Huge grant boost for resort art festival

A scene from B's theatrical bubble show.
A scene from B's theatrical bubble show.
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A major Blackpool festival has been handed a huge boost – after being awarded an arts grant worth £99,000.

The seventh annual Showzam! festival, featuring circus performances, music and new variety acts, returns to the resort next February 14 to 23.

The 10-day event is set to feature a huge programme of shows and performances across the resort.

And Arts Council England has confirmed the major grant to help organisers Marketing Blackpool run the event.

Bosses say the Arts Council funding will directly support five Showzam! shows.

• No Fit State Circus is a free show to be held in Showzam! Central in the Winter Gardens Olympia. It will run throughout the day every day with regular 15 minute performances

• Meet the Hogwallops – Lost in Translation Circus will perform three shows at the Grand Theatre entertaining a family audience with its vulgar and grotesque family who live in a bizarrely funny world

• B is an original theatrical circus show that blends bubbles with dance, juggling, acrobatic, sand, magic and special effects, all in a themed performance in The Blackpool Tower Circus

• Wondertours will see actors work with local school children and host workshops teaching them about the history of entertainment in Blackpool and Wakes Weeks. This will be followed by street theatre where spectators will be invited to follow Wondertours around Blackpool.

• Finally, the cash will help fund a full programme of street theatre running throughout the festival.

Natalie Wyatt, managing director of Marketing Blackpool, said: “It is great news that Arts Council England has awarded us £99k as this makes a big difference to the variety of shows we can offer.

“It is also recognition from them that Blackpool is providing a value and valid service to both residents and visitors by offering such diverse festivals.

“Showzam! is a really exciting event in Blackpool’s calendar which brings the resort’s rich history of entertainment into the spotlight while celebrating our heritage and 
cultural offering.

The full programme for Showzam! 2014 will be available soon but activities confirmed so far include children’s favourite Sooty at the Opera House, a series of dance, magic and creative workshops at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and a variety of tours including Winter Gardens, backstage at the Pleasure Beach, The Blackpool Tower and Grand Theatre. Tickets are also on sale now for the Carnival Ball which has a 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll theme.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Arts Council England Director North, said the festival is “a fantastic example of how to inspire local communities as well as visitors and tourists.”

Tickets are available through the Showzam! website and VisitBlackpool Tourist Information Centre.

Go to www.showzam.co.uk or call (01253) 478222.

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