A Grand Royal Occasion
In History and Heritage Month, Blackpool’s Grand Theatre Take A Look At Our Royal Visits
The Royal Wedding is only days away (19 May 2018) with His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales KCVO and Meghan Markle’s big day unfolding on our televisions. Over 1,200 members of the public have been lucky enough to receive a personal invitation to attend the Windsor Wedding. We recap on some of the Grand Royal occasions…
Blackpool’s Grand has hosted many a Royal occasion including Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
In May 1981, the theatre had a prestigious two-week visit by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company with their Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, and on Friday 29 May the ultimate theatrical honour of a Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Royal performance produced by Robert Nesbitt and included such stars as; Barbara Windsor (who also starred in the summer show that year The Mating Game), Anita Harris, Ray Cornell and his Dancers, Danny La Rue, Petula Clarke, Lennie Bennett, and local chorus Blackpool Operatic Players, Blackpool and Fylde Light Opera Company and Thornton Cleveleys Operatic Society, all hosted by then TV legend Russell Harty.
On 22 July 1994 on the eve of The Grand Theatre’s centenary Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended.
Her Majesty was greeted and escorted throughout by Samuel Lee Chairman of the Grand Theatre Trust Board. Mr Lee introduced Her Majesty to a selection of people including; George Thomson Vice Chair of The Trust Board and Chair of the Friends of The Grand, Mr David Coupe Chairman of the Arts and Entertainment Board and Mr Will Quekett Theatre Manager. Miss Rebecca Brookes (Aged 5) presented Her Majesty with a posy.
Her Majesty was escorted to the Stalls for an opportunity to view the Theatre and see a dress rehearsal for the Centenary Gala to be held the following evening. After the rehearsal an informal meeting of some of the artists. Her Majesty then had the opportunity to view a small display of archive materials of the theatre’s history.
Finally, in the Dress Circle Samuel Lee invited Her Majesty to unveil a plaque commemorating the Centenary of the Theatre.
To engage and inform local, regional and national visitors the theatre has launched a month-long campaign #ThisIsHeritage to tell people a little bit more about this historic and outstanding building, built in 1894.
Part of our #ThisIsHeritage series.
If you would like to #PlayYourPart and donate to The Grand click here.