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Empress Ballroom is back! Live music to return to iconic venue

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Theatre bosses have hailed the return of live music to the Empress Ballroom after an absence of more than a year.

The Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott yesterday announced a three-date tour - including a date at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in November.

Scaffolding on the ceiling of the Empress Ballroom

Scaffolding on the ceiling of the Empress Ballroom

It will be the first live gig at the venue since a ceiling panel gave way and crashed to the floor below in September last year.

Masses of scaffolding had to be erected as the ornate ceiling had to be checked and repaired.

Gigs by Alt J, The Libertines and The Kooks all had to be cancelled.

Heaton and Abbott will play the Empress Ballroom on Saturday November 24.

A spokesman for the Winter Gardens said: “We’re thrilled to welcome live music back to the Empress Ballroom, an iconic venue playing host to some of the greatest gigs of all time.

“We’ll continue to work with stakeholders and promoters to ensure the Empress Ballroom continues to welcome the best in live music whilst ensuring it’s safety and longevity for years to come.”

Heaton and Abbott are touring to promote Heaton’s new album, The Last king Of Pop which will feature 23 songs from his back catalogue with The Beautiful South and the Housemartins. The Empress Ballroom was closed following the incident in September 2017 but partially reopened to certain events with eight scaffolding pillars holding a working floor at height while surveys were carried out on the ceiling.

It was back to full working order by May – with concert promoters SJM securing the Heaton/Abbott gig.

The Empress Ballroom was designed by Mangnall and Littlewood and opened in 1896.