Chart toppers Erasure and disco diva Beverley Knight are the headliners confirmed for North Pier Theatre’s re-launch in November.
After the shock closure of the theatre and subsequent cancellation of all its summer shows earlier this month, essential backstage renovation work and modernisation of dressing rooms and windows is transforming the venue. “So much needed doing to make the theatre the kind of place able to attract modern headline names,” said pier owner Peter Sedgwick. “The work had to be done properly and it had to be done now if we were to stand any chance of bringing in acts for next year.”
Daughter Renee added: “We hit the floor running this year.
“No sooner had we taken over the pier than it was Easter, then there was the Royal Wedding and before we knew it the summer was here.
“It’s been a very stressful time but we have learned a lot along the way.”
Acts such as Beverley Knight and Erasure were seen as the way ahead for attracting a new market to the end of the pier.
With the new state-of-the-art dressing rooms almost complete and new windows in place plus lots more modernisation in the pipeline Peter said the venue should now attract attention from a lot more major promoters and managers looking for venue with a good capacity.
“We have to look to new markets and something like Erasure hasn’t been tried before but they are keen to do it at the end of their tour and we are keen to have them,” he said.
“A lot of people have said how important it is the theatre stays open but they haven’t backed that up with buying seats.
“Hopefully by widening the variety of acts we book we will widen the market and introduce the theatre to a whole new generation who haven’t been here before.”
Recently installed pier manger Steve Marshall, a former member of the First Leisure and Leisure Parcs management teams, said he was looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“Free admission to the pier has seen a big increase in footfall and the new lighting along the walkway gives it a sense of being alive and open again,” he said. “We are keen on opening as often as possible throughout the winter months too.
“The theatre is the ideal size for acts who are too big for the Grand and not quite big enough for the Opera House. There is a lot of potential here.”
A children’s show and a concert by boy band Juice, both previously called off because of electrical problems at the theatre, have been re-scheduled for November 11 and 26, he said.
More events were also planned for the Merrie England and the pier end Carousel Bar will be staging a four day Halloween Weekend for all the family, added Renee.
The long awaited tram service along the pier should also be in operation before the end of the year, said Peter.