Kirwan (August 8); Bizet’s Carmen (September 11) and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (September 12) from the celebrated Co-Opera Company; and comedy from Jason Byrne (September 16), Richard D. Hunter (September 25) and Justin Moorhouse (September 26).

“I don’t think anyone can say there isn’t something for everyone in a programme as varied as that,” said Neil.

For full 2011 show information and bookings call the box office on (01253) 290190, click on the website www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk or visit the Grand Theatre information sales point in the Houndshill Shopping Centre. The new brochure available to pick up at the Grand Theatre.