Stars of stage and screen were amongst many esteemed guests that attended a red-carpet event on Wednesday 21 November to celebrate Leeds Grand Theatre’s 140th birthday in collaboration with hit West End and Broadway musical, Jersey Boys. TopicUK were also on the guest list.
Oh What A Night! saw Kay Mellor, Sam Bailey, Ellie and Izzie Warner (Gogglebox), Emmerdale cast members, the Original Calendar Girls and Yorkshire and England cricketer Jack Leaning (amongst others) show their support for the Grand Old Lady of Leeds. Invited guests from local businesses, funders, councillors and colleagues from the cultural sector were also in attendance.
Guests were treated to pre and post show drinks (attended by the cast and crew), and a performance of the award-winning musical. Chris Blythe, CEO, and Paul Scholey, Chair of the Board, gave speeches thanking people for their continued support before Ian Sime, General Manger, led guests in a rendition of Happy Birthday followed by the cutting of the cake.
Kay Mellor said: “As ever, a fantastic evening at the fabulous Grand Theatre in my home town.”
Leeds Grand Theatre provides a home for performances of all types, including its resident companies Opera North and Northern Ballet. Since its Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council supported ‘transformation’ in 2006, the theatre has hosted the best of the West End and other touring productions, including large musicals, drama from the National Theatre, comedians and music. The theatre provided a venue for the world premieres of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s, The Girls (2015), and Fat Friends The Musical(2017) penned by Mellor.
Stars that have graced the famous stage including Julie Andrews, Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Elton John, Peter Kay, Morecambe and Wise, Laurence Olivier, Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele. In more recent years, The Grand has welcomed Fern Britton, Dara O’Briain, Jake Bugg, Andrew Flintoff, Nigel Havers, Jane McDonald and Sting.
Oh What A Night! was one of many events to take place to mark the special occasion. A popup exhibition of images and ‘fun facts’ in Victoria Quarter on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November and an afternoon tea for past and present staff have also taken place.
Patrons of Leeds Grand are being encouraged to share their stories on social media tagging @grandtheatreLS1 and using the hashtag #LeedsGrandAt140 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The best stories will be shared on The Grand’s social platforms.
“We should all be so very proud of the Grand Theatre, right through the country, the world and of course here in Yorkshire.” Dickie Bird OBE.