Today Blackpool Grand Theatre and LeftCoast are pleased to announce that its application to Arts Council England’s ‘Ambition for Excellence’ Fund has been successful. (The fund has been created to stimulate and support ambition, talent and excellence in the arts, particularly outside London).
The award totals £680,000 and will be used to commission two pieces of work for the town, both of which will involve artists of international standing as well as local talent to create exciting new events in 2016 and 2017. The two new projects will be delivered by the Grand Theatre in partnership with LeftCoast.
Michael Trainor, Artistic Director of LeftCoast, said: “Winning this major national award from Arts Council England is a huge vote of confidence in Blackpool?s creative community and will bring the very highest quality creative experiences to the amazing locations and good people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.”
For the first piece, the partners will work with the renowned company dreamthinkspeak. dreamthinkspeak hasn’t created new work in the North West of England since Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008. The company’s highly imaginative ways of working and the amazing artistic experiences that they create will attract both locals and visitors to Blackpool.
Tristan Sharps, Artistic Director of dreamthinkspeak, said: “This is wonderful news! I’m really looking forward to my stay in Blackpool and creating a show for a secret and fantastical site at the heart of the town! As always with a dreamthinkspeak project, I will be living in the town during the creation of the show and working closely with large numbers of local residents. I’m really excited to explore and discover how the project will adapt and develop in response to this remarkable town’s past, present and future. I’ve been dreaming about this project for the last two years. This award makes the dream real and I cannot wait to crack on.”
The second piece, planned for 2017, will be a re-imagining of the King Kong story, utilising multiple art forms in a variety of locations. Again working with large numbers of local artists, crafts people and residents, this project will have huge community involvement as well as great spectacle.
Alison Clark, Director Combined Arts & North, and Programme lead for Ambition for Excellence said: “This award represents a very significant moment for arts in Blackpool. This exciting internationally important programme illustrates the impact of the innovative cultural leaders in the town, and we look forward to seeing its powerful long term effects on artists and the arts infrastructure in Blackpool and beyond.”
Ruth Eastwood, CEO of the Grand Theatre said: “We don’t want to give too much away just now. These are big and important projects that will help consolidate Blackpool’s growing reputation as a place with culture at its heart; celebrating the uniqueness of this amazing town and offering new and different artistic experiences to people, young and old. Now the hard work starts to create something really special.”