Celebrating 50 years of Friends of The Grand

1 September 2023

Formed in 1973 to save the historic gem Blackpool Grand Theatre from demolition, the first ‘Friends’ were literally hands-on painting dressing rooms, repairing holes to the ceiling, and getting the theatre into better shape. Critical funds were raised in many ways over the coming years, including midnight matinees; all part of the bid to save the theatre and in 1981, Friends purchased the Grade II* listed theatre from the then owners, EMI.

To celebrate 50 years a very special ’50 Years Show & Dine’ event will take place on the Thursday 5 October. Attendees will delight in the performance of the rapturous five-star West End hit comedy Noises Off, starring one of the UK’s favourite actresses Liza Goddard, Olivier Award winner Matthew Kelly (Of Mice and Men) and Simon Shepherd (TV’s Peak Practice, West End productions of Posh, The Duck House, Rapture, Art and Hay Fever). After the matinee performance (2pm) at Blackpool Grand Theatre; a Blackpool Heritage Tram will transport guests up the beautiful promenade from the Blackpool Tower to the Pleasure Beach White Tower Restaurant. Following a private reception, guests will enjoy a specially designed three-course menu of the very finest local produce, in the stylish surroundings of the penthouse floor of the Pleasure Beach’s Casino Building.

Noises Off. Pamela Raith Photography

The in-demand tickets will be priced at £99 per person, which includes a top price show ticket, exclusive Heritage Tram transport to the White Tower Restaurant, reception drink and 3-course dinner. Tickets are available from the Grand Theatre Box office on Church Street, or by calling 01253 290 190. This event is not limited to Friends of The Grand members, but does have limited availability, so early booking is advised.

Early ‘Friends’ included such iconic names as Violet Carson (Ena Sharples), Alistair Cooke, Sir Ken Dodd OBE, Leslie Crowther, Tim West and Prunella Scales, Billy Pearce and Johnnie Casson.

John Grady, Friends of The Grand Chair said, ‘I’m grateful for the support shown to the Friends of The Grand in this significant half-century event. Holding the dinner at the Pleasure Beach White Tower Restaurant, being Amanda Thompson is the Theatre’s Patron, is a perfect link, and so is traveling by a heritage tram along Blackpool’s stunning promenade. We hope that many of our Friends, be them members or not, come along to support and acknowledge this milestone.’

Adam Knight, Blackpool Grand Theatre Chief Executive said, ‘I’m delighted to be Chief Executive of The Grand during such a momentous occasion. The Friends are a greatly valued part of the Blackpool Grand Theatre’s story, and ’50-Years’ on they are as important as ever with members providing the theatre with over 13,000 hours of volunteer time each year as well as priceless insight into the history and heritage of this wonderful Matcham theatre.’

The Friends of the Grand is a membership group of people who support the beautiful Blackpool Grand Theatre. Today, Friends raise funds from subscriptions and social events to finance projects within the theatre with an aim to enhance the comfort of patrons. Over the last 25-years, The Friends have contributed more than £1.7 million towards projects including the provision of new carpeting, seating, accessible lift and technical/lighting equipment and, with a newly elected Committee, are looking forward to supporting the work of The Grand for many years to come.

For bookings and further information call the Blackpool Grand Theatre Box Office on 01253 290190 or in person at the Church Street Box Office.

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