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A Grand character celebrates 125th birthday

Published: 27 January 2019
Reporter: David Upton

Blackpool Grand Theatre celebrates its 125th birthday in July and to mark the occasion has set itself a target of raising £125,000 to repair and restore its distinctive landmark dome.

It took a battering from Storm Desmond just over three years ago.

The launch of the venue’s new programme for 2019 was also the occasion to get a couple of cheques coming in, including one from the indefatigable Friends of the Grand, the fundraisers, ticket collectors, usherettes and other behind-the-scenes crew who have helped ensure the theatre’s survival. In the 1970s it faced its biggest threat, from plans to demolish the building and redevelop the site by then-owners EMI. Protests, a public inquiry and fundraising resulted in a Grand Theatre Trust buying the building for £250,000.

Nowadays, besides its roster of year-round stage attractions, its educational arm runs a full programme of workshops for children and young people. This year, 125 local young people will also be winners of tickets for an appearance in May by Sir Ian McKellen.

Also visiting this year are productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Dance Company of Wales and a 125 Pantomime Special performance of Peter Pan.