Roger's aim for close shave on Blackpool Grand Theatre stage to benefit charities

What better way of marking the return of live theatre after the pandemic closures than by celebrating curtain up again on a freshly clean-shaven face – and raising money for charity in the process?

Friday, 11th June 2021, 5:06 pm

Theatre specialist and former venue manager Roger McCann hasn’t shaved since last March, when theatres across the UK and much of the world were closed as Covid-19 struck.

He now has a beard stretching halfway down his chest – and is looking to raise sponsorship as he aims to say farewell to the facial growth live on stage at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.

Roger, who lives in Lytham and is a former manager of Lowther Pavilion there, is the partner of Ruth Eastwood, chief executive of the Grand, where it is planned for performances to resume shortly, subject to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s next announcement regarding the roadmap out of lockdown.

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Roger McCann has been growing his beard since March 2020

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The aim is to have the shave on stage at the theatre and livestream it ahead of the re-opening performance and Roger is aiming to boost the funds of two good causes in the process – Acting for Others, an umbrella group for charities which support theatre workers, and the Grand itself, which has been closed since March 16, 2020.

Roger said: “When I worked at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton many years ago, the artistic director there had a superstition not to shave between the last day in the rehearsal room and the first performance.

“When the theatres closed, I decided to follow David’s idea and not shave until they reopened, little imagining it would be more than a year.

“Many theatre workers have had no work and no income for that time, and I’m doing it to support them and the Grand.”

Roger, who is the immediate past president of Rotary Lytham, is relationship manager for Theatre Arts Council England in Manchester as well as being an arts management consultant and trainer, and director of NFA International Arts and Culture.

The latter roles take him to theatres around the world and he was in Georgia, eastern Europe, when he saw his last performance before lockdown.

He has set a target of £1,500 for each of the causes he aims to help and hopes they might even reach £2,000 each.

Details of how to donate are available at gofund.me/e2bd068a (The Grand) and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ra-mccann (Acting for Others).

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