Grand Theatre unveils its new season

Everybody is very smart.  The Grand Theatre Studio is chock-a-block with suits. I have arrived fresh from painting and sanding the walls at the Grundy and I feel a little underdressed in my Superman t-shirt. Putting my fashion faux pas aside, I brave the throng and settle in to see the Grand Theatre’s upcoming season preview.

A champagne breakfast is my first port of call.  Plate piled unreasonably high and balancing a Buck’s Fizz I find a place in the expectant crowd and prepare to see what the prettiest theatre in the country has to offer.

Ruth Eastwood takes the stage after a high octane film of the upcoming attractions. Ruth tells us about the changes that the Grand has been engaged in to capture new audiences. The role that social media among other avenues has in that strategy is apparent as a live feed from Twitter plays next to her and photos and tweets appear as she speaks. With the Grand’s unofficial mascot of Charlie the dog wandering among us, there are cute doggie photos aplenty popping up on screen.  Fortunately, I am secreted at the back of the room and manage to avoid flashing my Clark Kent alter ego T-shirt and emulsion splashed glory to the whole of the internet.

Michael Trainer from Leftcoast, who are partnering up for the exciting Blam! show, talks briefly about how they are engaging newer younger audiences who might not usually attend the theatre.  He is followed by the producer of Avenue Q, the producer of the stage adaptation of Pat Barker’s classic book Regeneration and Radio Wave’s Hayley Kay who talks about the ever popular Grand panto, this year: Sleeping Beauty.

The physical, office-based, action film reference laden Blam! is one of the highlights of the upcoming season for me, physical theatre being on of my stage loves, but there is so much more coming in the season’s programming. Along side Blam! there is the twisted but endearing muppetesque Avenue Q, the afore mentioned Regenerations which looks to be a stunning staging. There are a number of crowd-pleasing musicals on offer as well: New Jersey Nights, Jason Donovan in Annie Get Your Gun, The Manilow glitz of Copacobana and Rhythm of the Dance for the leg waving Irish dance fans. The Five and The Prophecy Of Prana looks to be a hip-hop Manga inspired dance explosion not to be missed.

Opera is in abundance with both Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and the stunning Verdi’s Rigoletto. Ballet buffs are also catered for with The Russian State Ballet triple of Coppelia, Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Drama, comedy and intrigue are promised in the thriller Double Death, Godber’s On The Piste and the hard hitting and ever vital 1984. Twelfth Night ticks the Bard box and The Mousetrap arrives for its 60th year for the three people who may have missed it in its eternal run.

I’m excited as one of my heroes is coming this year.  The mighty Jasper Carrott has a night of stand up and musical comedy this year but is somewhat eclipsed by the first ever solo tour of Dawn French.  This should not make you miss Carrott or perennial favourite Kenn Dodd, nor the cheeky poetic stylings of Pam Ayres.

With children’s modern classic The Gruffalo, psychic evenings and musical tribute acts, the team at the Grand have really created an eclectic mix of shows for 2014 and I feel that I for one will be spending more than a few nights within the ornate splendour of the Grand’s walls this year.  Tickets can be booked at the Church Street box office, by phoning 01253 290190 or visiting the website.  As ever, keep it tuned to altBlackpool for all the previews and in-depth reviews.

Featured image from Blam! promotional material.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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