Your chance to tread the boards at famous venue

Winter Gardens is opening its doors for behind the scenes access
Winter Gardens is opening its doors for behind the scenes access
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If you’ve ever wanted to tread the boards of Blackpool Opera House’s enormous stage, the historic Winter Gardens is hosting a exclusive open day.

Rare access is being given to visitors on Sunday, December 14, allowing a behind the scenes glance at some of the complex’s most treasured gems.

More than one million people have visited the grade II*-listed Winter Gardens so far this year, and the doors are being thrown open for the special event.

As well as the chance to go backstage at the Opera House and tread the famous boards, visitors will be able to explore the grandeur of the Empress Ballroom and the often over-looked Spanish Suites.

The open day will also see the first public outing of a new Wurlitzer organ reinstated at the Empress Ballroom.

Winter Gardens managing director Michael Williams said: “The Winter Gardens is an amazing venue, and we are delighted to be opening our doors again following the success of our 2013 event which welcomed over 3,000 people.

“The 2014 event will give the public a rare chance to exclusively tour the venue free of charge, learn about its history and discover rooms generally closed to the public including the backstage of the Opera House, newly refurbished Derham Lounge and grandeur of the Empress Ballroom, as well as many of our other fantastic spaces.”

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, has urged residents to take the chance to take in the ‘incredibly exciting and educational experience’. He said: “To see the inner workings of a venue that has played host to some of the most famous shows and events in Blackpool’s history is a rare treat, and I would urge people to seize the opportunity to learn more about the venue we all hold so dear.”

And Carl Carrington, from the Winter Gardens’ Trust, added: “The Open Day is a fantastic opportunity for people to just wander through all the different spaces within the complex at will.

“Sometimes people don’t want to be hurried along and want to explore at their own pace, this event makes that possible and is a great way to get people interested in the history of the building and the restoration work.”

The Winter Gardens first opened in 1878, with a lavish ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of London and Mayors and Mayoresses from 68 towns across the country.

One of the country’s biggest theatres, the Winter Gardens’ Opera House has seen a cast of thousands tread its boards since it first opened in 1939.

With a 3,000 seat capacity, the venue has hosted big name Hollywood stars such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bob Hope, and more recently, the likes of Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bob Dylan, Peter Kay and pop sensations One Direction.

Visit the website at www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk for more information on the open day.