Winter Gardens Blackpool to Bring Life Back to the Pavilion Theatre

Winter Gardens Blackpool to Bring Life Back to the Pavilion TheatreAs the Winter Gardens Blackpool today celebrates its 140th anniversary, plans have been unveiled revealing a partnership between global producers Selladoor Worldwide and operators Blackpool Entertainment Company to bring a fresh lease of creative life to the historic Pavilion Theatre, based within the grade 2* listed venue. During this joint venture, Selladoor Worldwide will lead on programing the space with both produced and received work, whilst Winter Gardens Blackpool will focus on the renovations to save and restore the theatre back to its full former glory for future generations to enjoy.

Selladoor Worldwide are one of the UK's leading Regional Theatre Producers, producing 8 productions in 2017 that performed outside of the country's capital, with a total of 9 productions set to do so throughout 2018. From the very outset, the company's aim has been to make accessible work for all audiences, which has therefore invigorated Selladoor Worldwide to create a base in the North of England, to ensure full coverage across the country.

Selladoor's Northern Powerhouse will be based out of the Pavilion Theatre in Blackpool, the oldest venue in the Winter Gardens complex. The venue was part of the original 1878 build and was an entertainment hub, catering to large crowds at the turn of the 20th century. Although a stunning and richly decorated building, with opulent interior designs, this building is no longer used as a theatre, and is currently listed as 'at risk' by the Theatres Trust.

Selladoor Worldwide are therefore extremely proud to partner with Blackpool Winter Gardens to protect and revitalise this venue to once again be an important entertainment hub for the town of Blackpool and surrounding northern cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. The theatre space will be used for event theatre as well as non-conventional and immersive theatre, helping to diversify the artistic programming and cultural experiences available to the residents of Blackpool. Due to Blackpool having one of the lowest engagement rates in the UK, Selladoor Worldwide and Winter Gardens Blackpool have been working closely to establish what will benefit and empower the members of the public to ensure engagement rates increase and sustain for future generations, as well as restoring one of the city's most important and historically significant buildings back to its former glory.

Executive Creative Producer David Hutchinson for Selladoor Worldwide says: "A town as bold as Blackpool is the perfect location for our Northern producing base to make waves in the north of the country. Our decision to base a dedicated team in Blackpool will enable us to focus on cultural development and engagement in the town and surrounding areas. With a new and stimulating programme of work to feature at The Pavilion Theatre, complimented by a broad selection of Selladoor's touring productions that regularly perform at the Winter Gardens, we are extremely excited to see a town that is very dear to our hearts, flourish and succeed as it's members of public deserve".

Michael Williams, Managing Director at Blackpool Entertainment Company, operators of the Winter Gardens Blackpool says: "We are delighted to launch the partnership between Blackpool Entertainment Company (BECL) and acclaimed producers Selladoor Worldwide. This heralds an exciting new direction, which will offer unparalleled opportunities to the local community whilst bringing back into year-round use of the Pavilion Theatre. In addition, we will be utilising other spaces in the venue for a wide range of exciting and engaging projects over the coming years.

The partnership is a unique and exciting opportunity to use the arts as a catalyst for positive change and a vehicle to encourage both opportunity and aspiration through a wide range of commercial and community developments".

Tom Stickland from the Theatres Trust has said: "The Winter Gardens' Pavilion Theatre has evolved throughout its life to reflect the changing tastes for public entertainment opening as a music hall before becoming a theatre in 1885 and adapted for cinema in the 1930s. Restoring performance use to this historic space will unlock one of Blackpool's jewels and help protect it for the future".

NOTES TO EDITORS

Selladoor Worldwide began its life in 2009 as Sell a Door Theatre Company and has gone on to develop rapidly under co-founders David Hutchinson (Executive Creative Producer) and Phillip Rowntree (Executive Commercial Producer). The company has become an integral part of the regional theatre landscape in the UK and Ireland, and increasingly on an international platform, establishing itself as a leading producer of mid and large-scale touring theatre.

From the very outset, the company's aim has been to make accessible work for our audiences, and their experience is at the heart of the company's work and artistic planning. Principally aimed at engaging young and adult audiences and first time attendees, our objective is to continue to encourage the next generation of theatregoers. Our education programmes and online presence aim to provide the fullest experience of our productions possible.

Our origins lie in re-imagined classics and new commissions, which we continue to champion to this day. We are able to create a varied and distinctive programme; large-scale commercial touring is complimented by the company's not-for-profit routes and ongoing investment and development of new work. As a company operating across a range of scales we continue to deliver and invest in our patron base on a regional land international basis, as well as our product.

In 2017, Selladoor Worldwide produced 9 productions, with over 900 performances, across 8 countries, in over 50 venues, reaching over 400,000 audiences with The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl & the Pussycat (Coventry, Belgrade Theatre), The Crucible (UK Tour), Guess How Much I Love You (UAE & Asia Tour, Greenwich Theatre & Arts Theatre, London), Footloose The Musical (2nd UK Tour), Flashdance The Musical (UK Tour), Spamalot (UK Tour), and Footloose (2nd UK Tour), and Peter Pan A Musical Adventure (Blackpool, Winter Gardens). 2017 also saw the launch of Selladoor Worldwide's first International Tours, producing the multi-award musicals Jersey Boys and The Producers, along with our first production in the United States, bringing the popular children's tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to New York City.

2018 brings another exhilarating year for Selladoor. In January, we were thrilled to be producing the John Steinbeck classic Of Mice and Men in association with the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. February brought our collaboration with the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch and Les Theatre De La Villa De Luxembourg for a limited run of Diane Samuel's Kindertransport marking 25 years since its debut at the Cockpit Theatre in London. Flashdance and Spamalot go from strength to strength as they continue their tours into 2018 visiting iconic venues such as the Manchester Palace Theatre, Brighton Theatre Royal, Zurich MAAG and the Dubai Opera House. In the summer, our production schedule really heats up as we journey to the island of Madagascar alongside Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo in Madagascar A Musical Adventure! which tours the UK from the July 21st. We'll also be lighting the sky like a flame with the Fame 30th Anniversary UK tour opening at the Manchester Palace on the 20th July. We finish off the year in the merry old land of Oz as we return to the bright lights of Blackpool at Christmas with family favourite The Wizard of Oz. With our 2019 rostra already starting to take shape, we are thrilled with the variety of work in production, and remain committed to creating daring, diverse and Dynamic Productions that are accessible to all.

Blackpool Winter Gardens first opened to the public on 11 July 1878, with Lavish ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of London and Mayors and Mayoresses from 68 towns throughout the country.

The Winter Gardens has entertained hordes of crowds in Blackpool in its collection of theatre, ballrooms, exhibition halls and public spaces.

Since opening in 1878, the venues aspirations have continued to mirror the development of Blackpool as a friendly seaside resort and as the town grew in popularity throughout the century, the venue's wide range of entertainment has developed with it.

One of the UK's biggest theatres, the Winter Gardens Opera House, has see n a cast of thousands tread its broads since it first opened in 1939. With almost a 3,000 seat capacity, the splendor of the venue oozes sophistication and character as it boasts unforgettable performances year after year.

Hollywood stars such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Bob Hope have all graced the Opera House stage, and more recently, the likes of Little Mux, Bob Dylan, Peter Kay and One Direction have performed to sell-out audiences here.

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