Sixties chart toppers The Searchers, fast-rising boy band Twenty Twenty, the comeback tour of Joan Armatrading, American singer/songwriter Gerard Kenny and Britain’s Got Talent success story Circus of Horrors are just some of the highlights of what is being hailed as Fleetwood Marine Hall’s most ambitious programme for years.
“It’s my aim to bring a new focus to Marine Hall,” said Chris Walne, the venue’s recently-appointed general manager, who will also be looking after Thornton Little Theatre.
“It’s an exciting time for the theatre, for Fleetwood and for the region.
“I have a passion for bringing live entertainment to the venue, and in putting the new programme together, I have been able to bring in some major names and productions.
“We want to catch people’s attention and show that Marine Hall is a major player within the industry. I have been working closely with high-profile promoters and agents and look forward to welcoming more names to the venue over the coming years.
“I’m really pleased with the new programme – we’ve got big name acts from the UK and the USA, the next big teen band Twenty Twenty, established artists such as Gerard Kenny and Joan Armatrading, and some great family shows.”
The new line-up joins returning favourites such as the Fylde Folk Festival and Fleetwood Beer Festival and ends months of speculation about the sea front venue’s future including that it was to be sold off.
In addition to the shows, the new Marine Hall gardens will also be unveiled later this year, with landscaping and a dramatic new outdoor performance area, which will host a range of shows and events.
The new season starts with Fleetwood Beer Festival (February 9 to 11) and the International Six Nations Championship Darts featuring international team championship and top players from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Holland (February 9 to 11). The season then continues with Theo the Mouse in Magical Mayhem, direct from ITV’s Sooty Show starring Wink Taylor (February 17, 2pm); Victoria’s Academy of Dance and Performance (March 27 to 30, 7.30pm); The Circus of Horrors Freaks and Feathers 2012 Tour (April 20, 7.30pm); Thornton Cleveleys Band 50th Anniversary Concert with special guests The Houghton Weavers (April 29, 7.30pm); Magical Extravaganza on Ice – 2012 Tour (May 1, 2.30pm); Roll Out the Barrel Variety Show (June 7, 2.30pm); boy band Twenty Twenty following a their successful tour with The Wanted and McFly (August 25, 7.30pm); Chesters School of Dance – Showtime (May 18 and 19); Gerard Kenny’s The Great American Song Book Tour (May 24, 7.30pm); An Evening with Charlie Landsborough (June 22, 7.30pm); CBeebies favourites Chris and Pui’s Roadshow 2012 (June 28, 11am and 2pm);
The Sounds of the Supremes featuring Kaaren Ragland (June 30, 7.30pm); Bob the Builder in Bob’s Big Theatre Build (July 8, 1pm and 3.30pm): The Searchers (August 17, 7.30pm): Little Big Club Live in Concert with Fireman Sam, Barney, Angelina Ballerina and Thomas the Tank Engine (August 24, 1pm and 3.30pm); Fylde Folk Concert (August 26, 7.30pm); Fylde Folk Festival (August 31 to September 2); Joan Armatrading Up Close and Personal (September 25, 7.30pm and leading psychic Derek Acorah (October 25, 7.30pm.
“While I am particularly keen to support community use and non professional companies, my main aim is to ensure that the Marine Hall and Thornton Little Theatre are commercially successful and attract the biggest names possible,” said 51-year old Chris Walne.
A former actor and singer, he performed in West End musicals and television dramas before moving into management. He helped establish the Blackpool Grand Youth Theatre company and had a spell as events manager at Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
Later, he managed Haigh Hall, near Wigan, and more recently went into hotel management in Blackpool.
To reserve tickets, call the Marine Hall box office on 01253 887693.