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Local Charity Looking For Committee Members

Formed in 1973 to save the building from demolition, the first Friends were literally ‘hands-on’. They painted the dressing rooms, repaired holes to the ceiling and helped to get the theatre into shape.

The Friends of The Grand are now looking for new Committee Members to join their active team.

The theatre continues to prove that there is a healthy demand for culture and the arts in Blackpool and the surrounding areas. The Friends today are a valuable and active asset in The Grand’s operation and early Friends included such names as Violet Carson (Ena Sharples), Alistair Cooke, , Leslie Crowther, Tim West, Prunella ScalesBilly PearceJohnnie Casson and Sir Ken Dodd. Patrons of the charity are actor Steven Thompkinson and Grand Pantomime veteran Steve Royle.

The history in Blackpool of The Friends is infamous, early in 1973 there was a meeting at a local hotel where The Friends was formed specifically to resist the application, which by then was supported by the Local Authority.

In 1975, The Grand was due to be changed into a bingo hall. The Friends, 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.

After the eventual purchase of the theatre by The Grand Theatre Trust, in September 1980, dozens of ‘Friends’ helped to refurbish the theatre in readiness for The Grand’s reopening in the week of March 23, 1981, by Timothy West and Prunella Scales in the Old Vic production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Then 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 May 29 the ultimate theatrical honour of a Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales.

The role of The Friends has changed over the years; nowadays Friends Committee Members support the theatre in different ways. They raise funds from subscriptions and social events to finance projects within the theatre, primarily aimed at enhancing the comfort of our patrons.

Over the last twenty-five years The Friends have contributed more than one million pounds towards projects including the provision of new carpets, seating and technical equipment. Most recently (2015) The Friends provided huge help and support with the theatre’s Capital Project helping the theatre build new offices, performances spaces, dressing rooms and more. In addition to funding the purchase of shops returning the building to its original footprint.

Friends Committee Members are a passionate group of theatre-lovers who, over the years, have raised well over a million pounds and volunteer over 13,000 hours a year to help the theatre operate.

Friends of The Grand are looking for new Committee Members to join and stand for election. The Committee Members normally meet monthly and members are also asked to give some time to organising fundraising activities. All prospective committee members, including those on the current committee, must be members of The Friends and should be nominated and seconded by two other members.

Deadline for receiving applications is Friday 26th January 2018

Applications are now closed.

 

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