Celebrations fit for a queen took place in Blackpool as the town’s iconic cabaret showbar Funny Girls celebrated its 25th year.
The drag show originally opened in a corner shop on Blackpool’s Queen Street in 1994 and was an instant success, so much so that eight years later it moved to a much bigger venue – its current home in the Grade II Listed building on Dickson Road, with its art-deco features.
Headline stars Betty Legs Diamond and DJ Zoe were there for the opening night and celebrated with cast members past and present and fans for the quarter century celebration.
Betty Legs Diamond said: “The first show was a really special night – we had no idea how it would go but the atmosphere was electric. The audience took us into their hearts, they could see it was all fun but it was also very professional.”
DJ Zoe said: “When we first opened we had no idea just how popular it would become.
“Blackpool hadn’t seen anything like it before so on that first night we didn’t even know if anyone would turn up – but it was fantastic and we instantly knew we had something special.
“We had a tiny stage back then and the queues kept forming outside. It just got bigger and bigger and we kept expanding and then eventually got our current home in the fabulous Odeon building.”
Over the years, it has gone from strength to strength, with its Las Vegas-style show. The cast has appeared on the Royal Variety Show twice and attracts visitors from around the world, to enjoy Funny Girls’ unique blend of dancing, music and entertainment.
Among the celebrity visitors was Queen of Hollywood, Dame Joan Collins, who officially opened the former Odeon cinema building after Funny Girls completed a £2m renovation project in 2002.
Zoe, said: “Funny Girls is bright, it’s colourful and above all it’s fun – just like Blackpool – and we’re happy to help put the town on the map. It really doesn’t feel like 25 years since we opened – but we couldn’t let that moment pass without a big celebration.”
Tracey Litherland, sales manager said: “Over 1,000 people came through the doors for our celebration events. It’s been fun, nostalgic and emotional.
There has been a huge amount of interest and we’ve had messages of congratulations from all over the world.
“Over the weekend we have had lots of familiar faces coming to party with us, including former dancers and bar staff. It’s been one of the best weekends. We are so proud of Funny Girls and all it has done for Blackpool. We’re now looking forward to the next 25 years.”