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£1m plan to revive Blackpool’s North Pier Theatre revealed

North Pier Theatre in Blackpool. Photo: TruckinTim/Flickr
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Live variety entertainment is to take centre stage in a £1 million plan to revive the fortunes of Blackpool’s historic North Pier Theatre.

Blackpool-based HRH Entertainments and the pier’s owner, Peter Sedgewick, have announced plans to present a 20-week variety season in 2015 with the promise of “massive names” to lure audiences back to the 1,400-seat venue.

The announcement follows recent growth in audience figures for ad hoc shows on the 151-year-old pier still recovering from severe damage during last winter’s storms.

HRH owner Tony Jo, a four-decades Blackpool veteran as both performer and producer, told The Stage: “The pier is in a state of extreme disrepair but bit by bit we’re putting it back together. We’re very positive we can get it back on its feet.”

He added: “I want to put a show on every night and most afternoons if I can, with something for everyone: a variety mix. Blackpool isn’t for modern dance, Shakespeare and opera; it’s for variety.”

He said the line-up would include contemporary comedy names on Mondays – such as Lee Mack, John Bishop and Michael McIntyre, with Tuesdays featuring a production using local talent. Wednesdays will feature Mick Miller and other “old-school” comics, with Thursdays including Abba tribute Dancing Queen.

Already booked for a summer season residency next year is singer Joe Longthorne, who will perform two different shows on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with Fridays ear-marked for “big names” according to Jo.

“It’s not a one-season job; we’re here for the foreseeable; as long as people come down the pier to see the shows, we’ll be there,” he added.

First performances are scheduled for Easter next year with the season running until November.

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