A new version of the classic monster movie King Kong is one of two arts schemes a £680,000 grant will fund in Blackpool.
The Grand Theatre has been awarded the cash from the Arts Council England’s (ACE) Ambition For Excellence fund.
In partnership with arts body LeftCoast, the theatre will be commissioning two new major artistic performance events in the town this year and next.
Grand Theatre chief executive Ruth Eastwood said: “We don’t want to give too much away just now.
“These are big and important projects that will help consolidate Blackpool’s growing reputation as a place with culture at its heart; celebrating the uniqueness of this amazing town and offering new and different artistic experiences to people, young and old.
“Now the hard work starts to create something really special.”
A ‘re-imagining’ of King Kong will take place in 2017, drawing internationally-renouned artists to the resort, working with local people, in multiple art forms at locations across the town.
It promises to be a ‘great spectacle’ for the town involving large numbers of performers, artists and residents, with details still in the early stages of discussion. And later this year the team will work with dreamthinkspeak, whose last new work in the North West was as part of the high profile Capital Of Culture celebrations in Liverpool in 2008.
Tristan Sharps, artistic director of dreamthinkspeak, said: “As always with a dreamthinkspeak project, I will be living in the town during the creation of the show and working closely with large numbers of local residents.
“I’m really excited to explore and discover how the project will adapt and develop in response to this remarkable town’s past, present and future. I’ve been dreaming about this project for the last two years. This award makes the dream real and I cannot wait to crack on”.
The ACE funding aims to ‘support ambition, talent and excellence in the arts’, particularly outside London, with Blackpool’s share of almost £3m nationally the second largest grant, after that awarded to The Lowry, in Salford.
Alison Clark, from ACE, said: “This award represents a very significant moment for arts in Blackpool.
“This internationally-important programme illustrates the impact of cultural leaders in the town, and we look forward to seeing its powerful long-term effects on artists and the arts infrastructure in Blackpool and beyond.”
Michael Trainor, artistic director of LeftCoast, said: “Winning this major national award from Arts Council England is a huge vote of confidence in Blackpool’s creative community and will bring the very highest quality creative experiences to the amazing locations and good people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.”