RY SA ER IV N AN
Summer 2018. Free Issue 2
E! SU IS
WINTER GARDENS BLACKPOOL CELEBRATING 140 YEARS 1878 - 2018
WINTER GARDENS BLACKPOOL
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME THIS CHRISTMAS! STARRING
KELVIN FLETCHER as the Tin Man
HOLLY TANDY as Dorothy
With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg Background Music by Herbert Stothart
Dance and Vocal Arrangements by Peter Howard
Orchestration by Larry Wilcox
Adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Based upon the Classic Motion Picture owned byTurner Entertainment Co. and distributed in all media by Warner Bros.
WINTER GARDENS BLACKPOOL * 0844 calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge
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Welcome to Issue 2018 marks 140 sparkling years of the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. In the years since it has opened, the venue has become a landmark for the town, a mecca for showbusiness, the centre for the Ballroom dancing world and a political conference stalwart. Throughout this year there will be many special events to coincide with our anniversary so keep your eyes peeled. This special Anniversary issue of Encore! will take a glimpse into to the history of the Winter Gardens, in our Feature section with timeline, taking readers on a whistle-stop tour through some of the highlights of the building’s wonderful life. Hidden Spaces reveals the restoration and unveiling of the friezes that adorn the vaulted ceiling of the Empress Ballroom, a daunting task undertaken with gusto by the plasterwork experts Hayles and Howe. With the race on to complete the work before this year’s prestigious Dance Festival in May, work began in earnest and has resulted in work that will be good for another 120 years. Flashback, takes a look at perhaps one of the venues most famous visitors, Frank Sinatra. Visiting
the venue twice in his career, we take a look back at Ol’ Blue Eyes’ two visits to the resort in 1950 & 1953. The theatrical diary of the Opera House continues to be bursting at the seams for 2018 with some of the best touring West End musicals and shows gracing the stage. The breakout comedy hit, The Play That Goes Wrong bangs and crashes in to the theatre this summer and will be no doubt leave audiences in hysterics! Families will delight in the madcap antics of Alex, Melman, Marty and Gloria as they bound out of the zoo and onto the stage in the live spectacular Madagascar The Musical in September, and get a peek at the rehearsals for this feel-good musical in On Stage! As the nights begin to draw in during Autumn, the Winter Gradens welcomes the 40th Anniversary Tour of Saturday Night Fever, so enjoy the lookback where we chart the history and influence of this ode to disco! So have a flick through the pages, get closer to the action than ever before and hopefully you'll discover a few things about the Winter Gardens that you never knew! Here's to the next 140 years!
Summer’s Top Picks:
The Play That Goes Wrong
Rip It Up: The 60's
Friday 27 & Saturday 28 April 2018
Thursday 27 September 2018
Billy Ocean Friday 9 November 2018
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AND A HUGE AMOUNT OF FUN Digital Spy
MON 30 SEP - SAT 12 OCT 2019
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Issue Two Contents
Filled with outlandish characters, adventure galore and an upbeat score, Madagascar. will leave audiences with no choice but to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Move It, Move It!â&#x20AC;?
Encore takes you above the hoardings as work takes place to restore the Empress Ballroom freizes to their original splendour.
Noel Fitzpatrick, The Supervet, is delighted to be bringing his first ever live stage show Welcome to My World.
As we celebrate our 140th Birthday, Encore takes a look back at some of the milestones in the illustrious history of the Winter Gardens Blackpool.
Behind The Scenes Sat 13 October 2018 National favourite, Joanna Lumley embarks on her first ever solo tour across the UK in 2018, and brings her famous style, wit and humour to the Opera House stage this Autumn.
A mainstay of the Winter Gardens packed programme is the famous, and often outrageous, Rebellion Punk Festival. Encore goes behind the scenes of this special event.
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Move It! Move It!
Welcome To Madagscar The cast of Madagscar rehearse their showstopping production number.
Set & Costume Designer Tom Rogers is a man who likes to move it move it when it comes to creating spectacular concepts for musical theatre. He also happens to be a huge lover of wild animals and tropical locations. So for Tom, the complex challenge of dressing a hippo, lion, zebra, giraffe, four penguins, one monkey, five lemurs, two baddie wild cats, and a host of civilians - on a journey from a zoo in New York City to being shipwrecked in Madagascar - was a no-brainer. “Going from designing 18th century English villages to creating a hippo costume and an impressive jungle is really fun,” he said. “It’s a complicated show, and we’re pushing all the boundaries to make it as visually exciting as possible, with all the sheen of a full scale West End musical.” But where to start with such a mammoth task? “First I worked with the Director to create the world, which already had the starting point of an animated film,” he explained. “People are so fond of the movie we must honour that, but we’ve put a bit of a theatrical twist on it. The story has multiple locations and we didn’t want to just plonk things on stage. So we came up with what we hope is a clever concept to achieve maximum impact within sometimes minimal stages on tour – almost like a pop-up storybook. The set is designed so that everything can live on stage but concealed, as sometimes we may not have big wing spaces to play with. “One of the biggest hurdles is that the tour was booked before the design, so it had to be modular and flexible - suitable Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
for the biggest venue and the smallest without losing anything. It has to be taken up and down in limited time in multiple venues but still look amazing without becoming tatty and tired, so that every audience sees it at its absolute best.” The next step was for Tom to build a 1:25 ratio model to show the creative team, before sending it to the set builders. The result is an elaborate but practical set that takes a two-day build. And four lorries to transport. Not least because the costumes are also elaborate, some with full animal heads. “You can’t pack those in suitcases,” said Tom. This is where Costume Maker Robert Allsop comes in. With a variety of outstanding credits, including Dr Who, Gladiator, The Lion King and Disneyland Paris, Tom describes him as “the industry’s go-to man for animal costumes. Anything you’ve seen, it’s probably Rob,” he said. “We need be able to relate to the four principal characters, they have to show the range of emotions – and they also have to sing – so Rob has created costumes with a human face, using make-up and prosthetics. Then there are civilians who inter-
act with the animals. We have a second team of costume makers to make sure characters such as the old lady, glamorous reporter and zookeepers are as fun and exciting as the animals rather than just secondary characters.” Even more exciting is that one of the principals, the giraffe, has a puppeteer head, and the smaller animals are sophisticated puppets with mechanical movements, created by Max Humphries, Puppet Designer for Dinosaur World Live. “They are neither robotic or ‘soft-toy’ fluffy,” said Tom. “In the costumes we really wanted to avoid the mascot look and therefore with the puppets do the same - create believable animated creatures, that were clear representations of the film characters, with mechanical eyes that can move and roll, and beaks that open, making them just as strong characters as everyone else. The great thing is that they’re all made to scale, so the animals are all in correct size relation to each other. There’s a mix too, as King Lemur is played by a human, to the same scale as the puppet lemurs, which has been a great challenge!” Tom is also responsible for props: “I do everything visual except for lighting, which helps make a stronger, more co-
hesive stage world with the same vibe.” Preparations began in January, so this has been a quick turnaround for what is the first West End style musical production of Madagascar, with Tom’s set, costume, puppet and props budget alone topping around £150k. With 16 years of experience, and a strong repertoire in opera and musical theatre, Tom has an eclectic range of credits under his belt, from Carmen to The Witches of Eastwick to Robbie Williams’ ‘Swings Both Ways’ tour, and he is currently Costume Designer for the live semi-finals and finals of Britain’s Got Talent. “It’s been quite an intense period,” he admitted, “but I’m hoping we’ve achieved something really special through stage magic - and a lot of blood, sweat and tears!” What is Tom’s favourite bit about the set? “That it’s so lavish. The best part is the set change in Act 2. It happens on stage, live before your eyes, and we keep adding on until it’s totally over the top - exotic, exuberant and tropically floriferous! – and the set is spring-loaded, so unexpected things will happen.” Can he give us a sneak preview? “Well, without giving too much away, the whole set is basically built out of crates, we used the famous scene where the animals are shipped to Madagascar as the overall concept. The exciting thing is what pops out of these crates to create all the different locations”
Madagascar The Musical comes to the Winter Gardens Blackpool from 11 - 15 Sept. Tickets from £10.00
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Stayin' Alive After 40 years of success 70's disco hit Saturday Night Fever is still strutting its stuff. Ever since the opening scene of the cult movie, where Tony Manero struts along the streets of Brooklyn to one of the Bee Gees’ best known hits, four decades of disco lovers have been throwing Saturday Night Fever shapes in his honour. Most of us have mimicked John Travolta’s dance moves to Stayin’ Alive at some point – and long may it continue. For there is nothing so uplifting as that surge of energy inspired by some good old disco dancing under a giant glitter ball. It’s no wonder the Bee Gees’ Grammy-award winning soundtrack to the 1977 movie remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. And it’s not just the music that’s kept fans transfixed over the years. The iconic white polyester flared trouser suit Travolta danced in, chosen by Costume Designer Patrizia Von Brandenstein, who bought the suit from an ordinary shop Brooklyn on a trip with director John Badham and Travolta, will never lose its star quality. It was supposed to be black, but Von
Brandenstein felt that as well as photographing well under the disco lights, white would reflect Tony Manero’s transformation from ignorance to enlightenment, explaining: “Heroes from Sir Lancelot to Tom Mix wore white in the great contests to express purity and single-minded devotion to the task at hand. So for me, white was the only choice for the suit." She bought spares but only one was signed by the man himself, and this was sold for charity in 1979 to US film critic Gene Siskel. The inscription said: ‘To Gene, so here’s to a classic, your friend, John Travolta.’ After Siskel passed away it was auctioned for $145,500 by Christie’s in 1995 to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous, but allowed it to be featured in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 2012 exhibition, Hollywood Costume. The white suit and all it represented became legendary. Not bad for an off the rack suit from a run of the mill Brooklyn store. Then there’s the New York City house that Tony and his parents lived in, which The New York Times reported sold for $975,000 in 2005, saying: “A diverse group of people have come to
look at the house where the current owners, in spite of major renovations, have left the dining room the same as it was in the movie.” As for John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever made him a mega movie star and won him an Oscar nomination. Made for just $3.5 million, the musical grossed $285m worldwide and has been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress, which claims to be the largest library in the world. The film was based on a New York Magazine article by Nick Cohn called "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", and the subsequent screenplay by Norman Wexler in 1977. The resulting movie told the story of Tony Manero, who escapes his mundane life and neighbourhood tensions by dancing and pursuing love with Stephanie Mangano at the local disco. Although Cohn later confessed that his article was fictional, and his main character (Vincent) was made up and based on a London mod. Still, he said, the attitudes were real… and attitude is everything. Which is why Saturday Night Fever is such a phenomenal success four
decades on, and has even inspired scientists to cite its legendary dance moves as the kind most likely to turn a woman’s head. According to a 2008 article by Richard Gray, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, research revealed that “highly-co-ordinated and complex dance moves, such as the point-and-shake moves employed by Travolta's character Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, were deemed the most attractive.” Dr Peter Lovatt, a psychologist of performance at Hertfordshire University, said that dancing in nightclubs was the modern human equivalent of courtship displays used by birds and other animals: "Dancing style very much reflects what is going on inside a person's head. If they are self-conscious, that will be reflected in the way they dance. For men in nightclubs, if they are doing big controlled movements, they are giving off a sense of strength and control. That sends the message they are feeling good about themselves.” As do the lyrics “Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk I'm a woman's man, no time to talk”. Further proof that attitude rules, and Saturday Night Fever has it by the bucket load. The first stage version of the musical won three Tony awards after its opening at the London Palladium in 1998, before moving on to Broadway two years later. Now, 20 years after its original debut, the show begins a UK tour, and it’s arriving at the Opera House on 30th October. Get ready to feel Blackpool breakin' and everybody shakin'…
Saturday Night Fever The Musical comes to the Winter Gardens Blackpool from 30 October to 3 November. Tickets from £20.50
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THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG... • has appeared in 30 countries, so far. It’s a significant hit in France (2 years run, so far), Hungary (predicted 10 year run), New York (currently Broadway’s longest-running play), Australia (six month tour), Turkey (Best New Comedy Award), Israel (still running after a year), Holland (still running after nine months) and South Africa (running simultaneously in English and Afrikaans) • has been sold to 37 countries • has been performed on every continent on Earth, except Antarctica (where the producers fear a frosty reception) • appeared on the Royal Variety Performance and featured cameo appearances from Kylie Minogue, Josh Groban and Jack Whitehall • has played more than a year on Broadway. And to more than half a million people • is to tour the entire United States for a year, starting in September 2018, featuring alongside Hamilton in a subscription season • The highest grossing musical on Broadway in 2017 was Hamilton The highest grossing play in the same period was The Play That Goes Wrong
‘BRILLIANT! JUST BRILLIANT!
HAVEN’T LAUGHED SO MUCH FOR AAAAAGES! IF YOU CAN GET A TICKET GO!’
‘WE LAUGHED UNTIL THE TEARS RAN DOWN OUR FACES.
IT HAS TO BE SEEN!’ JOANNA LUMLEY
ANT & DEC
‘TO BE HONEST? MEDIOCRE.
‘BEST THING WE’VE EVER SEEN’
BUT I PROMISED MY UNCLE BEFORE HIS DEATH THAT I’D INVEST IN A PLAY. WHY NOT THIS? DESPITE BETTER JUDGEMENT, I LOVE YOU ALL JJ ABRAMS
‘YOU NEED TO REHEARSE IF YOU EVER WANT PEOPLE TO SEE IT!!! OH MY GOD!!! WHAT HAPPENED??
I HOPE YOUR PARENTS HAVEN’T SEEN THIS’ WILL FERRELL
‘PURE COMEDY MAGIC’
DAME BARBARA WINDSOR
WG140 As we celebrate our 140th Birthday, Encore takes a look back at some of the milestones in our history.
The Winter Gardens cost £100,000 when constructed in 1878. That’s over £10 million today!
1878 The Winter Gardens Blackpool opens. On the 11 July 1878, the Winter Gardens is formally opened by the Lord Mayor of London. The Winter Gardens boasts an exotic, glass roofed Floral Hall for promenading, Indoor and outdoor skating rinks and the Pavilion Hall for special events. Contractors Thomas Mitchell were tasked with the construction which at that point had been one of the largest projects that Blackpool had seen.
Opera House is completed. In 1888, plans for the first Opera House were being prepared by Frank Matcham, the famous theatre architect. The contract was let on 19th October 1888 and the 2,500 seat “Her Majesty’s Opera House”, costing £9,098, opened with Gilbert & Sullivan’s new opera “Yeomen of the Guard” on 10 June 1889. In November 1910, the Opera House closed for rebuilding. Its larger replacement, by architects Mangnall & Littlewood, was formally opened in August 1911. The opportunity was also taken to rebuild the Church Street façade of the Winter Gardens. It was clad in white faience in a Renaissance style.
1896 Big Wheel built.
1896 saw the erection of a 220ft. Gigantic Wheel with 30 carriages, each carrying 30 people, on the site of a bowling green and garden area in front of the Pavilion Horseshoe.
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Empress Ballroom A Whistle-Stop History of the first 40 years.
Empress Ballroom & Indian Lounge Built. The Empress Ballroom, built by architects Mangnall & Littlewood, with plasterwork by J. M. Boekbinder, with a floor area of 12,500 sq. ft., made it one of the largest ballrooms in the world.
U.K. Government requisitions the Empress Ballroom for the War Effort.
1896 Neatby Tiles
The Doulton tiled panels which were designed in 1896 by W.J. Neatby for the foyer of the Empress Ballroom. There were originally 28 of these panels, all of different design and each of them displaying a very exotic, life-size, art nouveau lady. Forgotten about for many decades, these historic friezes were ‘re-discovered’’ during structural works and surveys undertaken by Blackpool Council in the 2010’s.
Early in 1918, the Admiralty had requisitioned the Empress Ballroom to assemble gas envelopes for the R.33 airship.The building was handed back a year later and some restoration was undertaken.
The Blackpool Dance Festival is incorporated for the first time. The first Blackpool Dance Festival was held during Easter week in 1920 in the magnificent Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens.
U.K. Government again requisitions the Empress Ballroom during the Second World War. During the Second World War, the Winter Gardens was used for RAF training purposes by day and for entertainment in the evenings.
1930 The Olympia Opens. Following the purchase of the Winter Gardens by the Tower Company in 1928, the Big Wheel was almost immediately dismantled. Construction of the Olympia exhibition hall began, taking less than 8 months to complete. When it opened in June 1930, its interior comprised of stalls and attractions themed by Andrew Mazzei in the form of a Moorish village.
BLACKPOOL OPERA HOUSE ROLL OF HONOUR: 1918 - 2016
Andrew Mazzei: Designer Extraordinaire
The Opera House has welcomed some of the world's most iconic stars of Stage and Screen. What you might notice however, is that some of the most famous names, like Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra (Read more about his visit in our Flashback section) are missing that is because until the millennium, the Roll Of Honour was exclusively for UK-born performers!
1918 THOMAS BEECHAM
1944 SID FIELD
1999 RUSS ABBOTT
1919 ROBERTSON HARE
1945 JIMMY JEWEL & BEN
2000 LESLEY JOSEPH
DANNY LA RUE
2001 LORD OF THE DANCE
1946 JOSEF LOCKE
2002 WHISTLE DOWN
1947 DAVE MORRIS
1922 MRS P. CAMPBELL
1948 CHARLIE CHESTER
1976 DON MACLEAN
1923 BRANSBY WILLIAMS
1949 ARTHUR HAYNES
1924 EDNA BEST
1950 NAT JACKLEY
1978 TOM O’CONNOR
2005 DAVID ESSEX
1925 RAYMOND HUNTLEY
1979 FRANK CARSON
2006 BRADLEY WALSH
1926 JESSIE MATTHEWS
1980 MIKE YARWOOD
2007 ROY ‘CHUBBY’ BROWN
1927 EVELYN LAYE
1953 HARRY SECOMBE
1928 WILFRED HYDE-WHITE
1954 TONY HANCOCK
1982 LITTLE & LARGE
1929 PEGGY ASHCROFT
1955 ALMA COGAN
1983 PAUL DANIELS
1930 JOHN BARBIROLLI
1956 EVE BOSWELL
1984 RUTH MADOC
2010 PETER ANDRE
1931 GRACIE FIELDS
1985 CANNON & BALL
1932 CARL BRISSON
1958 DAVID WHITFIELD
1986 GRACE KENNEDY
1933 GEORGE CLARKE
1959 JILL DAY
1987 THE NOLANS
1934 BILLY BENNETT
1960 TOMMY STEELE
1988 LES DAWSON
2013 BOB DYLAN
1935 ALBERT BURDON
1989 MARTI WEBB
2014 MAMMA MIA!
1936 RANDOLPH SUTTON
1962 EDDIE CALVERT
2015 A CHRISTMAS
1937 FRED SANBORN
1963 JIMMY EDWARDS
1938 STANLEY HOLLOWAY
1964 ROSEMARY SQUIRES
1992 PAUL NICHOLAS
1939 GEORGE FORMBY
1965 STAN STENNETT
1993 JOE LONGTHORNE
1940 ARTHUR ASKEY
1966 THE BLUEBELL GIRLS
1994 MICHAEL BARRYMORE
1941 FRANK RANDLE
1967 BRUCE FORSYTH
1995 ALED JONES
1920 PHYLISS NEILSON-TERRY 1921 FRANK FORBESROBERTSON
1942 WEBSTER BOOTH & ANNE 1968 TESSIE O’SHEA ZIEGLER 1943 WILFRED PICKLES
THE WIND 2003 CATS 2004 JOE LONGTHORNE
2008 JANE McDONALD 2009 ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE
CAROL 2016 STEVE TOVEY
1996 DARREN DAY
1969 VAL DOONICAN
1997 KID CREOLE
1970 THE BACHELORS
1998 DARREN DAY
Andrew Mazzei was born in Havre, France on the 2 August 1887, a wellknown film and set designer who worked on numerous films. Originally commissioned by the Winter Gardens to design the interior of the new Olympia in the form of a Moorish Village in 1930, Mazzei remained closely associated with the venue, masterminding the designs of the Spanish Hall, with its friezes redolent of Andalusian villages. Adjoining this, and replacing the Victoria Hall on the first floor of the original building, Mazzei created the Baronial Hall. It survives to this day, practically unchanged, with period 'heavy oak panelling', in reality skilled plasterwork, looking like something from a period Hollywood film. His stunning works can be seen today in their full glory including panelling in the Mazzei Café, named in his honour that had remained hidden until recent restorations revealed the ornate panels in 2011.
The Winter Gardens is the only complex in the world to have TWO Wurlitzer organs, with the first installed in 1935. Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
Third Opera House Opens. An Art Deco Masterpiece.
Following a significant refit in 1911, in October 1938 the old Opera House was demolished and the third and current Opera House replaced its predecessor in 1939, with a classic Art Deco design. The theatre erected in its place boasted 3,000 seats, possessed the biggest stage in the country, it was designed in a modernist style with a sweepingly curved proscenium, with the intention of doubling as a super cinema. Its elegant foyers, wood-panelled lounges and bars completed the effect. Derhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s successor, Charles McKeith was the architect. The Opera House was opened on 14th July 1939 by Jessie Matthews and her husband Sonnie Hale, being followed by the revue Turned out Nice Again with George Formby. Over the years the Opera House would welcome some of the biggest names in Showbusiness, beloved musicals and, of course, Blackpool's very own Summer Season spectaculars!
Winston Churchill visits Blackpool. October 1954 saw the 74th annual Conservative Party Conference take place at the Winter Gardens Blackpool, the event climaxed in a closing speech by then Prime Minster Sir Winston Churchill whose was made a freeman of the borough in 1946.
1955 Royal Variety Performance On 13th April 1955 a Royal Variety Performance, the first outside London, was given for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. A period-style Royal box was constructed for the occasion. It remained for many years, detracting from the modernist lines of the auditorium.
The notorious events which unfolded, led to Blackpool Council imposing a ban on Jagger and the boys performing in the town – a ban which was only lifted in 2008. The concert ended in a riot – some of the 7,000 strong crowd stormed the stage, after guitarist Keith Richards was involved in an altercation with an audience member at the front of the stage. According to witnesses, the violence erupted because the crowd had been spitting at the band.
As Blackpool enjoyed upwards of 10 million visitors every year, the Opera House, along with theatrical producers, George and Alfred Black’s lavish summer shows, with the top stars of the day including Ken Dood,, the Opera House attracted large audiences throughout the 1950s. Harold Fielding’s Sunday evening concerts brought many of the most popular American actors & entertainers, including Sammy Davis Jr, Count Basie and his orchestra and Lena Horne, to Blackpool.
The Rolling Stones cause a riot in Blackpool!
The Stardust Lounge Cabaret & Dining in the 1970’s In 1970, to reduce over-capacity in the Empress Ballroom, its size was effectively reduced by temporary carpeting, seating and much white trellis work. It was renamed The Stardust Garden and was intended to function as a nightclub. It lasted four years. By this time, however, the unique architectural heritage afforded by the complex was being realised and in 1973 the Winter Gardens received a Grade Two Star listing.
British Politics and The Winter Gardens. Starting after the Second World War, and continuing up until the early 2000's the Winter Gardens was the venue chosen to host annual political conferences many featuring talks and keynotes from future Prime Ministers, Cabinet Members and notable politicians. 1954
Sir Winston Churchill Addresses the Conservative Party Conference.
A 16-year-old William Hague introduces himself to the party with a now legendary speech in the Empress Ballroom in front of Margaret Thatcher.
Blackpool was the first resort to host the Conservative Party Conference after the bombing of Brightonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conference centre by the IRA. it was the first conference with the levels of security we're used to today.
Labour scrap Clause IV, thus repositioning itself as the "New" Labour of Tony Blair's ambition, the conference of 1995 proved a seminal moment in the party's electoral fate.
Tony Blair welcomes former US President Bill Clinton to Blackpool to make a key note speech to the party.
David Cameron makes a now famous speech which later leads to his appointment as leader of the Conservative Party.
A PRESIDENTIAL GUEST During the 2002 Labour Party Conference, then Prime Minister Tony Blair was accompanied by Former US President Bill Clinton, who later addressed the audience in the Empress Ballroom before surprising staff at a local fast food restaurant arriving unannounced in the early hours.
2010 The Winter Gardens Blackpool comes into public ownership. In
pool Council purchased both the Winter Gardens and Blackpool Tower from Trevor Hemmingsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Crown Leisure Company, bringing the building into public ownership for the first time in its history. An ambitious restoration project begins in earnest to restore the most at risk areas of thie complex.
A Bold New Vision An artists impression of how the new Conference Centre will look when completed.
Blackpool Conference Centre Opens Spring 2019 THE ULTIMATE FEEL GOOD SHOW IS COMING TO BLACKPOOL!
MAMMA MIA! BENNY ANDERSSON & BJĂ&#x2013;RN ULVAEUSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;
SUM M SEAS ER O 2014 N
Mamma Mia Here We Go Again! Summer Season 2014 Blackpool's traditional Summer Season show returned to the Winter Gardens in 2014 with blockbuster musical, Mamma Mia! Part of a co-ordinated campaign across the resort, Blackpool experienced a bumper 2014 season, and showcased Blackpool as an international theatrical destination.
The Blackpool Conference and Exhibition Centre will be a brand-new, purpose-built events venue. It is the first major building development to happen on the Winter Gardens complex since the construction of the Opera House in 1939. The venue will feature state of the art amenities necessary for hosting modern conferences and exhibitions, including the latest audio and visual technology. The Blackpool Conference and Exhibition Centre is one of the largest venues of its kind in the north of England. It is split over two floors, with an exhibition space on first floor and a conference space with a capacity of 2000 on the second floor. With a total 6000 square feet of dedicated space, the venue can easily host large events. It is also possible to utilise the space in conjunction with the other venues throughout the Winter Gardens complex, giving a total event capacity of 7000. Elsewhere in the complex work continues to restore the most at risk parts of the building. In conjunction with Blackpool Council, the replacement of the Spanish Hall glass roof is underway with a projected completion in 20**, as well as an announcement to redevelop the Pavilion Theatre into a Creative Hub.
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Welcome My To World Following the huge success of his Channel 4 show, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, The Supervet, is delighted to be bringing his first ever live stage show Welcome to My World to Blackpool Opera House this October!
e d... Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
In just three years, the brilliant, magnetic vet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, has made 11 - that's right, 11! - series for Channel 4. That adds up to an eye-watering 70 hours of television. During that time, Noel and his expert team at Fitzpatrick Referrals have used their ground-breaking medical technology to save the lives of hundreds of animals previously thought to be beyond salvation. He has been an inspiration to millions right across the globe. Since Noel's show has been on air, applications to veterinary schools have gone through the roof. Not for nothing is he known as The Supervet. The terrific news is that now you can see The Supervet in the flesh and observe his miraculous work first-hand. Noel is embarking on his first-ever live tour - called "Welcome to My World" - and it is coming to an arena near you very soon. But you are advised to book your tickets for one of his 21 dates very soon as they are already flying off the shelves. Accompanied by a host of vivid songs and footage bringing his astonishing story to life, Noel takes audiences on a journey. He guides us from the moment in a remote field in Ireland forty years ago when he conceived the dream of becoming a vet to his current cutting-edge practice where the future of medicine is bursting with untold hope. Noel promises that the show will also feature, "An ocean of belly laughs, which people won't expect." The centrepiece of the "Welcome to My World" tour, which begins at Venue in Hull on 27 September, is a stunning "Bionic Bunker" which Noel
has had specially constructed for the show. Inside the bunker he intends to reveal, for the very first time, the secrets behind many of the inventions that have audiences riveted to his TV show. This will provide a deeply immersive experience, employing state of the art technology to project Noel into a virtual reality operating theatre where for the very first time we can explore the inspirations behind Noel’s medical miracles. In this way, he will be able to demonstrate his ground-breaking veterinary techniques to the audience. He will show how the pioneering work he has spearheaded with bionics and regeneration is suddenly making everything possible in medicine, sometimes in animals long before we can have that same treatment in humans. "Welcome to My World" will be an unforgettable night: a Supershow from The Supervet. The morning I meet Noel to discuss the show in a central London hotel, he has come straight from an allnight operation to save a very sick dog. Ever the innovator, he had utilised a titanium shell inspired by a beer barrel to replace the dog's femur bone for a hip replacement. Such an experience would total a lesser person, but he is fresh as a daisy. His energy is a wonder to behold. You will no doubt be delighted to learn that the Irishman is just as mesmerising off screen as he is on it. He possesses an infectious lust for life and can be summed up by all those adjectives beginning with C: charismatic, compelling, captivating, comic and charming. He is a riveting force of nature.
In addition, Noel boasts a winning sense of humour. At one point, for example, he reveals that, "There will be no real animals in the show unless my dog Keira makes an appearance. But that depends on her.” "It's currently open to discussion because her agent is very demanding. If we don't put her special fuzzy toy on the rider, there'll be no appearance from her. So there are a lot of negotiations going on right now." The Supervet goes on to laugh that "Welcome to My World" will also include some surprising revelations and photos from his little-known past. He will disclose, for instance, that he went to drama school and once played a vet in a popular TV series. He adds that, "Audiences will also see how I was beyond resplendent as a knitwear model wearing a very fine sweater to make the money to get me through school." Can't wait! "Welcome to My World" will open with Noel's first memories of wanting to become a vet. He recalls with great clarity the occasion when as an 11 year old boy he went out to check the sheep on the family farm at two in the morning. Noel, who grew up loving comic book superheroes and The Six Million Dollar Man, remembers how, despite his very best efforts, a newborn lamb died after he had rescued its mother from a drain. "He died in front of my eyes. There I was at the age of 11 watching life passing away.” "I was lying on the grass looking up at the brightest stars in heaven feeling useless, helpless, weak, nothingness, wishing I was more than a small speck in the universe. At that moment, I developed a very clear sense
Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
of what I was supposed to do with my life. And that was to make a real difference for all of the animals.” So Noel invented a superhero character in his head. "He became The Supervet, but back then he had the rather less impressive name of Vetman! He could solve all the problems of the animal world and sprinkle his magic bionic dust on everything to fix it. He’ll undoubtedly put in an appearance during the live show – which will be something to behold!” "That was 35 years before it actually happened. So the show is about being allowed to believe that one day maybe
your dream could also come true." After that in "Welcome to My World," Noel will be transported into his Bionic Bunker. The Supervet explains the point of it. "We are going to create the future of medicine in front of people. The audience will come with me into a medical time machine. We are going to show them the future before it happens.” "I'm beside myself with excitement about the Bionic Bunker because I will be the bloke in there having all the fun. I'm like a child with a crayon about to draw his first picture. Regardless of how cynical we adults have become,
I'm still an 11-year-old in my head!" Noel would like the audience at "Welcome to My World" to feel very much part of the action on stage. "I want to give people a front row seat inside my mind. In my head, they're all sitting beside me. If I could bring them all on stage, I would. I want to answer most of the questions I get asked by young and old alike.” Noel is also keen to emphasise that the show will catalogue some of the ups and downs faced when one is trying to change the medical world for the better forever. “It’s not all a bed of roses,” he says, “and you’ll get to see that up close and personal in a way
that I’ve never had the opportunity to explain before. It’s a deeply personal journey for me and for anyone who ever had a massive dream. It’s literally ‘welcome to my world’, in all of its joy, sadness and everything in between.” The ultimate aim of the show is for Noel to underline the vital bond humans have with animals. It will illuminate how pets are an integral part of any family and the challenges families will go to repay the unconditional love that animals share with them. Noel will explore the ethical dilemmas too in the show. He says “it’s not enough to be able to do something, it must be the right thing
to do!” In the show, Noel is hoping to emphasise the inspirational effect that animals can have on our lives. "When we come home and our dogs licks our face or our cat sits up on our knee and purrs, we know that unconditional love saves us from ourselves and from all the bad news on the television.” "In many lives, a pet represents a kind of love you don't get on the internet, on television or sometimes even in real life. All the power, all the money - nothing matters by comparison with love. The take-home message is that the love you feel for the animal in your
life makes you the very best version of yourself." Noel continues that "If you can translate the unconditional love that somebody feels for an animal into a tangible life force in a world that desperately needs light, then you've actually achieved something." The vet would also like to develop the idea that only positive emotions can emerge from a connection with animals. "How many times in your life can you go to a show where you know with absolute certainty that the person sitting to your left and your right is a good person? They wouldn't have bought a ticket if they weren't! If you wanted to build a community of compassion, you'd build it through animals." The Supervet closes by reflecting on what he hopes audiences will gain from coming to "Welcome to My World." "I'd like it to be an antidote to all the terrible things that are going on in the world. There's something in this show for you, whether you're eight or 80. I hope it'll make people laugh, as well as inspire and educate them.” "Above all, I hope people will have an amazing night and feel the warmth of the occasion. The most treasured moments are created when you feel most loved." Before he has to dash off to perform another life-saving operation, I ask Noel if he ever considered another title for the show. "Initially,' he reveals, "I wanted to call it 'Love, Hope and Redemption'. "But then I realised that sounded like the sort of song Jon Bon Jovi would have written if he ever went off the boil! Going off the boil is not for me. Let’s get this party started. Bring it on!"
Supervet: Welcome To My World comes to the Winter Gardens Blackpool on 14 Oct. Tickets from £35.00 Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
" YOU KNOW I COULD BE MAYOR
OF THIS TOWN!" “You know I could be mayor of this town!” said Ol’ Blue Eyes, when he made his first appearance in the resort back on 16th July, 1950. And such was the charisma of Frank Sinatra, he was probably right, judging by the welcome he received. The Blackpool Gazette scored a fantastic scoop by capturing the moment the world-famous singer left the Clifton Hotel in a chauffeur-driven Buick for the Opera House, mobbed by ecstatic fans. An interview with the driver, Frank Lucas, reported him as saying: “Frank Sinatra was a big hit in Blackpool. When he came here in 1950 his career was on a bit of a wane in the States. But when he got to Blackpool, and saw the crowds cheering, clapping, jumping up and down and banging on the windows he said ‘they love me this town don’t they?’ ‘Yes they do, sir,’ I said “‘I could become mayor,’ he said and I replied ‘yes you could!’” No wonder he received a £2,000 pay cheque for his 1950 show, with Ken Lane on piano, making him Blackpool’s highest paid performer at the time. Frank Sinatra made a big impression on the UK in 1950, also appearing at the London Palladium the same July, in a variety bill that included comedian Max Wall. Frank returned to Blackpool on 26th July 1953 for Live at Blackpool Opera House, with a set which was broadcasted at the Winter Gardens Access All Areas Open Day earlier this year.
In An Extraordinary Life, Spencer Leigh wrote: “Frank played two houses a night at the Blackpool Opera House. The three main theatres in Blackpool had the same management and their output was piped into an underground room where a technician would listen for faults and go to the appropriate theatre to correct them. A doctor from Leeds asked if he could lace a reel-to-reel tape recorder next to the speaker for Sinatra’s show and against all odds, he got a near perfect recording…” “So, unknown to Frank Sinatra, a concert at Opera House, Blackpool, was recorded, surfacing on CD much later. As well as performing 13 songs during his 50 minute appearance, Sinatra joked about the English weather (‘I got a parka made in Alaska and had it sent down here”), our passion for tea (‘Don’t you put anything in it?”) and the decline in his career (They didn’t put the hole in the middle of this record.’). Spencer Leigh added: “Sinatra was playful throughout the whole performance, announcing that his next record would be called ‘I’m Gonna Put a Bar in the Back of my Car and Drive Myself to Drink”… Of course he didn’t need to, because his career took a sensational upward turn following the release of the Academy award-winning movie, From Here to Eternity, just a month later in August 1953. Starring alongside Burt Lancaster, Deborah
Kerr, and Montgomery Clift, Frank won an Oscar for his role of a US army soldier stationed in Hawaii. Then his first album for Capitol Records, which included the legendary songs I Get a Kick Out of You and They Can’t Take That Away From Me was released in January 1954, whilst his famous duet with Doris Day – Young at Heart - won Song of the Year. Perhaps it was his visit to Blackpool and the Winter Gardens that brought him luck.
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In 2017, after faults were revealed in the treasured venue's vaulted ceiling, the race was on to restore the Ballroom's intricate panelled plasterwork in time for May's Dance Festival.
"ONCE THE WORK IS DONE, IT WILL BE GOOD FOR ANOTHER 120 YEARS."
Restoration work on the breathtaking Empress Ballroomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ceiling was completed just in time for the venueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prestigious, and fabulously glamourous Dance Festival. With 13 thousand visitors from 63 nations, the festival was the perfect occasion to unveil the elaborate, newly repaired, plasterwork. For the patterned gold and white panels, surrounded by glass chandeliers hanging resplendent from the barrelvaulted canopy, supported by ornate columns, have seen generations of dancers whirling beneath them over their 120-year life.
The ballroom was initially closed after plaster fell from the ceiling, until eight scaffolding pillars and a working floor could be erected for surveys; with protective measures put in place to allow events to continue whilst restoration work was carried out. The scaffolding meant this architectural masterpiece could be seen close up for what is thought to have been the first time since the early 1930s, when the structure was being updated in the art deco style of the day. Winter Gardens managing director Michael Williams said: "Being able to go up there and to physically touch that wonderful ceiling was amazing. For many years, I’ve sat there underneath it during various events, having no idea quite what was hidden in plain sight. Once the work is done, it will be good for another 120 years." Tending to repairs on such a precious piece of history required an expert team, and this came in the form of ornamental plastering company Hayles and Howe, who pride themselves in offering "exquisite attention to all the finest details for any decorative plasterwork." The high standard of craftsmanship carried out by the designers, sculptors and modellers has won the company accolades including the Queen’s Award, the Plasterer’s Trophy and Humber Silver Salver. Well versed in historical styles, from Gothic to Art Nouveau, Hayles and Howe’s work has included restoration and conservation work at the Grade II listed Dominion Theatre in London, and a major new build project in Pueblo Colorado USA. Describing their process, a team member said: "We investigate to see how the panels were made. Plaster panels intact are selected to match the broken panels and carefully cut from the ceiling, then transported to the Hayles and Howe workshop in Bristol. Any panels with patch repairs are done onsite where the panel remains in place. For a replacement panel, a mould of the existing panel is poured in the workshop using silicon rubber which allows perfect reproductions to be made. The new panel is cast using plaster, hessian mesh and timber laths for reinforcement and left to set overnight. The panel is then carefully removed from the silicone mould and transported to site. The broken panel is removed from the ceiling and the new panel is fitted in its place. " The Empress Ballroom’s ceiling, with its superb acoustics, has echoed to the sounds of an eclectic variety of events throughout its history, from lavish afternoon tea dances to the assembly of gas envelopes for the R.33 airship during World War I. It’s been enjoyed by millions, and will be enjoyed by millions more to come. Whether that be at concerts, political conferences, or gatherings of pigeon fanciers, magicians and punk rockers, there is much more history to be made beneath those newly splendid panels. Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
Behind The Scenes
his is the 22nd festival, having first started in Blackpool in 1996 as “Holidays In The Sun.” Despite a brief move to Morecambe and a name change, Blackpool has always been the spiritual home for this family friendly Punk Festival. With the British weather being unpredictable, the Winter Gardens offers a roof over the heads of up to 10,000 punk rockers making this a unique event in the UK festival calendar. This year see’s 341 acts across 7 stages over the 4 days. The festival has become a worldwide attraction with people travelling to Blackpool from as far and wide as Brazil, Australia and countries in the Middle East. In fact there are 93 bands from overseas this year. The USA has a vibrant Punk scene and is well represented but so are another 18 countries including Japan, Columbia and South Africa. Punk Rock and the alternative music scene has such a wide range of sub genres. From the hardcore anarcho punk to New Wave via Ska, Reggae and Glam Rock with a bit of Oi and pop punk thrown in, there is something for everyone. With household names playing alongside new acts Rebellion prides itself on not just being a retro festival. This is best demonstrated with the REBELLION INTRODUCTING STAGE which runs
all 4 days and showcases 45 bands new to Rebellion, many of which go on to bigger things and have a slot on the main stages in following years. 2018 will see headline performances from Public Image Ltd, Stiff Little Fingers, Buzzcocks and The Exploited. Peter Hook & The Light (ex Joy Division and New Order) makes a welcome return to the festival and it’s a first time appearance from the likes of Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe, The Wildhearts, The Idles and Macclesfields naughtiest sons The Macc Lads. There’s lots of unique things happening everyday that locals and visitors can dip in to by purchasing a day ticket. This year there is an exclusive interview with PiL singer John Lydon (otherwise known as Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten). He will appear in conversation with journalist Barry Cain on Sunday 5th August at 2.00pm in the Opera House. This amazing seated venue is also the setting for a very special performance on Friday 3rd from Crass founder member Penny Rimbaud who performs “What Passing Bells – The War Poems of Wilfred Owen”. With 100 years since the end of World War 1, this will be a moving tribute. Grand Piano, Cello and visuals will accompany Penny as he recites the poems. Summer 2018 | 0844 856 1111 | WGBPL.CO.UK
2018 THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG 7 - 11 August 2018
MICHAEL BOLTON IN CONCERT 19 October 2018
FAME THE MUSICAL 13 - 18 August 2018
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER THE MUSICAL 30 October - 3 November 2018
GREAT NORTH WEST MOTORBIKE FESTIVAL 25 - 26 August 2018
SIXTIES GOLD 7 November 2018
WURLITZER ORGAN CONCERT 9 September 2018
THE BEST OF BILLY OCEAN 9 November 2018
MADAGASCAR: A MUSICAL ADVENTURE 11 - 15 September 2018
THE WORLD FAMOUS ELVIS SHOW 10 November 2018
COAST TOWN 15 September 2018
KING OF POP 11 November 2018
THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN: LIVE 18 September 2018
WIZARD OF OZ THE MUSICAL 7 - 30 Decemeber 2018
RIP IT UP! THE 60'S 27 September 2018
ULTIMATE COUNTRY ROCK EXPERIENCE 15 December 2018
EARLY DOORS LIVE 3 October 2018
ONE NIGHT ONLY 15 December 2018
HITS: LANCASHIRE 6 October 2018
NYE SOUL PARTY 31 December 2018
HITS: RELOADED 7 October 2018
NYE FAMILY PARTY 31 December 2018
JOANNA LUMLEY - ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ALL ABOUT ME 13 October 2018 SUPERVET - WELCOME TO MY WORLD 14 October 2018
2019 COLLABRO LIVE 23 February 2019
BALLROOM DANCE EVENTS 2018/19
AMERICAN IDIOT THE MUSICAL 5 - 9 March 2019
BRITISH FREESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS 14 October 2019
STRICTLY COME DANCING 15 May 2019
BLACKPOOL SEQUENCE DANCE FESTIVAL 20 - 23 October 2019
ELVIS WORLD TOUR 19 May 2019
BRITISH NATIONAL DANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS 15 - 17 November 2019
BLACKPOOL INTERNATIONAL SOUL FESTIVAL 14 - 16 June 2019
BLACKPOOL DANCE FESTIVAL 2019 23 - 31 May 2019
ROCKY HORROR SHOW 24 - 29 June 2019
New Shows are regularly added on sale, for the latest up to date news please check www.wgbpl.co.uk.
ELVIS CELEBRATION 2019 28 - 30 June 2019 ROCK OF AGES 2 - 6 July 2019 RHOD GILBERT 19 July 2019 DOCTOR DOLITTLE THE MUSICAL 3 - 14 September 2019
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS PLEASE VISIT: BOOK BY PHONE:
KINKY BOOTS THE MUSCIAL 30 September - 12 October 2019
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PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT 21 - 26 October 2019
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A Winter Gardens Publication. 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk | 0844 856 1111* (BOOKING FEES MAY APPLY. 0844 CALLS COST 7P PER MINUTE PLUS YOUR PHONE COMPANYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ACCESS CHARGE)
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