Blackpool Grand Theatre asks guests to ‘name a seat’ to help save the venue’s future

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The venue has come up with several ways to generate income to continue to make memories for the children, families, visitors and friends who have grown up with the theatre that is still facing an uncertain future

The Grand Theatre in Blackpool
The Grand Theatre in Blackpool (Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

Blackpool Grand Theatre is asking for help from the public to help it survive what it says is ‘the most unprecedented time in its history”.

Built to be the “prettiest theatre in the land” by Victorian architect Frank Matcham in 1894, the venue has become much more than just a grade II listed building.

The historic theatre is now an active charity with social, educational and artistic aims and runs a full programme of workshops for children and young people, in and out of school which focus on improving literacy, numeracy, social skills and confidence.

Like many theatres across the country, the Grand suffered during the coronavirus pandemic, making no income since the first lockdown in March 2020 and having furloughed 57 staff.

This month the venue received a grant of £491,000 in the second round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

Ruth Eastwood, Blackpool Grand Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to receive this grant from the Government Treasury and Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund. It will allow us to prepare to reopen and, if all goes well, be trading again from the Autumn.

“It cannot be underestimated, the devastation Covid has caused for so many: our patrons; our employees, past and present; and our organisation. We have been forced to cut costs to protect the business, including reducing the staff to the bare minimum. With this support, we will be able to, rebuild, recruit and buy-in ‘product’ ready to start afresh.

““We are delighted that the Treasury, DCMS, and Arts Council England see the value and importance of supporting a community theatre like Blackpool Grand and the work does to create public benefit through arts, education and heritage.

“Nevertheless, this will not be a fast-passed opening, but a cautious and steady one. We are committed to ensuring a safe and comfortable environment for our patrons, performers and employees, and look forward to welcoming them back.”

Inside Blackpool Grand Theatre located on Church Street, Blackpool
Inside Blackpool Grand Theatre located on Church Street, Blackpool (Image: Blackpool Grand Theatre)

Despite the grant there is still uncertainty ahead however with many businesses expected to operate under restrictions when they reopen and the Grand’s capacity alone will reduce from 1,053 to 350 if one-metre social distancing is required.

The venue has come up with several ways to generate income make memories for the children, families, visitors and friends who have grown up with the theatre.

One of the ways is to support Blackpool’s Grand Theatre Artistic Programme by donating to its #nameaseat fundraiser.

Whether it’s to show your love for the theatre, remember a loved one or to give a unique gift, a minimum £350 donation will be marked by a plaque with a name of your choice that is fitted to the back of the seat.

Leaving a lasting mark in the theatre’s main auditorium, your plaque will be present for 10 years in the Stalls or Dress Circle.

There is also the Blackpool Grand Recovery Fund where supporters can donate however big or small to help it through the crisis.

The venue has also launched a new collection of Grand themed merchandise in an online shop with a beautifully created collection of postcards, notebooks, a mouses mat and more.

To find out how you can support Blackpool Grand theatre in many others ways, please visit here.

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