Be PROUD for Blackpool Pride Month
Blackpool’s Grand highlights how PROUD it is this June for Blackpool Pride Month.
‘Be PROUD to support your local LGBTQ+ community’ is the theatre’s message this June to celebrate Pride Month. Over its long history, Blackpool’s Grand Theatre has been connected to local LGBTQ+ businesses and community groups across the Fylde.
The Friends of The Grand have, for many years, held their charity fundraisers at Funny Girls and other local LGBTQ+ venues and the world-famous Betty Legs Diamond and Blackpool’s Funny Girls have performed live at the theatre.
The theatre’s Creative Learning Producer is currently working with a local LGBTQ+ youth group and UR Potential. UR Potential aims to support individuals, young people, organisations and groups within communities to develop new skills and opportunities, whilst building on existing skills, enabling them to reach their true potential through volunteering, training and community projects.
Following insightful sessions and feedback with the local groups, Blackpool’s Grand has created the first Blackpool Bronze Arts Award with an LGBTQ+ theme running throughout.
The course, which began in April, consists of 15 students from the local LGBTQ+ community and they are already on track to complete the Award by the end of July this year.
The Group meets fortnightly. Currently they are working with artists to illustrate a publication for the youth community with LGBTQ+ themes. Written from the perspective of an LGBTQ+ young person, highlighting and addressing potential challenges they may encounter during their youth and beyond. The publication will then be made available to local secondary schools, youth centres, and community centres across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, in addition to being downloadable from the theatre’s website.
For Blackpool Pride weekend [8/9 June] the group will work with a local artist to create a large format PROUD art piece outside the theatre, highlighting the joint commitment to being PROUD to work with the LGBTQ+ local community and that the community be PROUD of their incredible work locally.
URPotential Members and Grand Young Theatre Company members will work with local artist
Blackpool’s Grand, along with visiting companies, is committed to offering diversity on its stages, including recent productions: Polari London’s award-winning LGBT literacy salon curated and hosted by author Paul Burston; Tuesday’s At Tesco’s, the thought-provoking journey exploring human perceptions of identity and acceptance; New Queers On The Block; Priscilla The Musical by local amateur group Blackpool Operatic Players; Romeo and Juliet by The RSC; and Metta Theatre’s In The Willows.
Following a very recent visit, who support the theatre’s LGBTQ+ messages are Sir Ian McKellen CH CBE, who is an avid support of the LGBTQ+ community and whose career spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. He will visit the theatre to a sell-out audience for Pride Month and to celebrate his 80th Birthday. McKellen, has been openly gay since 1988, and continues to be a champion for LGBTQ+ social movements worldwide. He was awarded Freedom of the City of London in October 2014.
The RSC will visit the theatre in 2020 with Shakespeare’s As You Like It. A riotous combination of a feisty cross-dressing heroine, a tartan-clad fool, melodic songs, questionable poetry and laughs aplenty. The Mail on Sunday said the show ‘Captures the joy of falling in love’.
Andrew Howard, Grand Theatre Marketing Manager said ‘Theatre has a power, we do now, and always have presented to an incredibly diverse audience. ‘Our stage presents productions that reflect real life, how people behave, and how people present themselves. ‘More than ever before, it is our responsibility with producers, to ensure that diversity is reflected on our stage.’
Blackpool Pride event will take place for the first time on Tower Festival Headland on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June. Headliners include Claire Richards from STEPS, Chesney Hawks and, direct from the USA, Ce Ce Peniston. The Blackpool Iconic Betty Legs Diamond and Funny Girls will also feature.
Follow Blackpool Pride Facebook.