Saturday, 5 January 2013

Charming family date

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, January 5, 2013, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Charming family date
A big day out! 
RICHARD THOMAS heads to The Grand Theatre in Swansea. 
WHY? The Grand are now hosting their 100th pantomime show, Cinderella. The classic tale has been transformed into a stunning stage production complete with an abundance of comedy, stunning sets and colourful costumes.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Produced by the same team behind the theatre's record breaking pantomime from last Christmas, Aladdin, Cinderella stars Chico as Prince Charming, Kevin Johns and Mike Doyle as the Ugly Sisters, and the beautiful Gemma James in the title role of Cinderella. Audiences of all ages will be able to catch Cinderella before she leaves for the Ball until January 13.
ANY HISTORY? Since 1897 the 1,000-seat auditorium as been providing the public with a broad range of cultural, artistic and general entertainment events. The Grand Theatre was designed by the architect William Hope of Newcastle in 1897. It was built by D. Jenkins and was opened by Madam Adelina Patti - an Opera Diva of her day - under the original proprietors Morell and Mouillot. The Swansea Corporation leased the building in May 1969 and bought it outright in 1979. The Theatre was then refurbished and updated during the period 1983 - 1987 at a cost of £6.5 million. A further £1 million was spent for the Arts Wing to open its doors for the first time in 1999. Over the last twenty years, the fabric of the theatre has been improved and enhanced considerably, thanks to the support of the former Swansea Corporation, Swansea City Council and more recently the City and County of Swansea. However, none of the theatre's unique identity has suffered as a result of this improvement and today's Grand is as full of charm and atmosphere as was the case when the theatre first opened its doors all those years ago.
WHAT TO TAKE? Morning tea and coffee, lunchtime specials and pre-show dinners are available in the theatre’s Footlights Café Bar. Located in the theatre’s delightful garden area it's the perfect setting to meet with friends for a drink or a light meal. The menu includes fresh Italian coffees, a variety of teas, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, pasties, cold drinks and fresh pastries.
LOOK OUT FOR? The Arts Wing is the most recent development at The Grand and adds almost 2000 square metres of extra space to the theatre. The contemporary space holds exhibitions, conferences and smaller-scale music and drama performances including lunchtime theatre on the last Saturday of each month and a regular comedy club featuring acts on the comedy circuit. On the top floor there is also the Rooftop Café, Restaurant and Bar with it's own terrace, affording unique views of Swansea.
WHEN TO GO? The Grand is open Monday to Saturday between 9.30am and 8pm, on non performance days they close at 6pm. On Sundays the theatre is open for one hour before performances.
TELL ME MORE: The Grand is situated in the heart of Swansea’s city centre on Singleton Street. For sat nav users the postcode is SA1 3QJ. To book your tickets call the Box Office on 01792 475715.