Cash windfall for iconic theatre

Grand Theatre acting chief executive and general manager Neil Thomson on the new seats.
Grand Theatre acting chief executive and general manager Neil Thomson on the new seats.
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ONE of Blackpool’s most iconic venues is set to get a major overhaul after a six-figure sum was earmarked for a new performing arts centre and a glittering refurbishment.

Blackpool’s Grand Theatre today announced it has been selected to receive a £700,000 Arts Council England (ACE) grant to build the new theatrical hub in an adjacent building on Church Street.

Once the cash is completely signed off when bosses send their final proposals to ACE, the grant will pay for the development of the new hub and a revamp of the theatre’s present building – including improved disabled access, flexible performance spaces, reconfigured dressing rooms, a relocated box office, cafe, a gallery and an exhibition area.

And Neil Thomson, The Grand’s CEO and general manager, said: “We worked hard to make the case for establishing a performing arts hub and education centre adjacent to The Grand.

“Our current box office and bar areas were never designed to cater for the large audiences we are now attracting and this project will also help bring these facilities up to 21st Century standards while retaining the integrity of our Grade II listed building.”

The move is a major turnaround for the venue which owners the Blackpool Tower Company applied for permission to demolish in 1972 to replace with a department store.

But after an application to the Department of the Environment, the theatre was listed as a Grade II* building which saved it.

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