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Celebrate The Grand’s 120th Birthday!

Blackpool Grand is opening its doors to the public this Heritage Open Day and celebrating its 120th birthday year!

The Grand Theatre will be throwing open its doors to enthusiasts of architecture, theatre and history for a FREE behind the scenes tour of the ‘hidden gem of the North’.

The Theatre first opened its doors on 23 July 1894, having been built by the leading Victorian architect Frank Matcham. It still remains as one of the few surviving examples of his work.

The Grand Theatre has hosted a multitude of stars since its opening, from Lily Langtree to Michael McIntyre, Gracie Fields to Ken Dodd, Arthur Askey, Lee Evans and most recently Dawn French!

Over the 120 years, The Grand has attracted the very best in award-winning touring companies, including The National Theatre, English Touring Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Opera and Ballet International and the Russian State Ballet.

Heritage Open Days give people the opportunity to delve into areas not normally open or available to the general public in a variety of private homes, castles, follies, industrial sites, churches, and Blackpool’s very own Grand Theatre! Locally, over 1,400 organisations and some 40,000 volunteers organise thousands of site openings and events, jointly attracting over 1 million visitors.

This year visitors will be able to wander round and explore The Grand for free, with opportunities to catch a glimpse behind the scenes of the theatre, view the extensive archive collection and explore the auditorium, taking in the enchanting décor and decorative Matcham features.

The Grand Theatre boasts a rich history, having been built by the leading Victorian architect Frank Matcham in 1894, and described by the first theatre manager Thomas Sergenson as ‘Matcham’s Masterpiece’. This title is even more merited now, as there are few surviving examples of the work of Frank Matcham. The theatre took just nine months to build and cost Sergenson £20,000, part of which he had earned by operating two small rented theatres and from a circus that he staged for five summer seasons on the site of The Grand.

Why not step back in time for the day and discover the beauty, architecture and history of the stunning Grand Theatre.

Geoff and Linda Tolson, The Grand’s honourary archivists said,

“It’s that time of the year when Blackpool celebrates its heritage by opening its hidden gems for locals & visitors alike to marvel at the range of Blackpool’s cultural diversity.
“Once again the Grand Theatre is proud to be a part of the annual Heritage Open Day scheme in the theatre’s very special 120th Anniversary year. A working theatre has rare opportunities to invite the public to wander round and explore. Heritage Guides and Friends of The Grand will be on hand to help you to enjoy your visit to Matcham’s Masterpiece and there will be displays from the theatre’s archive collections in the Stalls & the Stage Door Café Bar. We even have activities to keep the children amused.”

The Grand Theatre’s Heritage Open Day will take place on Saturday 13 September from 10am to 12.30pm.
Box Office 01253 290190

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