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Blackpool Grand Theatre

Blackpool Grand Theatre

Blackpool Grand Theatre

The premier theatre venue in Blackpool

Many of the fantastic family shows at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre are based upon classic literary works, including the works of some of the most famous children’s authors.

 

Top Children’s Authors: A-Z 

Who is the best children’s author? What are the must read books for children? Have I read all the classic children’s books yet?

Have no fear, as Blackpool Grand Theatre has put together an A – Z of the most acclaimed children’s authors, with book recommendations so that you and your little ones don’t miss out! 

For inspiration of some of your favourite children’s authors and to learn more about them, read on! 

Top Tip:  While we have you, for more entertaining resources and ways to get your kids inspired for all things creative, check out Blackpool Grand’s At Home With You Youtube Channel ! It’s a hub for all things creative, for theatre lovers, yogis, and storytellers alike. 

Looking for more ways to support us? You can donate to Blackpool Grand Theatre’s recovery fund today and help protect the future of theatre, or order your favourite books on smile.amazon.co.uk and choose Blackpool Grand Theatre (Arts and Entertainment) Ltd as your chosen charity (its easy, just log-in as normal)! Thank you.

 

List of famous children’s books and the authors

Top-Childrens-Authors-AA-Milne
A A Milne – Brewster Publications; photograph by E. O. Hoppé, London

A A Milne

A household name in the world of children’s literature, A A Milne is the creator of Winnie The Pooh. A veteran of both World Wars, Alan Alexander Milne was actually a successful playwright, before his famous children’s books following the story of a certain “bear with very little brain” dwarfed his former accolades. The original manuscripts for Winnie the Pooh are still archived in Trinity College Library.

Must-read works by A A Milne: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner.

 

Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz’s most famous children’s books are arguably the Alex Rider novels, noted for enthusing and inspiring a new generation of younger boys into reading again. The books did make it to screen, however only one film was made. The book series spans 12 novels, and as of 2020, Alex Rider has been released on Amazon Prime as a limited TV series. He has also penned The Diamond Brothers and has contributed to various ITV drama series including Midsomer Murders and Poirot. He is the creator of ITV’s Foyles War, writing for the series too. 

Must-read works by Antony Horowitz: Alex Rider series, Diamond Brothers series.

 

Top Children's Authors

‘Helen’ Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is renowned for her contribution to children’s literature. The author is is known for her distinctive, delicate watercolour illustrations depicting the various animals that are the focus of her stories. In her will, Beatrix Potter left a large amount of her estate to the National Trust and is credited for preserving much of the Lake District National Park. Her story has sparked various adaptations including the 2006 film Miss Potter and the most recent jovial adaptation of her most famous creation, Peter Rabbit, voiced by James Corden.  

Must-read works by Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit (along with her 23 other children’s tales!).

 

C S Lewis

Author of more than 30 books and holder of academic positions at both Oxford and Cambridge. Clive Staples Lewis’ strong Christian beliefs often made their way into his fiction. Lewis was close friends with fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien (who very possibly could have made this list with works like The Hobbit!). 

Must-read works by C S Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia.

 

Top Children's Authors David Walliams

David Walliams

Perhaps best known for his comedic acting in BBC’s Little Britain, David Walliams began writing for children in 2008, and he’s been hailed as the UK’s fastest growing children’s author. His books have been translated into 53 languages, and his style is regularly compared with Roald Dahl. His works have been adapted for television and theatre, and this trend only looks to continue. Alton Towers are opening The World of David Walliams in 2021, and April 2020 saw ‘Slime’ published. 

Must-read works by David Walliams: The Boy in the Dress (now a great stage play with the RSC), Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy.

 

Enid Blyton

Known for her mystery, fantasy and adventure writing, Enid Blyton is behind the well-known collection ‘The Famous Five’, a collection of adventure books of discovery, as well as the Secret Seven, and Noddy. Enid Blyton’s work rose to fame in the 1930s and since has sold in excess of 600 million copies.

Must-read works by Edid Blyton: The Famous Five Collection, which spans 22 works.

 

Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle

Eric Carle’s most famous work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is arguably one of the most well-known children’s books. His instantly recognisable collage style makes use of bright colours and layering techniques, with an interactive 

Must-read works by Eric Carle: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 

J.K. Rowling

A true “rags to riches” story, the world’s first billionaire author has actually lost this status by giving away substantial parts of her wealth to charity. The Harry Potter series alone has sold over 500 million copies. Rowling also writes crime fiction for adults under the pen name of Robert Galbraith. 

Must-read works by J K Rowling: The Harry Potter series (of course!).

 

j r r tolkien

J R R Tolkien CBE 

Noted for his creation of the fantasy world of Middle Earth, J R R Tolkien is arguably one of the most well- known authors in children’s literature. His works include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as The Hobbit, all of which have sold millions of copies worldwide. The film trilogy of Lord of the Rings was a box office hit, as were the recent adaptations of The Hobbit, which similarly became a three-part franchise. The 2003 instalment Return of the King garnered an incredible 12 Oscars, with a television series currently in production. 

Must-read works by J R R Tolkien: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

 

Jaqueline Wilson

Known for her controversial subject matter yet providing a voice which resonated clearly with youngsters, Jaqueline Wilson is one of the more well-known children’s authors of the millennium generation. Wilson has written more than 100 books, which have been adapted for television both on BBC, and ITV, as well as on stage. Wilson is arguably most famous for her book The Story of Tracy Beaker, published in 1991, which went on to win the Smarties book prize. Tracy Beaker BBC adaptations were broadcast from 2002 to 2005 and spawned various other adaptations including the Dumping Ground, which is still on television today. 

Must-read works by Jaqueline Wilson: The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Suitcase Kid, Best Friends

 

J M Barrie
James Matthew Barrie by Herbert Rose Barraud, 1892

JM Barrie

Another instantly recognisable name in the world of children’s literature, JM Barrie (James Matthew Barrie) is synonymous with his most famous creation, Peter Pan. The boy who never grew up first appeared in his 1902 novel Little White Bird, and, along with Wendy, Tinkerbell and the lost boys, Peter Pan’s story captured the hearts of adults and children alike for many a generation. The 2003 film Peter Pan, as well as the 2004 film Finding Neverland, depict JM Barrie’s famous character and childhood respectively, and Peter Pan is still enjoyed on stage today, with performances and pantomimes around the country. 

For all things Peter Pan, check out Blackpool Grand’s Resources: 

Infographic – The History of Peter Pan

What is The Real Story of Peter Pan?

What Inspired J M Barrie to Write Peter Pan?

Why are Peter Pan and Captain Hook enemies?

Who are the Peter Pan characters? 

Who wrote Peter Pan?

 

Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr is a German born illustrator and writer who has sold more than 10 million books. Her past is a story in itself, as the author fled the Weimar Republic during the rise of Nazi Germany in 1933. Judith Kerr settled in Britain and wrote about her experience in a semi-autobiographical trilogy. Many of her books include her own illustrations and feature charming stories that have been enjoyed by many a generation. 

Must-read works by Judith Kerr: The Mog Series (of which there are 17 books!), The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the Out of Hitler Time trilogy.

 

Julia Donaldson
Donaldson at the 2011 Children´s and Young Adult Program of the Berlin International Literature Festival. Christoph Rieger

Julia Donaldson

The 2011-2013 Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson is another household name in the world of children’s literature, and the 2011–2013 Children’s Laureate. Her books have been produced for television, and have taken centre stage with a Christmas Day slot on BBC in most recent years. She is best known for her charming rhyming stories and actually started off writing songs for children’s television. 120 of her 184 published works are intended purely for use in schools and include the Songbirds phonic reading scheme. The author works in partnership with the forestry commission as well as other enterprises to help inform, educate and entrance young readers discovering rhyming sounds and story for the first time.

Must-read works by Julia Donaldson: The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Zog

 

Lewis Carroll

Born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the famous moniker of Lewis Carroll was actually a pen name. Carroll made heavy use of wordplay, logic and fantasy in his stories, although some of his famous poems – such as the Jabberwocky – are actually formally defined as literary nonsense! 

Must-read works by Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass.

 

Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo

A former teacher who famously saw the “magic” that a writing career could bring, Michael Morpurgo was the third Children’s Laureate, holding the position from 2003-2005. A master of “magical storytelling”, his recurring themes include the triumph of an outsider or relationships with nature. Writing for children aged 7 plus, Morpurgo’s books are held in high regard and have been included in the curriculum over the years. War Horse has been a stage production in London since 2007 and is noted for its breathtaking use of puppetry. This novel was also turned into a film that was released in 2011. 

Must-read works by MIchael Morpurgo: War Horse, Private Peaceful, The Butterfly Lion

 

Michael Rosen

Very few people are unfamiliar with the well-known chant ‘we’re going on a bear hunt!’. Indeed Michael Rosen’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is one of the most well-loved storybooks for various generations, with more than 9 million copies sold worldwide, according to the publisher. 

He is also famous for his acclaimed Michael Rosen’s sad book which focuses on grief, having lost a child to pneumonia at 18. Illustrated by Quentin Blake, it’s poignancy and subtle exploration of grief has been praised in the literature community. 

Must-read works by Michael Rosen: We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen’s Sad Book

 

Noel Streatfeild

Noel Stratfield

Another novel that has stood the test of time and enlightened young readers is Ballet Shoes. Written by Noel Stratfield, this author rose to fame upon the publication of ballet shoes in 1936. She has written more than 30 books, and Ballet shoes have been adapted to television with a stellar cast including Emma Watson.

Depicting the life of three artistically talented sisters, Ballet shoes explores sisterhood and the world of theatrical ballet and is considered a classic of children’s literature. 

To find out more about ballet, types of ballet and where it originates from to get inspired, check out Blackpool Grand Theatre’s blog posts about ballet here. 

Philip Pullman

Most known for his acclaimed fantasy series, His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman is internationally recognised as an influential British children’s author. So much so, in fact, that he was included in the 2019 honour’s list for his services and contribution to children’s literature. 

His most popular series was adapted for film in 2007 in a film which featured the likes of Daniel Craig and Sir Ian McKellen, and most recently, BBC produced an adaptation for television in late 2019. 

 

Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl – Carl Van Vechten

Roald Dahl

A former flying ace in the Second World War, Roald Dahl’s books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. Renowned as one of the greatest children’s authors of the 20th century, his warm literature features (frequently), villainous adult characters, humour and often surprising endings have inspired generation after generation. Much of his work has been turned into a film, and his books are synonymous with Quentin Blake’s deliberately scrappy and utterly individual illustrations. 

Must-read works of Roald Dahl: The BFG, The Witches, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 

Top Children’s Authors

For more inspiration, check out Blackpool Grand Theatre’s latest news. Blackpool Grand Theatre is here for you, to help Connect, Comfort and Uplift. For information on our next children’s friendly show, check out what’s on, or find out more about our Christmas Panto Snow White, coming this winter.

The post Top Children’s Authors appeared first on Blackpool Grand Theatre.

Planning For Recovery – After months of enforced closure, Blackpool Grand Theatre calls on the local community for help. While other businesses slowly reopen, it will be some time before Blackpool’s Grand can operate as it once did. We are asking local supporters to #PlayYourPart in supporting the Grand come through this emergency.

With 91% of the theatre’s income coming from ticket sales, every day is vital to its survival for the town. With a skeleton staff, the theatre is working through hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of refunds, credits, and limited transfers to new dates. The highly anticipated summer show this August, Dirty Dancing the Musical, has had to be postponed until summer 2021.

Anthony Stone, Blackpool Grand Theatre Chair said; ‘with the closure of hundreds of theatres across the UK, including The Grand, the arts and entertainment industry, along with many, many other businesses across the country, faces an uncertain future. At this time, I believe, it is important to protect the theatre and its workforce by taking every opportunity to slow down the devastating financial impact of closure, so we can be in as good a shape as possible when we come to re-open.

Arts Council England and Blackpool Council continue to support the theatre and we hope for news soon on further funding support, for which we thank them sincerely.  However, The Grand earns 91% of its income through ticket sales which, as you can imagine, are now depleting our reserves.  If you can, and would like to, donate to help the theatre survive, we would be extraordinarily grateful.”

Support Blackpool Grand Theatre.

The venue is asking locals to help in planning for recovery, you can support the theatre in various ways;

  1. Donate at blackpoolgrand.co.uk/recoveryfund
  2. Purchase an 1894 Club membership
  3. Purchase tickets for our Autumn Winter 20/21 season
  4. Use Amazon Smile, or Name A Seat

 

Planning For The Future

Planning for the future, Ruth Eastwood, Grand Theatre Chief Executive said ‘Firstly, I want to thank the thousands of customers for their patience and understanding at this challenging time. Our small team (just five of us) has been moving, refunding, and crediting customers over the past few weeks, as quickly as humanly possible. That is no mean-feat, I can tell you.

‘At the same time, I’ve been moving many of the shows we had planned for Spring/Summer into Autumn/Winter 20/21. The programme is packed with a wide selection from music and drama, to comedy and dance.

‘I’m delighted to have only had to cancel a few shows.  Most have moved to new dates, so you can still enjoy much of the great line up planned for earlier in the year.  I’m very much looking forward to welcoming you all back from September.’

As a charity, your support is crucial to this iconic heritage theatre’s survival. We are asking our locals to #PlayYourPart because the impact of COVID-19 is not just now but is predicted to last up to 2 years.

The venue is doing all it can planning for recovery and to support their artists, staff, volunteers, partners and community at this unprecedented time.  The Grand looks forward to re-opening the doors and welcoming you back in the very near future.

So, please #PlayYourPart! Donate at blackpoolgrand.co.uk/recoveryfund

To discover What’s Coming in the upcoming months at Blackpool Grand Theatre view it here.

 

…//Ends

 

Editors

Blackpool Grand Theatre creates www.AtHomeWithYou.co.uk – Along with online yoga classes, workshops, tutorials and more, the Blackpool Grand Theatre’s new YouTube Channel for lockdown has been continuously updated with the latest information with an overarching aim to Connect, Comfort and Uplift. This includes historical articles on the country’s favorite shows, guides on the local area and details of how people can help and support a treasured and vital part of Blackpool’s Arts community.

About Blackpool Grand Theatre

Blackpool Grand Theatre is the oldest and best-known theatre in Blackpool. Since 2006, the theatre has also been known as the National Theatre of Variety. The Grand Theatre hosts a wide variety of National and International theatrical shows, from comedies, dramas, ballet and dance.

Notes to Editors 

For more information please contact:

Holly Barry – Digital PR Strategist – Holly@theevergreenagency.co.uk

Andrew Howard – Marketing Manager – andrewh@blackpoolgrand.co.uk

The post Planning For Recovery – Help Play Your Part appeared first on Blackpool Grand Theatre.

A Brief History of Ballet – Many of us are familiar with ballet as an art form and professional dance style, with renowned ballets still performed today that were written and curated many years ago. This guide looks at the origins of ballet to provide a concise account of the history of ballet and how it grew into the elite, established and prestigious movement so many of us know, love and enjoy today. 

 

 

Where did Ballet Originate?

Ballet originated in Italy, as far back as the 1500s. It was also practiced in Renaissance France. 

At this point, as an art form enjoyed in the high courts, with elaborate festivals encouraged, there was a focus on dance and décor and lavish costumes. Ballet, originating from the Italian word ‘ballare’ – to dance – involved intricate dancing and elaborate movements, performed by influential people in the courts of royal palaces. They often brought about an air for the theatrical, with mysterious masks and costumes. Court dances expanded in size, opulence and grandeur as time went on, with gentle turns, hops and slides forming the earliest movement of ballet dancing.

Enjoyed by noblemen and women in particular, it was King Henry II of France, with his wife, an Italian noblewoman, Catherine de Medici who funded ballet in the French Court. This saw ballet rise in popularity, growing in prestige and prowess.

 

History of Ballet

King Louis XIV further helped to popularise and standardise ballet as an art form. A dancer himself, he loved ballet, and this transformed the ballet movement to more than just an art form but an esteemed skill to pursue, requiring personal training, discipline and focus. 

By 1681, ballet had moved from the esteemed courts to stage, with a strong following and spectators who would watch in wonder and awe. Opera ballet was a popular ballet style, and by the mid 1700s, ballet had in fact become its own art from, separating itself from Opera completely. Ballet with a narrative of its own, became popular and ballet d’action as a movement led to popular narrative ballets of the 19th Century. 

Although the French Revolution of 1789 brought ballet to a halt, as the monarchy was overthrown along with the Royal Academy of Dance. It was later reformed after years underground in 1929, as the Paris Opera Ballet.

 

Romantic Period

Art, music and ballet was widely influenced by Giselle and La Sylphide, which are seen as notable ballets in forming the romantic ballet period. 

Romantic ballet can be categorised by female dancers performing on their toes, or pointe, with an instantly recognisable style of calf length tutus, full skirts made of tulle, and graceful ethereal performances. 

Meanwhile, ballet in Russia was growing in popularity at this point. In the later part of the 1800s, Russian choreographers and composers were beginning to build a presence in the ballet world with some landmark classical ballets that would elevate Russia’s presence on the World Stage. 

This includes the work of the renowned Marisa Petipa, whom we can thank for The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. These ballets are universally acknowledged as classic ballet in its grandest form, and marked Russia as a prominent figure in the popularity of this opulent art form. Displaying classical technique with pointe work, high extension, and precision to its fullest, these ballets are still known and loved today, performed all over the world. 

 

Growth of ballet as an art form

Russian ballet composers at this stage began to experiment with the movement of costume and exploration of this genre as opposed to the confines of classical ballet form and story. Unfamiliar movements and exploration of expression saw ballet grow as an art form, with performances showcasing a story of sacrifice and the unfamiliar, which were welcomed by audiences. 

Ballet would further change thanks to the founder of NYC ballet, George Balanchine. Of Russian origin, Balanchine emigrated to America and introduced neoclassical as a genre, an expansion on the now familiar classical form.

This style, involving lack of plot but more of a focus on movement to express the music and delve into human emotions, grew in popularity, again demonstrating the diversity of ballet as an art form to be enjoyed. 

 

What are the main types of ballet?

We have more information about the different styles in our article on types of ballet

Generally, ballet forms fall under the following categories:

  • Classical 
  • Neoclassical 
  • Contemporary
  • Romantic 

The technical methods of ballet can be categorised into the following:

  • Bournonville Method (Danish) 
  • Modern Codified Technique (French)
  • Ceciti Method (Italian) 
  • Vaganova Method (Russia)
  • Balanchine Method (American)
  • Royal Academy of Dance Method (English)  

Ballet in the 20th Century

The 1900s saw prestigious ballet companies formed, including:

  • The Royal Ballet, 1926
  • American Ballet Theatre, 1937
  • Paris Opera Ballet, 1929

The invention of spandex in 1959 saw a particular shift in ballet style and movement, as this new material gave dancers much more scope and freedom of movement. The leotard enabled more flexibility and in 2020, ballet is held in great prestige with performances and performers held in high regard.

 

Ballet Today

Bringing together music, dance, visuals, story and emotion, ballet is still supported in popular culture. The prestigious ballet companies are seen as platforms for the best dancers around the world, and theatres around the world still sell out today as people seek a few hours of pure escapism. With modern ballet choreography at times bringing a refreshing perspective on such a traditional style of dance, the classical ballets are still held in high regard. It may not be the heyday of ballet, but it has withstood the centuries purely for its ability to provide escapism and experience, with no international barriers. 

 

Ballet at Blackpool Grand Theatre

Blackpool Grand Theatre and ballet have a longstanding history, and we welcomed The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra in January 2020 and will again in 2021. We look forward to offering further fantastic ballet and dance opportunities in the future.

 

If you want to find out more about ballet and get a sneak peek into the life of a dancer, check out our interview with the English National Ballet here.

 

Blackpool Grand set out a COVID-Community Communication Programme (CCCP) during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our aims were simple, to CONNECTCOMFORT and UPLIFT. We would Connect people by offering tutorials on communication tools like Zoom and conduct community face-to-face meetings (book readings, youth groups and more). Comfort through stories of heritage, memories and storytelling, and to Uplift visitors’ spirits through laughter and exercise. Please do enjoy and if you can afford to donate please do. 

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing.

For any concerns and latest advice around COVID-19, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

The post A Brief History of Ballet appeared first on Blackpool Grand Theatre.

A complete guide to Pantomime – Loved by all generations and generally seen as a Christmas tradition, the pantomime is something familiar to many. It stands apart due to its eccentric take on a traditional fairy tale story. Alongside some gender reversal roles, slapstick comedy, colourful costumes and audience participation, the ‘panto’ seems to be a quintessentially English tradition. 

Pantomime is ingrained in British theatre, and is still popular today. But for many, little is known about its origin, how pantomime started, and where it came from. 

This guide will also ask some of the key questions:

What is a pantomime?

What are some examples of pantomime?

Traditional elements of pantomime

How pantomime started

Why are pantomimes at Christmas?

 

 

Where Does Pantomime Originate From
The Christmas Pantomime colour lithograph book cover, 1890, showing the harlequinade characters

 

What is a pantomime?

A pantomime is a theatrical performance, which differs from traditional theatre in many ways. It is traditionally aimed at children, however it can be enjoyed by all generations. 

Some standout characteristics of a pantomime include:

  • Gender role reversal 
  • A storyline of good vs evil
  • Slapstick comedy 
  • Colourful, eccentric costumes
  • Audience participation
  • Likely derived from a fairy tale or nursery story

 

What are some examples of pantomime?

Some popular pantomimes include:

  • Dick Whittington
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Sleeping Beauty 
  • Cinderella
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Aladdin 
  • Peter Pan
  • Mother Goose
  • Beauty and the Beast 
  • Babes in the Wood (with elements of Robin Hood)

 

Traditional elements of a pantomime

The main traditional elements of a pantomime are:

  • Principal Boy
  • Principal Girl
  • The Villain 
  • Good/Bad Fairy 
  • Comedy characters
  • Panto animal 
  • Slapstick scene
  • Singalong (involving audience) 

 

Pantomime Meaning

The phrase pantomime derives from the Greek word ‘Pantomimos’, which is defined as a performer acting all the roles in a story, or an ‘imitator of all.’

 

Richarlequin
John Rich as Harlequin, c. 1720

 

How Pantomime Started

When did pantomime begin?

Pantomime as a type of theatre, is classified as Commedia dell’ Arte, a theatre genre originating in renaissance Italy. Beginning in the 16th Century in Venice, it was first popular amongst Royals and commoners. The audience enjoyed the improvisation, comedy, costume and performances in general. The audience participation, songs and music were other factors that saw this style of theatre grow in popularity. 

It was also the first time women were introduced to the stage. Traditional characters in the early pantomimes included young lovers, old men and servants, some of which still translates into the characters we see in some of our most loved pantomimes today. This style of theatre is said to have influenced Shakespeare in writing both ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ 

Pantomime could be best described as a type of musical comedy production designed for the family entertainment audience. Established in England and in some other English-speaking countries, especially during Christmas (nowadays, you could catch pantomime at Easter and in the summer). Outside the UK however, the word ‘pantomime’ is often understood to mean miming.

 

Where Does British Pantomime Originate From?

In the Middle Ages, at Christmas gatherings a traditional English folk play called  ‘Mummers Play’ was popular. It contained many of the archetypal elements of a pantomime such as stage fights, risqué humour, memorable creatures, gender role reversal, and the obligatory good defeating evil. 

In the first two decades of the 18th Century, two competing London theatres, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane presented productions that began seriously with classical stories that contained elements of opera and ballet and ended with a comic ‘night scene’. Tavern Bilkers, by John Weaver, the dancing master at Drury Lane, is cited as the first pantomime produced on the English stage. However, the production was not a success, Weaver waited until 1716 to produce his next one, The Loves of Mars and Venus – the same year he produced another on the subject of Perseus and Andromeda. Following this, pantomime was a regular at London’s Drury Lane.

 

Pantomime in the 1800s

By the 1800s, children were regularly going to the theatre around the Christmas and New Year holidays (and often at Easter) to watch the craziness of the harlequinade chase scene – the most exciting part of the ‘panto’ of the time, because it was fast-paced and included spectacular scenic magic as well as slapstick comedy, dancing and acrobatics.

Despite its visible decline by 1836, the pantomime still fought to stay alive. Two writers who helped to elevate the importance and popularity of the fairy-tale portion of the pantomime were James Planché and Henry James Byron. They emphasized puns and humorous word play, a tradition that continues in pantomime today.

 

Pantomimes in the UK

Today, pantomimes include songs, gags, slapstick comedy, dancing and special effects. It employs gender-crossing actors and combines topical humour with a story more or less based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folktale. Its biggest draw is as a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.

Pantomime has a long theatrical history in Western culture dating back to classical theatre. It developed partly from the 16th century commedia dell’arte tradition of Italy and other European and British stage traditions, such as 17th-century masques and music hall. An important part of the pantomime, until the late 19th century, was the harlequinade.

 

Why are Pantomimes at Christmas?

One of the reasons pantomime is so popular is due its universal appeal; traditionally a show for children, adults find themselves returning to the panto for nostalgic escapism, as well as to take their own children, or to enjoy with family members and friends. This is also part of the reason why they have become so popular at Christmas, seen as a Christmas tradition to enjoy each year and reunite with friends and family to celebrate the festival season. 

As pantomimes are generally enjoyed by children, it was back in the 1800s where it became popular for children to experience a panto at Christmas. Seen as a treat to particularly enjoy at Christmas, at the time pantomimes involved more acrobatic performances, and dramatic dancing, rather than the more established structure of pantomimes today. 

Additionally, in the Tudor period, a popular festival called The Feast of Fools, was celebrated. The feast included eating, drinking and role reversal, which is seen as one reason why Pantomimes are now traditionally performed at Christmas. 

Another reason is that the founder of the Harlequin character, a prominent figure in the growth of pantomime, was established by John Rich and later David Garrick (more here), who only limited his performances to Christmas time. 

 

Origins of Harlequinade in Pantomime

The name “Pantomime” was first introduced by John Rich in the 18th century. This painting, uncovered in 2015 is the only known likeness of John Rich. It has been fully restored and hangs in a museum in London. 

 

John Rich Pantomime
John Rich (1692–1761) was an important director and theatre manager in 18th-century London

 

John Rich, known as the father of pantomime was born in 1692 and managed the Lincoln’s Inn Theatre, where under the stage name Lun, he appeared as the colourful dressed, silent Harlequin performing magic tricks and dances; his performances also included gender reversal roles and humans dressing up and playing animals.

The Harlequinades popularity was growing, and in 1746, David Garrick’s adapted version of the Harlequin not only spoke but also used colours on his costume to convey his emotions. Another distinction to this Harlequin was that Garrick only limited his performances to Christmas time and thus began a new legacy.

After Rich had died in 1761, Garrick had said this about his legacy:

“When Lun appeared, with matchless art and whim, he gave the power of speech to every limb: Tho’ masked and mute, conveyed his quick intent, and told in frolic gesture what he meant.[2]

 

Steve Royle - Peter Pan (Smee)
Panto veteran Steve Royle – UK Productions Ltd Peter Pan (character Smee)

 

Pantomime Today

In popular culture, pantomime is still enjoyed by all generations every year, and often draws many celebrities for the signature ‘celebrity’ role. Namely, the likes of Christopher Biggins and Debbie McGee have received Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Great British Pantomime Awards. Additionally, the likes of Ian McKellen and Henry Winkler have also taken up pantomime roles. 

 

Where Does British Pantomime Originate From?

In the Middle Ages, at Christmas gatherings a traditional English folk play called  ‘Mummers Play’ was popular. It contained many of the archetypal elements of a pantomime such as stage fights, risqué humour, memorable creatures, gender role reversal, and the obligatory good defeating evil. 

In the first two decades of the 18th Century, two competing London theatres, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane presented productions that began seriously with classical stories that contained elements of opera and ballet and ended with a comic ‘night scene’. Tavern Bilkers, by John Weaver, the dancing master at Drury Lane, is cited as the first pantomime produced on the English stage. However, the production was not a success, Weaver waited until 1716 to produce his next one, The Loves of Mars and Venus – the same year he produced another on the subject of Perseus and Andromeda. Following this, pantomime was a regular at London’s Drury Lane.

Another contemporary pantomime tradition is the celebrity guest star, a practice that dates back to the late 19th century, when Augustus Harris, proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, hired well-known variety artists for his pantomimes.

Theatres use popular artists to promote their pantomime, and the script is often adapted to allow the star to showcase their talents (singing, acrobatics etc.), even when it has little relation.

Blackpool’s Grand Theatre has been presenting Pantomime for an incredible number of years. Stars have included Barney Harwood, Jennifer Ellison, JJ Hamblett, Wayne Sleep, Su Pollard, Tom Lister, Danny Miller and Vicky Entwistle.

This year’s Blackpool Grand Theatre pantomime is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. 

 

 

Blackpool Grand set out a COVID-Community Communication Programme (CCCP) during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our aims were simple, to CONNECTCOMFORT and UPLIFT. We would Connect people by offering tutorials on communication tools like Zoom and conduct community face-to-face meetings (book readings, youth groups and more). Comfort through stories of heritage, memories and storytelling, and to Uplift visitors’ spirits through laughter and exercise. Please do enjoy and if you can afford to donate please do. 

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing.

 

For any concerns and latest advice around COVID-19, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The post A Complete Guide to Pantomime appeared first on Blackpool Grand Theatre.

This week Left Coast, directed by Carol Salter, is being made available for viewing free of charge for 24 hours ahead of its national release.

Available from Wednesday 20 May (21:00) the film, released by Uncertain Kingdom, is part of a collection of twenty short films, from twenty visionary filmmakers, offering a unique portrait of our nation today.

 

Carol Salter LEFT COAST
Carol Salter’s LEFT COAST

 

Available on The British Film Institute’s Facebook page the short 14 minute film features Fylde Coast towns, as dedicated volunteers hand out kindness and food to help those left behind. You can even set a reminder to watch it.

The seeds for the film began with a commission which was part of LeftCoast’s Real Estate: Micro Residency project. A short residency within the communities we work with to experiment and explore ideas which fitted with themes around our wider programme.

Carol went on to gain a commission with The Uncertain Kingdom to see the project through to completion.

The ground-breaking anthology of twenty short films from twenty directors will be released in the UK & Ireland streaming on demand on 1 June 2020.

 

Carol Salter LEFT COAST
Carol Salter’s LEFT COAST

 

Available on BFI Player (30-day free trial) programmed in two feature-length volumes, which will also be available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon & Curzon Home Cinema. In addition, The British Council will release the films internationally allowing their partners to view the films simultaneous to the UK release.

 

About LeftCoast

LeftCoast is a programme of arts and cultural activity in Blackpool and Wyre on the Fylde Coast.  It is an independent organisation supported by a consortium of partners including Blackpool Coastal Housing, Blackpool Council, Wyre Council, The Grand Theatre who comprise the steering group together with a number of community representatives. It is funded through the Arts Council’s Creative People and Places Programme and the National Lottery Community Fund.

For more information about LeftCoast go online to www.leftcoast.org.uk, you can also like LeftCoast on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

 

Blackpool Grand

Take a look at what’s on at Blackpool Grand Theatre this Autumn / Winter 20/21

 

Blackpool Grand set out a COVID-Community Communication Programme (CCCP) during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our aims were simple, to CONNECTCOMFORT and UPLIFT. We would Connect people by offering tutorials on communication tools like Zoom and conduct community face-to-face meetings (book readings, youth groups and more). Comfort through stories of heritage, memories and storytelling, and to Uplift visitors spirits through laughter and exercise. Please do enjoy and if you can afford to donate please do.

 

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice around COVID-19, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The post Carol Salter Left Coast Free-Play Available appeared first on Blackpool Grand Theatre.

The Arts hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Blackpool Grand Theatre, like many arts organisations across the world, has been busy moving hundreds of touring shows into a new Autumn/Winter 2020 season.

Over the past few weeks while working from home, caring for our children, families, and staying indoors has become the normal, Blackpool Grand has been moving a whole season of shows and helping thousands of its customers amend their bookings.

 

Arts hit by Coronavirus - Ruth Eastwood Grand CEO
The Arts hit by Coronavirus – Ruth Eastwood Grand CEO

 

Planning for the future, Ruth Eastwood CEO said ‘Firstly, I want to thank the thousands of customers for their patience and understanding at this challenging time. Our small team (just five of us) has been moving, refunding and crediting customers over the past few weeks, as quickly as humanly possible, no mean-feat I must tell you.

At the same time, I’ve been moving many of the shows we had planned for Spring/Summer into Autumn/Winter. The programme is packed with a wide selection from music and drama, to comedy and dance.

‘I’m delighted to have only had to cancel a few shows.  Most have moved to new dates, so you can still enjoy much of the great line up planned for earlier in the year.  I’m very much looking forward to welcoming you all back from September.’

 

The Autumn Winter programme includes;

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

 

Drama…

at Blackpool Grand includes Father Brown – The Murder In The Mirror (15-19 Sep) and for 2021; Helen Forrester’s By The Waters Of Liverpool (26 Apr 2021), Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em (11-15 May 2021), and soon a re-scheduled date for The Cat and Canary (Mar 2021).

 

Comedy…

is a highlight with the likes of UK Drag Race stars Baga Chipz, Divina De Campo and Blu Hydrangea, headlining in Sleeping ‘with’ Beauty – The Adult Pantomime (6 Sept). Television legends Jon Richardson (13 Sep), Frank Skinner (15 Oct), Alan Carr (20 Nov), Ed Byrne (11 Jan 2021), Jason Manford (28 Feb 2021), and Julian Clary (10 Apr 2021).

 

The Ballroom Boys

 

Dance…

the Ballroom Boys double-act Ian Waite and Vincent Simone promise another wonderful evening of old-fashioned variety – dance, comedy and song! (20 Oct), for 2021 don’t miss; Breakin’ Convention 2021 the Hip Hop festival (22 May 2021), and soon to be announced the Russian State Ballet of Siberia will return in January 2021.

 

Classical…

Blackpool Symphony Orchestra (20 Sep), and Grand Christmas Concert (14 Dec).

 

 

Family Fun…

Tiger Who Came To tea (22-23 Sep), Dragons and Mythical Beasts (24 and 25 Nov), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (4 Dec to 3 Jan 2021), and announced soon PJ Masks (9-11 Jul 2021).

 

For One Night Only…

Olivier award-winning Showstoppers! (5 Sep), Craig Revel Horwood (11 Sep), Anything For Love (12 Sep), Sunday Night At The Grand (27 Sep), Tim Vine Plastic Elvis (16 Oct), Beyond The Barricade (4 Oct), Marty Wilde Dreamboats and Petticoats (18 Oct), The Greatest Love of All (22 Oct), Maximum R’n’B (24 Oct), That’ll Be The Day (2 Nov), The Rolling Stones Storey (7 Nov), 80s Live (22 Nov), Lost In Music (21 Jan 2021), Steve Steinman’s Love Hurts (23 Jan 2021), Red Hot Chilli Pipers (18 Apr 2021). Soon to be announced; Elkie Brookes (15 Jan 2021), Fascinating Aida (16 Jan 2021), Magic Of Motown (9 Apr 2021)

 

Musicals…

Bring It On! The Musical (6-10 Oct), Kinky Boots (Wed 31 Mar – Sat 3 Apr), Boogie Nights (2-6 Jun 2021).

 

The Arts hit by Coronavirus cannot be underestimated

Blackpool’s Grand, more than ever, will need your help to survive the COVID-19 closure and continue to offer shows and workshops in the heart of the local community.

Ruth went on to say “Although we are incredibly grateful for the public funding we receive, it represents less than 7% of the income we require to operate.  We earn our income through the tickets that you buy.  This funds our work both on and off stage, providing an incredible resource for schools and community groups. As a registered charity, the loss of all income from ticket sales, ancillary sales (bars, programmes etc.), hires and other activities represents a significant and real financial risk to this organisation”.

“Blackpool Grand Theatre has been at the heart of the community since it reopened in 1981 and last year celebrated 125 glorious years.  We plan to re-open as soon, and as safely, as possible and hope, together, we can get through this – ‘The Curtain Will Rise’.

 

3 Ways How You Can Help

There’s three active ways to help support Blackpool Grand at present:

  1. Donate to the new  ‘Recovery Fund’ at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/donate
  2. Go online at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk and purchase tickets for future shows
  3. Become a member of the 1894 Club www.1894club.co.uk.

 

Blackpool Grand

Take a look at what’s on at Blackpool Grand Theatre this Autumn / Winter 20/21

 

Blackpool Grand set out a COVID-Community Communication Programme (CCCP) during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our aims were simple, to CONNECTCOMFORT and UPLIFT. We would Connect people by offering tutorials on communication tools like Zoom and conduct community face-to-face meetings (book readings, youth groups and more). Comfort through stories of heritage, memories and storytelling, and to Uplift visitors spirits through laughter and exercise. Please do enjoy and if you can afford to donate please do.

 

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice around COVID-19, visit the World Health Organisation. If you’re in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The post Arts Hit By Coronavirus – Grand Launches Autumn Winter 2021 Season appeared first on Blackpool Grand Theatre.

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August, 2015

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