Today, we take a look at one of Blackpool’s most beautiful buildings, The Grand Theatre.
The Grand Theatre In the Early Days
Designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1894, the Grand Theatre in Blackpool has been the entertainments venue for shows, plays and concerts for more than a century.
This stunning Victorian theatre was built with the goal of being the prettiest theatre in the land. The owner who had instructed its construction, Thomas Sergensen was a local theatre manager who had already been hosting a circus in the location where the Grand Theatre was eventually built.
After a number of years at the helm, Sergensen decided to sell up and the theatre was purchased for a handsome price by the Blackpool Tower Company in 1909.
Even with the introduction of cinemas which were incredibly popular when first opened, The Grand Theatre managed to retain its popularity and the audience continued to flock to every performance.
Keeping A Struggling Business Going
Thanks to the theatre becoming a Grade II listed building in early 1972, plans to demolish the building in the same year could not proceed. It seemed that the popularity of the television was finally causing the failure of the business. The grand theatre began to deteriorate as the business was no longer flourishing and eventually, it was decided that it would become a bingo hall in an attempt to draw custom back to the firm.
In 1981, the Grand Theatre was eventually re-opened, with new owners and a refurbishment, which was mainly achieved by volunteers. The first play to be staged there was William Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice. In May of the same year, the Royal Variety Performance was held at the Grand with Charles, The Prince Of Wales being in attendance.
The Grand Theatre still enjoys popularity today, with shows and pantomimes being popular throughout the year.
Listen Out For Charlie
As the Grand Theatre has been in operation for so long, it’s not surprising to hear that it is home to a ghost! Back in the Victorian times, it’s said that a man named Charlie used to work at the theatre and had a soft spot for a ballerina. When his advances towards her were spurned, he threw himself over one of the upper balconies, which caused his death. Many people claim to have heard and even seen Charilie wandering amongst the seats in the balcony, pining for his love.