It may play host to scores of shows and hundreds of actors, singers and dancers each year - but now the Grand Theatre is calling on local residents to step into the limelight and play their part in its future success.
As reported in the Gazette last month, the theatre reminded residents of its charitable status, after finding that 68 per cent of an audience survey was ‘surprised’ to find the Grand was a charity.
Theatre chiefs then made a plea during its autumn/winter season launch event for more local support.
Now, in line with today’s United Nations’ International Day Of Charity, the theatre is calling on patrons and residents to #PlayYourPart as it seeks to raise awareness of its work within and for the community - while encouraging people to think about supporting the theatre by making a donation or by leaving a legacy.
Launching the campaign, a spokesman said: “The Grand is more than just a beautiful, Grade-II* listed building.
“It’s an active charity with social, educational and artistic aims.
“Employing 47 permanent staff members and with the help of 85 dedicated volunteers, the theatre attracts thousands of visitors to the town to enjoy the work on its stages.
“In addition, it runs a full programme of workshops for children and young people, in and out of school, focused on improving literacy, numeracy, social skills and confidence.”
In 2016, 10,000 school children had discounted tickets for performances at the Church Street theatre, and 3,000 performed on its stage as part of Au Revoir Review and Schools Alive shows.
But to continue this and other community schemes, the theatre needs additional funds.
Chief executive Ruth Eastwood said: “Without the generous support of local people, who fought to save the Grand Theatre from demolition back in the 1970s and eventually raised the money to buy it for the benefit of Blackpool and the region, this beautiful theatre wouldn’t be here today.
“We’ve been a charity from the very beginning, working with schools, families and children to offer great entertainment, learning and new artistic and educational experiences for local people.
“And we hope, with everyone’s continued support, we’ll be able to do so for many years to come.”
The venue has signed up with legacy and donation sites, such as the Charity Aid Foundation (CAF) and easyfundraising.org.uk – where a percentage from everyday purchases at leading online retailers will be donated to the cause.
Chairman of the Grand Theatre Arts and Entertainment Ltd board, Tony Stone said: “We are all at the Grand very proud of the work we do in the community to support not only the residents of Blackpool but the widener area of Fylde and Wyre.
“Art is a magnificent enabler, for so many aspects of health and wellbeing.
“As a charity, we depend so much from the kind generosity of our supporters. I hope we will welcome many more to our family as a result of this initiative.”
Chief executive Ruth Eastwood said the Grand’s budget was a complex combination of public funding as well as income from ticket sales, bars and refreshments - with just 16p from each £1 spent on tickets coming back into the theatre.
How to help
Here are some of the websites where you can donate to the Grand Theatre or find out more about ways to support it.