The Opera House is one of Blackpool’s primary places to go for entertainment, having played host to the likes of Peter Kay, Whoopi Goldberg, Lady Gaga and Judy Garland in its century of shows. It was opened in 1889 bearing the artistic designs of renowned theatre architect, Frank Matcham, but transformed over the years to cater to growing demands for more seating.
The venue is considered one of the finest theatres in Europe, despite having been rebuilt a couple of times in order to extend its capacity. It was originally named Her Majesty’s Opera House, dedicated to showing a range of operatic performances, kickstarting with ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’ for its first production. The theatre quickly closed and was rebuilt with a larger capacity for both shows and audiences, starring renowned ballet performer Anna Pavlova as the first headliner for the new site. Two decades later, the theatre was rebuilt for the final time, starring George Formby in its opening production of ‘Turned Out Nice Again’.
After its third-time-lucky opening, the theatre continued to be a successful entertainment complex. It showcased charity concerts that starred the golden couple of drama, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and a series of summer Sunday concerts after the war featuring Marlene Dietrich, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra - whose ‘magic microphone’ remains at the Opera House to this day.
The variety of performances is still reflected today, where visitors can enjoy anything from stand-up comedy to West End musicals. Its art deco roots are still apparent in the modernist design and architectural features, however visitors can also find many modern comforts. Its reputation to attract some of the biggest stars and shows remains evident in its exciting bill of shows, with the city’s foot in entertainment remaining intact.