5 min read
Pure Pantomonium Success – Blackpool Grand’s Christmas production Pantomonium! went on sale just a couple of weeks ago and the theatre has been inundated in thousands of calls and bookings. The number of tickets sold has been recorded in its history as the theatre’s biggest ever.
With six characters, four actors and twice the fun, Blackpool Grand Theatre recently announced that, with the generous support of producer Martin Dodd of UK Productions, BBC Radio Lancashire presenter, and Britain’s Got Talent ‘finalist’ Steve Royle, and West End’s Tom Lister will perform a condensed and COVID-safe pantomime fundraiser written by the Award winning script writer of Beauty and the Beast Jon Monie to ensure Christmas isn’t cancelled at Blackpool’s Grand!
We can now announce that Steve Royle and Tom Lister will be joined by two other Grand Theatre regulars’ TVs Milkshake! host Olivia Birchenough and as this year’s Dame EastEnders Nick Wilton.
Olivia Birchenough said of joining the cast ‘I feel so privileged to be a part of Pantomonium! this Christmas. When I was asked to return to The Grand to help raise much needed funds I did not even think twice. I cannot wait to be back on stage in the most beautiful theatre in the land, with our small yet mighty cast!’
Nick Wilton added ‘I’m really excited to be back in Blackpool this Christmas for my 3rd pantomime at The Grand – my 13th season with UK Productions and my 21st playing Dame.
Having sadly seen pantomimes around the country being cancelled one by one through the summer, it was wonderful to get the call from Martin Dodd at UK Productions saying that The Grand was going ahead with Jon Monie’s specially written Covid-safe show (he wrote the award-winning version of Beauty & The Beast that we did in Blackpool two years ago).
It will be great to work with Steve again – we always have such fun – although I think I’ll have to keep a “motherly” eye on him and Tom, as I hear they can be very naughty boys when they get together; I’m really looking forward to meeting Olivia too.
It’s going to be a fantastic show – keeping the spirit of Pantomime alive but in a really different and exciting way; And it’s raising money for The Grand so future generations can continue to enjoy live entertainment in this magnificent theatre.’
Ruth Eastwood, Grand Theatre Chief Executive said ‘We are overwhelmed by the local community’s support. We thought we knew how much The Grand meant to many, but the thousands of messages we have received, donations and offers of support have been incredible. Martin, Steve, Tom, Jon the writer and many other industry creatives who have worked at our beloved theatre really have shown what The Grand means to them. Without their, and your, support we could not have dreamed of being able to put on a Christmas show this year.
‘We are still raising money, so if you, or anyone you know, would like to donate, please go to blackpoolgrand.co.uk/recoveryfund, because the fight is not over just yet.’
Anthony Stone, Chair of Blackpool Grand (Arts and Entertainment) Ltd added ‘Like Ruth the board thank the community for their tremendous support and belief in us.
‘I’m delighted that there will be a show on our stage this Christmas. All profits from this year’s Pantomonium! will go towards building a stronger future for Blackpool’s Grand.’
As one of the many people that have made this possible, Martin Dodd, Producer UK Productions, said ‘Blackpool Grand is very close to my heart, and this year would have been our 25th pantomime in this beautiful theatre. Our Wardrobe Department and costumes for all our productions are still housed in Blackpool.
‘All Pantomonium! profits will go to Blackpool Grand, and we hope with the support of our great audience we create a total sell-out and raise thousands for the theatre.’
Actor, Comic, and Presenter Steve Royle added ‘It was understandable but heart-breaking getting the call saying Pantomime was postponed. I just simply couldn’t let it go, I’d promised Martin and Ruth I’d do anything to make it work.’
Tom Lister joined adding ‘Having performed at Blackpool Grand many times it’s a real favourite of mine. I was keen to help them last year with their 125th Anniversary and it is hard to believe only months later the building was forced to close its doors. Martin contacted me and I agreed we simply had to do something.’
This year’s Pantomonium! special production has been specially written by Great British Pantomime Awards (2019) Winner of Best Script Jon Monie, directed by Anthony Williams, Musical Direction by Sam Coates, Choreography by Katie Hill, and Produced by Martin Dodd of UK Productions Ltd.
Pantomonium! at Blackpool Grand Theatre will perform from Friday 18 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021. There will be three performances a day (11am, 3pm, and 7pm, running for approx. 1hr.15mins with no interval). All seats will be £25.50 per person and only available in set bubbles of 2, 3, 4, 5 or six.
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