Grand’s five-year plan... delivered to your door!

Blackpool Grand Theatre's chief executive Ruth Eastwood

Blackpool Grand Theatre's chief executive Ruth Eastwood

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The Grand is taking a new approach to trying to get local people to the theatre.

For the first time ever it is delivering its new summer what’s on brochure to every single household with an FY postcode.

It’s costly but chief executive Ruth Eastwood believes it will be worth every penny – not least because she admits the venue has to make sure people keep coming through the door.

As she announced a terrific-looking summer season which includes Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q, the critically-acclaimed Blam!, New Jersey Nights, and the world premiere of Pat Barker’s Regeneration, Eastwood said: “We are like any other business in that we need to have new customers to make up for the people who drift off.

“I’ve been here a year and I believe we are starting to achieve things and go in the direction I want the theatre to go. But it is a case of slowly, slowly.

“This is a five-year project. But I can see signs it is working.

“The thing about any kind of change is that some people really embrace it and for others it is really frightening and for others it’s just not for them.

“So when you are doing something like this you do get a lot of mixed feelings about it.

“But we know we need to change the business model because we can’t afford to lose money. We need to break even.”

Delivering the new brochure to 130,000 homes on the Fylde coast is one way of trying to achieve this.

“I can’t say how much it cost – that is commercially confidential – but we consider it a risk worth taking and we are delivering them which is not as expensive as actually posting them out,” explained Eastwood.

“It is a different way of doing things and it is an experiment. But the feedback we have already got has been good and we hope it will work.”

Eastwood added: “We are doing it because we want local people to know that this is their theatre. It’s been their theatre ever since the locals saved it (in the 1970s and 80s) but I think maybe we’ve just lost touch over the years and now it’s time to wake people up to the fact that we are still here and doing interesting stuff.

“Seventeen per cent of the people that come to the theatre are holidayers. So the other 83 are from the region ... but of that only 23 per cent have got Blackpool postcodes.

“So we are really trying to get the people of Blackpool – because it’s an exciting town to live in and there’s loads on offer – to start to benefit from what we do.”

Eastwood says she is excited about what she describes as “a fantastic mix of shows” coming up at the theatre between now and Christmas, which include Dawn French’s first ever solo stand-up tour, George Orwell’s 1984, and the award-winning dance show The Five and the Prophecy of Prana.

For a full list of what’s on go to www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk – or check out the brochure that will no doubt be winging its way through your letter box.