Why the Wolverhampton Grand is grand

Why the Wolverhampton Grand is grand

Friday, 22 August 2014

Wolverhampton Grand ambassador, Marie Crichton, tells us why she thinks her local theatre deserves the title 'grand'.

G = 

Grade 2 listed building which opened in 1894.

Guests. Stars from TV and screen have performed on our stage.

Graduations. The University of Wolverhampton's graduates are proud to take centre stage.

Grandeur, stunning interior and architecture help keep it Grand!

R =

Rep. It remains one of the few theatres to still have a repertory season.

Refurbishments. Notably in 1982 and again in 1998, ensuring it remains up to date.

A =

Audiences, attendance and appreciation lie at the heart and backbone of the theatre.

Amateur dramatics. Groups such as the Bilston Operatic Society are given a platform.

N =

New, Notable, Newsworthy – it is constantly evolving and refreshing its repertoire

Night-time entertainment. It remains one of the city's most revered evening's out. One only has to look at the lack of available parking spaces when a musical or pantomime is on!!!

D =

Drama. The linchpin of the theatre. High quality diverse plays are regularly performed, such as Oscar Wilde style period pieces, like Lady Winderemere's Fan and A Woman of No Importance. These are juxtaposed with comedy and farce from firm favourite Alan Ayckbourn. Most of us have laughed our way through classics like Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests and Bedroom Farce. Mike Leigh's Abigail Party is another feel good must see which continues to be performed.

Murder Mysteries and Who Dunnit? crime pieces are part of the theatre's heritage. Agatha Christie plays continue to draw audiences and most of her plays have now been performed in Wolverhampton; favourites being And Then There Were None and more recently fresh from London's west end and arguably her finest work, The Mousetrap.

Thoughtful plays with a strong emotive thread also deserve a mention. Who could fail to be moved by Calendar Girls, On Golden Pond and The Shellseekers?

Morality and social issue plays produce some of the most powerful theatre. Blood Brothers immediately springs to mind as people of all ages have nothing but praise for it, many returning year after year to see it. Other stand outs are The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill A Mockingbird, Goodnight Mr TomAn Inspector Calls and Tennessee William's classic Cat on A Hot Tin Roof. Some plays are on the GCSE and A Level syllabus, allowing students to see a play come to life. More recent highlights have been Driving Miss Daisy, To Sir With Love and Brassed Off; plays which allow an insight into social history and offer a glimpse of bygone attitudes and experiences, perhaps alien to many of us living in 2014.          

When Marie isn't volunteering her time as a drama ambassador, she works as a country music presenter for BBC Radio Shropshire where she has scooped the award for 'favourite presenter' two years in a row from UK Country Radio Awards.