Winter Gardens Blackpool
Blackpool Winter Gardens was formally opened to the Public in July 1878 and is made up of a series of spectacular fantasy interiors intended to transport visitors to other times and places. Its subsequent development over 140 years continued to mirror the aspirations of Blackpool as a seaside resort which expanded exponentially in response to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century boom in leisure time.
Cinema has formed a part of the offer at Blackpool Winter Gardens almost since the birth of the movie industry, with the Pavilion Theatre providing the first formal venue for screenings making it one of the earliest cine-variety venues in the north west. This all changed with the completion of the huge third or ‘New’ Opera House in 1939, designed in the Art Deco Moderne style and with an auditorium holding around 3000 it rivalled the largest of the Odeon Cinemas and had the capacity for large theatrical productions and cinema.
This tradition was revived in 2014 with the introduction of a state of the art HD projection system and surround sound sensitively installed in the art deco auditorium, building on a tradition, almost 100 years old of cinema at the heart of Blackpool.
For visitor information please visit the Winter Gardens website.
For access information, please visit AccessAble.
With a capacity of almost 3,000, the Opera House Blackpool is one of the largest theatres in the UK and indeed Europe, also boasting one of the largest stages. Seating is on Stalls, Circle and Balcony levels with lift access to all and dedicated areas for wheelchair users in the Stalls. Access to the theatre is usually available direct from the Church Street entrance or via the Floral Hall area of the Winter Gardens. The Box Office is open daily from 10am on Church Street, opposite St John’s Church.
For Opera House access information, please visit AccessAble Opera House access guide.
Grand Foyer Bar
This recently refurbished and reopened room was once the grand foyer and main staircase of the 1911 Opera House. It usually hosts our launch parties and talks. Perfect for stepping out in style!
This period hall, designed in the guise of an Elizabethan banqueting Hall, offers a step back in time to the 16th century. An atmospheric screening venue with heavy oak panelling, heraldic fittings and furnishings and authentic medieval detailing designed by artist and film set designer Fortunino Matania.
The room takes its name from John C. Derham, the Tower Company’s resident architect, who designed the Olympia exhibition hall and re-modelled other areas of the Winter Gardens.
The room itself had been created as a Restaurant and Cafe in 1897, but became the Olympia Bar in 1930. Most of the 1930s’ plasterwork has survived and has been restored. The restoration of this room saw it being stripped back to its shell and the glitz and glamour renewed.
The Pavilion Theatre is 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.
One of our favourite informal screening venues, Central Library is situated on Queen Street in the town centre, just a five minute walk from Blackpool North train station. This is where we started our community cinema back in 2011. Screenings amongst the bookshelves are an atmospheric treat!
The building that contains the library and the Grundy Art Gallery has been designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.
The Grundy Art Gallery was founded in 1911 and boasts a varied year-round exhibitions programme that draws on the unique and invigorating context and heritage of Blackpool, for instance exploring the space between contemporary art, entertainment and popular culture. The exhibitions and displays frequently incorporate pieces from their collection, which was started with a bequest by the founding Grundy brothers and contains an eclectic range of art and other items from furniture to ceramics, to netsuke ornaments to Victorian oil paintings. Artists include Craigie Aitchison, Ruth Claxton, Martin Creed, Laura Ford, Augustus John, Eric Ravilious and Gilbert and George amongst others.
The gallery is a key space for the festival’s art film and ‘hands on’ workshops.