Blackpool Grand Theatre’s Street to Seat Project
Work has started on the second phase of the Grand Theatre’s development plan that will see the entrance to the theatre restored to its original splendour. The work is expected to take about twelve weeks.
The aptly named, ‘Street to Seat’ project will improve all aspects of the audience’s experience as they enter through the Church Street entrance until they take their seat in the stalls.
Outside, the wrought iron canopy and main entrance doors will be stripped back, repaired and repainted.
Inside, the box office will be totally transformed with new counters and serving windows. The foyer itself will be refurbished with the addition of a platform lift to take wheelchairs to the stalls. The lower toilets will also be renovated with new fittings and lighting.
During the building work the Grand Theatre will be open as normal and will continue to offer a full programme of productions.
The work has been made possible with funding from the SITA Trust, The Theatres Trust, and the Friends of The Grand.
It has been designed by architectural and planning consultancy, Cassidy + Ashton, project managed by Blackpool Council Leisure & Operational Services and contracted by Blackpool-based F Parkinson Ltd.
Jools Granville of SITA Trust said,
“We’re delighted to have been able to offer our maximum grant of £60,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund to enable this project to go ahead.
Undoubtedly the remodelling of the foyer will enhance the visitor experience and the installation of a lift will enable disabled visitors to access the stalls without having to go outside, down the street and in the back entrance which is less than ideal.”
Kate Carmichael, Resources Adviser at The Theatres Trust said
“We're pleased that we could provide a £4,850 grant from the Theatres Protection Fund Small Grant Scheme and help with restoration of the theatre's Church Street entrance doors. All of The Grand’s audiences will be able to experience the beauty of a true, and fully accessible, Frank Matcham entrance for years to come!”
John Buck, Friends of The Grand Chairman said,
“The Friends of The Grand have always been committed to raising money to enhance and preserve this Heritage Building, and we are thrilled to be involved in this project.”
Roger Lloyd Jones, chairman of Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust, owners of the building said,
“We are excited to launch this phase of our development work as we start to refurbish our foyer and box office.
“We are extremely grateful to SITA Trust for their generous financial support, and to the Friends of The Grand and the Theatres Trust.
“Our architects, Cassidy + Ashton, have managed to sensitively incorporate twenty first century technology and facilities in their design while remaining true to the spirit of this beautiful Victorian building.”
Mike Tyler, Business Development Manager at F Parkinson LTD said,
“It has been a number of years since we last worked and supported the team at The Grand Theatre. Having been selected to be undertaking the works to enhance this prestigious iconic building nestled in the heart of our own town is an honour.”
Lawrence McBurney, Associate architect at Cassidy + Ashton, said,
“The Grand Theatre is a jewel in the crown of Blackpool’s prestigious heritage and we’re determined to preserve its historic importance.”
Box Office 01253 74 33 39 or visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk
Notes for Editors:
SITA Trust is an ethical funding organisation dedicated to making lasting improvements to the natural environment and community life. The Trust is a not-for-profit company, a registered and accredited environmental body that operates under the Landfill Communities Fund distributing funds contributed by the recycling and resource management company SITA UK.
Since 1997 when SITA Trust began its funding programmes the Trust has supported more than 3,600 projects to a combined value of more than £100m.
Cassidy and Ashton
Cassidy + Ashton architects, building surveyors and town planners has been established 50 years and is one of the largest practices in the region. The firm has offices in Preston and Chester and is experienced in a wide range of sectors including education, housing, defence, retail and historical buildings. Cassidy + Ashton has worked on a range of well-known buildings including the Lancashire Evening Post head offices, UCLan’s faculty of dentistry, Stonyhurst College, and the £43m Spar distribution centre at Preston East.
For more information, visit: www.cassidyashton.co.uk.
F Parkinson LTD Builders
F Parkinson Ltd is better known to clients and the supply chain as Parkinson Building Contractors. The company was formed in 1934 and has since gained a reputation for delivering high quality construction projects throughout the North of England, operating from its three regional offices in Blackpool, Manchester and York.The company is an SME building contractor that undertakes various refurbishment, extension and new build schemes ranging in value from small works to £10 million.
The company has a strong partnering ethos which is utilised on every project undertaken. Within our current framework agreements we build and develop strong teams and we consider collaborative working with our clients, supply chain and consultants key to the success of a project.
The Theatres Trust
As the National Advisory Body for Theatres, The Theatres Trust works with public, subsidised, voluntary and commercial sectors to secure a sustainable future for theatre buildings. Our aim is to ensure that current and future generations have access to good quality theatres that reflect our cultural life and offer inspiring places to enjoy theatre.
Providing leadership and strategic thinking, The Theatres Trust advises in the areas of planning, regeneration and development, architecture and design, heritage, and theatre. We help protect theatres at risk and in need and are able to offer small grants through our Theatres Protection Fund. We enable better planning to secure, improve and achieve sustainability for new and existing theatre buildings and protect theatre use.
For further information visit: www.theatrestrust.org.uk
Blackpool’s Grand Theatre
Heritage and History
The Grand Theatre was opened on July 23, 1894 by Thomas Sergenson who immediately dubbed the theatre 'Matcham's Masterpiece'. This title is even more merited now that there are few surviving examples of the work of Frank Matcham, the leading Victorian theatre architect. The theatre took just nine months to build and cost Sergenson £20,000.
By the early 1960s theatres across Britain were closing due to loss of audience to television and in July 1972 the then owners, the Tower Company, applied for permission to demolish it. In its place they proposed to build a department store. However, by then, following an application to the Department of the Environment, the theatre had been listed as a Grade II* building and there had to be a full public enquiry.
Early in 1973 the Friends of the Grand was formed and after legal and financial wrangling, they, together with EMI and the local council, put together a deal involving leasing the theatre for £10,000 per annum and final purchase for £250,000.
For further information on Blackpool’s Grand Theatre please visit: www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
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