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After careful consideration and based on the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s reiteration that the government will not be providing further guidance on theatres operating without social distancing until November at the earliest, Blackpool Grand has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020/21 pantomime Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.
Blackpool Grand are not saying goodbye entirely to their renowned Pantomime, Hurrah! BBC Radio Lancashire’s Steve Royle and special guests will return in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs for the Christmas 2021-22 season.
If you have a reservation or booking with Blackpool Grand for Pantomime this year the Grand’s Covid-reduced box office team will be in touch from the 14 September 2020. They ask customers not to worry, they need not contact the theatre at this stage, everyone will be assisted and contacted for next year’s show. The process could take up to 6-weeks.
This decision has not been made easily, after assessing the options open to them in relation to social distancing as well as the financial risk (and the producers), but most importantly that they believe customers need to experience a pantomime with a large audience full of families and schools who can interact with the actors on stage, as that is the true beauty and tradition of pantomime. With the theatre being unable to achieve that this year, the theatre says postponing until next year feels like the most sensible, fair, and safe option. The well-being of customers, staff and performers must be their priority.
Ruth Eastwood, Grand Theatre Chief Executive added ‘Like our theatregoers we are incredibly disappointed that we will be unable to stage our fantastic pantomime this Christmas but are pleased that this is only a temporary postponement and that Steve Royle will star in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs in December 2021.
This yearly event is part of the very foundations of the Blackpool Grand and we cannot stress how after decades of pantomime we are devastated to be unable to proceed this year.’
Martin Dodd UK Productions Ltd Producer said ‘I have produced Blackpool Grand’s award-winning panto for twenty-five years. I am proud that it is one of the highlights of the entertainment calendar – so this is very sad news indeed for The Grand and theatres all over the UK – but understandable given the current safety restrictions in place for theatres and the financial viability to produce a show of the highest quality that Blackpool loves and has come to expect. We would be doing our audiences a disservice by presenting a scaled back version of the show and therefore we feel that to postpone is the only option. Working with the theatre we are eagerly looking forward to its return in December 2021.’
Steve Royle, Actor, Comic, Presenter said ‘It’s incredibly sad to see the effects over the past 6-months on the UK Arts. Artists, freelancers, producers and the venues are feeling the pain and now one of the greatest UK traditions Pantomime has been impacted. All of us want you to try and put the disappointment “behind you” and think about our aim, which is to return bigger and stronger in 2021, “Oh yes we will!”.
‘Over the decades I have always been made to feel like one of the Blackpool Grand family, and we will get through this together, with your continued support. Please, if you can, support their #PlayYourPart Recovery Fund which can be found at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/recoveryfund‘
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT BLACKPOOL GRAND THEATRE AT THIS STAGE, if you have reserved or booked seats, we will email (subject to permissions) or call you with full instructions and options. You will of course have the option to; transfer tickets to a different performance of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, a 12-month credit to your Grand Theatre account, or a refund if you cannot make your rescheduled performance date. Please note that due to overwhelming demand phones lines are currently outgoing only.
DOWNLOAD THE Blackpool Grand Snow White 2021-22 Schedule
Eastwood added ‘We would like to sincerely thank you for your patience, continued understanding and support in these difficult circumstances and we look forward to welcoming you back to Blackpool Grand soon.’
If you would like to book for any of the upcoming Christmas activities, watch the theatre’s social media channels or its website
Re Pantomime Postponement contact for interviews, images or further press information only (please note this email cannot assist with reservations or bookings).
Please support, if you can, the Grand Theatre #PlayYourPart Recovery Fund campaign.
Blackpool Grand Theatre – Arts Council England, National Portfolio Funding
In July 2014, the Arts Council England granted the Grand Theatre continued funding for the next three years to support and develop a programme of dance and physical theatre. Despite substantial cuts to many theatres, The Grand was one of only a handful of organisations that saw its National Portfolio Organisation Funding increase by 37%. The Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations represent some of the best arts practice in the world, and they play a vital role in helping ACE meet their mission of great art and culture for everyone. ACE are determined to fund organisations at a level at which they can continue to produce the excellent and innovative art that audiences want and deserve.
Blackpool Grand thanks Arts Council England (North) for their incredible ongoing support for this National Portfolio Organisation.
Blackpool Grand still needs your support however, these grants only go some way to covering the losses and overheads attributed to COVID-19, 96% of Blackpool Grand Theatre income comes from ticket sales and for the foreseeable future it needs support more than ever. We ask, if you can, donate and #PlayYourPart to the theatre’s Recovery Fund at blackpoolgrand.co.uk/recoveryfund
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.
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