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Showzam Launch at Blackpool Winter Gardens – Part Two

Showzam Press Launch 4Showzam! has officially begun.  Having seen what’s on offer, my message to you is come along and soak up some of the atmosphere.  It is excellent to see the original glass and steel architecture at Blackpool Winter Gardens revealed after all these years. You would think it would be cold in the Olympia Hall, but although this venue is huge, it felt warm. The room is currently sporting a  vivid blue carpet and spectacular sets.  Look out for the buzz of the crowd, colourful costumes and smiling faces.

I mentioned to my children that I had been invited to write a short article about Showzam!’s launch this year. “Can we go, it’s the one with all the amazing things and everyone ran screaming from that terrifying mummy” they said.

Professor Vanessa kindly introduced me to Dougie Francisco, ringmaster, button collector and lover of all things from the ‘Golden Age of Circus Theatre’. A wry smile revealed how much he enjoyed his work. Who wouldn’t, when artists from the wings are suddenly shooting-up towards the roof, hoisted by rigging, ascending on counter weights to perform Showzam!’s new aerial spectacular The Last Waltz? Rolling performances will ensure you will get to see the action whatever time you get there. He is particularly looking forward to Spookshow in the Baronial Hall, it was great to hear his enthusiasm for our lovely Winter Gardens and its spectacular rooms.Showzam Press Launch 5

In the next breath I was face-to-face with the laughing Christopher Biggins. He is looking forward to seeing his name on the Comedy Carpet for the first time, and thinks a bag of sugar might be a sweet prize for the winner of ‘Hunt the Biggins Competition’. Shout ‘FOUND YOU BIGGINS!’ when you see him.

I wandered amongst Vanessa’s Performing Wonders and found Steve Faulkner the magician. I said “Hello”, he said, “Pick a card any card”, I said “Eight of hearts” and sure enough no sooner was it found, it disappeared only to reappear in his top pocket.

The Sugar Dandies looked brilliant with their smart white ties and dazzling purple suits, they are excited about performing at the Tower Ballroom (7.30pm 16th February) and coming back again to Blackpool in October.

There is so much to choose from, but I will not miss the glamorous Angelina Boscarelli and her crew from Rogue Theatre. They are performing The Dancer and the Devil in the Winter Gardens Pavilion  from 15th to the 18th February. They were quick to explain that the theme wasn’t as dark as you might at first think, although the thrill of the forest is brought to life with their own wood smoke and perfumes. Without spoiling the surprise for you, once the suitcases are opened the souls within can live out their destiny.

I bumped into Linda Markey from Blackpool’s URPotential, a local community interest company, and she made me realise that Showzam! is about much more than just entertainment. She is helping organise six boys and girls from her youth group to attend the face-painting festival at The Pleasure Beach Horseshoe Bar (12-6pm 23rd February). In the future this group hopes to apply their new found skills and offer face-painting to help raise funds for children’s charities at other local events throughout the coming year.Showzam Press Launch 3

There’s more to say than I could possibly write in this short piece and that’s the point, It doesn’t really matter what you choose to see from the dazzling array of performances, just choose something and enjoy the resurgence of the ‘Golden Age of Circus Theatre’.

The altblackpool team will be following the festival with photos, interviews and reviews throughout the week.  Follow our reports on Twitter and the Facebook page and send us your own images and thoughts on what’s guaranteed to be a week of surprises and amusement across the town.

Photography courtesy of Linzi Cason Photography.

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