Discover more about our Creative Partnership Projects, from our Associate Schools Programme with the Royal Shakespeare Company to the creation of Teachers Resources (Creative and Active Approaches to English) with our Children’s Theatre Partnership and working with Blackpool’s Better Start in community settings to increase access to creative activities and experiences.
with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Henry VI: Rebellion, a major new RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) production of Henry VI Part II, running in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon next year will feature 12 participants from Blackpool. They will be drawn from a group that are part of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Grand Theatre Blackpool’s adult participation initiative, Shakespeare Nation.
The first half of the play is made up of a series of group scenes each featuring a different group of eight to twelve characters representing the people of England. The second half includes a large pageant in which the people rise up in revolt as part of the infamous Jake Cade Rebellion.
The RSC is looking for these scenes to include groups of adults drawn from communities from six of the RSC’s partner theatres (including Blackpool’s Grand) involved in its Shakespeare Nation adult participation initiative. Twelve participants from each of the six areas will appear alongside a cast of 26 professional actors in Stratford at selected performances in April and May 2022.
Rehearsals will take place in the Blackpool area, working with RSC Assistant Directors and practitioners, with support from The Grand Theatre, Blackpool. The Blackpool participants will then rehearse and perform in Stratford for their selected performances from April onwards.
Henry VI: Rebellion hurtles through one of the most turbulent periods in English history, asking the question: can the people ever really decide their own future? The production will also feature young performers who are part of RSC Next Generation Act, a unique talent development programme made up of young people aged between 13 and 18 from the RSC’s nationwide network of 222 Associate Schools. The production runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between 1 April – 28 May 2022.
Shakespeare Nation is the RSC’s adult participation programme supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which aims to create a nation of Shakespeare and theatre-lovers across the country. Working hand-in-hand with a network of twelve partner theatres including Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham, the scheme works with groups who often have little or no experience of Shakespeare, with the hope of building a lasting relationship between the community and its theatre.
Associate Schools Programme
with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Blackpool Grand has worked in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) since 2012 on a Learning and Performance Network and Associate Schools Programme. This national partnership has co-created local and national opportunities for over 30 schools, 100 teachers, and nearly 10,000 local children and young people.
Regular high-quality teacher training takes place in Blackpool and Stratford that builds skills around Creative and Active approaches to English and brings rehearsal room practice into the classroom. Thanks to the Blackpool Grand and The RSC five local teachers have gained a Post Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Shakespeare using creative and active approaches.
The theatre co-produces an annual Schools Shakespeare Festival with Lead Associate School, Our Lady of the Assumption RC Primary, and the Young Shakespeare Council. In addition, more than 200 young people get the chance to perform on The RSC’s own stage in Stratford-upon Avon in their national Shakespeare Schools Festival.
Shakespeare Nation Programme with Royal Shakespeare Company building new audiences and working with the local community is something The Blackpool Grand has been committed to for many years. The theatre was delighted to be invited to be part of a new national programme that involves working with The RSC and community partners to encourage new adult audiences to engage with Shakespeare’s works.
Working with over 150 people from the local community including, hoteliers, LGBTQ+ Liberty Church, Connect Community Choir, Better Starts’ Community Voice, and Friends of The Grand participants were offered opportunities to explore Shakespeare’s stories through drama, dance, poetry and performance.
Now, with a new collection of Shakespeare Champions drawn from the group and other community activists, this cohort is planning to work locally to share their love of Shakespeare and encourage others to see The RSC perform.
with Children’s Theatre Partnership
Blackpool Grand Theatre has been commissioned by the Children’s Theatre Partnership (CTP) to lead a National Creative Learning Programme connected to its three productions (HOLES, Unexpected Twist, and Animal Farm). The Grand is creating and sharing new Teachers Resources (Creative and Active Approaches to English) in addition to sharing its Creative Evaluation Journals for groups and young people.
As part of this exciting national programme we are delighted to be working with four national theatres: The Belgrade Coventry, Theatre Royal Norwich, Theatre Royal Newcastle and The Marlowe Canterbury.
The Story Squad
with Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
The Story Squad project puts young people’s voices front and centre, on-and-off stage. Over 100 young people are involved in the Story Squad project, working with local and regional artists, theatre companies, digital animators, songwriters, and The Grand’s creative team to make and share stories that are important to them. Participants will take part in over 50 free (funded) creative workshops.
To make and share stories of resilience, of hope, and full of life.
Blackpool Grand’s Story Squad is a two-year project funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and their new story; Tik Tok, Tik Trapped explores the impact of social media during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how participants felt trapped in their screens. They have also produced a story of lockdown called; Hope in Isolation. Read more about the project here.
with Blackpool Council Social Services, Just Uz, Ragdoll Foundation, Arts Council England, Future U and Lightpool / Blackpool Illuminations
Illuminate is a holiday Theatre Arts Project by Blackpool Grand Theatre. It has been co-designed by Blackpool young people from the ‘Just Uz’ group who is one of the representative groups run by Social Services. We are proud to be working in partnership with the Blackpool Council Social Services engagement team who along with the Ragdoll Foundation, the Arts Council, and Future U have funded this new two-year project. Read more about the project here.
Mannequins Creative Challenge Project
with Around The World in 80s Days (Grand Theatre production)
With the spectacular smash hit 80’s comedy musical Around the World in 80s Days returning to Blackpool Grand (after being the theatre’s first-ever in house production !) the theatre wanted to kick-off the opening week in 80s designer style… and what better way to do that than partnering with local community groups in a project where they are given the challenge of creating their own 80s-stylized mannequins which are then presented around the theatre for visitors to the show during October.
One of Blackpool Grand’s aims is building long-lasting relationships with our creative partners in order to present children/young people with exciting new ways to participate and learn through theatre and arts.
The theatre is proud to be working with such organisations as Junction 4 Productions, Blackpool School of Arts, The Old Electric Theatre, House of Wingz, Highfurlong School and our lead Associate RSC School Our Lady Primary, and are thrilled to invite each of these partners to take part in this ‘Creative Challenge’. Each organisation explains its choices/design concept, here.
Creative Evaluation Programme
with Blackpool Better Start
Blackpool Grand Theatre has worked in partnership with Blackpool Better Start and Community Voice since 2015. Working together with communities and families at Blackpool Grand and in community settings helps to increase access to creative activities and experiences.
Creative Careers for Students
with Edge Hill University
Blackpool Grand is delighted to be working in partnership with Edge Hill University to create ways for students to connect with our programme on stage, its actors, technicians, writers, and directors to bring their learning at University into real work settings.
Through a range of opportunities, students are working with local, national, and international artists to make work, perform on the stage alongside our touring companies, learn and apply new skills and explore how their courses can link to creative careers.
To discuss one of our projects or a potential creative partnership contact one of our Creative Learning team on 01253 290 111; alternatively, email.
Blackpool Grand Theatre is registered for the following Trademarks
Story-led Resilient Therapy®
Story-led Resilient Practice®
Header image: The RSC