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Bluebells Reflections by Lindsay Bennett-Thompson

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Bluebells Reflections by Lindsay Bennett-Thompson

When writing a play with Blackpool as its thematic backbone it’s difficult not to fall into the potholes of stereotype, nostalgia or poverty porn. Setting a play in a town celebrated for its legacy which has been scraped over the coals in recent years would have been easy to dip my ink into its fall from grace. 

Having grown up in Blackpool I’ve always known my perception of the town is very different to how it is often portrayed. It IS the prom queen with smeared lipstick but that’s what makes it home.

But the story I wanted to tell was not cemented in the long-told tales about Stags and Hens, the ‘Good old Days’ and that time Jimi Hendrix played here. Instead, I wanted to concentrate on the heart of what makes it the formidable underdog– the people. 

For years I’ve watched the volunteer litter pickers trekking across the Golden Mile and have always been fascinated by their seemingly altruistic motivation. What makes people freely contribute their time to a cause that has no thanks, no payment, no recognition? 

Bluebells and Dirty Nappies follows two of these volunteers who begin their journey as strangers. Delving into their own ‘call to action’ and just what keeps them moving forward. A two-hander following Norma – a Sandgrownian with tenacious pride and hope. And Chrissa – a young woman returning to a place she used to call home, but the key no longer fits in the door. 

Following a national callout for actors and an incredible response, I was delighted to finally meet everyone in the room on the first day of rehearsals. With Wendy Patterson (Norma), Lauren Nicole Mayes (Chrissa) and Melanie Whitehead (Director) the room already felt creative. A powerful collaboration of women who had questions and ideas and from the first day I could already feel the first breaths of life of these characters jump from the page. The theatre space of The Old Electric also felt serendipitous, with its high-raked seating and balconies, which twins the piers the play is set left me with a candy floss glow of excitement.

Bluebells and Dirty Nappies is my first full-length play and I am honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate, play and dissect alongside such an incredible group of women. It’s currently at the start of its exciting journey – all I ask is that it sends me a postcard. 

Book your tickets to see her show Saturday 27 July at 7pm here.

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Spring Forward…Don’t Fall Back in Autumn!

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Spring Forward…Don’t Fall Back in Autumn!

While we’re still enjoying the blooms of spring, we’re delighted to unveil our exciting lineup of events and activities for this vibrant autumn season. Whether you’re a fan of captivating performances, hands-on workshops, or community gatherings, there’s something special waiting for you.

Save the dates for our upcoming events and workshops starting September – because it’s never too early to start.

Be sure to check out our What’s On section for a comprehensive overview of our shows and participatory activities or have a look at our brochure guide here.

Stay in the loop as we continually introduce fresh performances and activities on our website, ones that you won’t find in the guide. Make it a habit to explore our website frequently so you don’t miss out.

Please note that the events listed on our website are accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change. We recommend checking back closer to the event dates for any updates or revisions to the schedule.

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Welcome to Power Plays Writing Festival

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Welcome to Power Plays Writing Festival

Top creatives join The POWER PLAYS Writing Festival at Blackpool’s The Old Electric this Spring

Leading playwrights, writers and theatre makers will light a creative spark for new playwriting across the region as the official line-up is announced for the innovative POWER PLAYS Festival, which launches on Friday 22 March at Blackpool’s newest theatre, The Old Electric.


Internationally acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens (Punk Rock, The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time); renowned theatre maker and academic Dr Andy Smith (Citizens’ Assembly); award-winning playwright Nick Wood (Warrior Square, A Girl With A Book); literary manager, critic and dramaturg Dr Frank Peschier; National Theatre dramaturg Stewart Pringle, and top screenwriter and performance artist Krishna Isthna (Sex Education) are just a few of the illustrious industry names who will hold a whole host of workshops and talks at The Old Electric throughout a four-month long festival of artistic activity from April to July 2024.


The aim of The POWER PLAYS Writing Festival is to support new writing for the stage, explore original perspectives on the region, and establish The OE as Blackpool’s home of new writing and comprises 48 exciting events which will all connect with new writing. The literary festival line-up will also include visiting artist Q&As, thrilling new live productions, a pioneering primary schools programme, peer to peer projects and keynote masterclass sessions.


One such masterclass will be held by the multi award-winning playwright Simon Stephens who explained why he has chosen to be a part of this inspirational new festival. “I am excited to be part of a project so committed to supporting playwrights in Blackpool. It’s a place that has meant a lot to me and a place that has inspired me to write and if, even for a brief time, I can inspire writers, well that only seems right and proper.”


Fellow masterclass host and playwright Nick Wood, added: “The theatre, playwrights, and the arts in general, are going through a tough time at the moment and I think it’s great that this festival will give new, fresh, vital, regional voices a chance to be heard. I know we’re going to discover some very exciting writers.”

Dr Frank Peschier from internationally acclaimed theatre company Headlong is also a freelance dramaturg, critic and lecturer who is passionate about new writing, creative access and shaping brilliant experiences that bring people together. She said of her involvement with the festival: “I am so excited and honoured to be asked to be part of POWER PLAYS. The Old Electric is a creative hub and home for artists in the North West, and I can’t wait to read stories from all over, inspired by right here.”


The multi-layered engagement programme also includes a supported visit to Blastfest at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster; a practical Wild Writing session exploring ways to start writing without being limited by expectations of form, or needing to finish; a Reimagining Gothic Horror workshop; opportunities for neurodivergent writers who want different techniques to create material; fascinating Artist Q+As; an interactive spoken word event; pre and post-show talks, plus a National Theatre supported Primary Schools programme with local Year 5 pupils who will see their words brought to life by professional actors onstage.


The project is supported by Arts Council England and a host of regional and national partners and will run throughout April, May, June and July at The Old Electric. There will also be a playwriting competition launched in May as part of the festival, which will invite writers to submit scripts showcasing themes that have resonance to Blackpool to a panel of professional readers, building to a performance of the winning script in July 2024 and a tour of the production in 2025.


The Old Electric Artistic Director, Melanie Whitehead, is the driving force behind this latest venture for Blackpool’s newest theatre. Melanie said of this new festival: “POWER PLAYS is the next stage in our journey for encouraging and supporting new talent and ties in perfectly with our ethos of Community, Creativity and Culture. To have rock stars of the literary world like Simon Stephens and Dr Andy Smith appearing, along with local creatives such as the one and only Scratch DJ Rob del Terror hosting an evening of performance poetry and Blackpool born and bred writer and actress Lauren-Nicole Mayes discussing her journey as an artist on the bill, is truly inspiring. POWER PLAYS is also about changing the narrative that is so often associated with Blackpool and looking at positive change and regeneration through new creative works and we hope to encourage and mentor a new generation of writers.”


The POWER PLAYS programme has also meant The Old Electric has been able to appoint a Festival Assistant Producer, Abi Hellam, and three-month Writer-in Residence, Martha Pailing. Blackpool born Martha is a writer, spoken word and performance artist whose writing often blends personal material with fictional characters to create absurd and tender narratives. She will be hosting a Conversation Drop In during the festival and inviting artists, non-artists, creative-all-the- timers and creative-some-of-the-timers to chat and explore our personal relationships with laughter.


She said: “The Old Electric is the home of alternative art that I wish would have existed 10 years ago – it represents much welcomed creative progression in Blackpool and brings together several art forms, takes creative risks and challenges the negative.”

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Tuck Shop Team

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Tuck Shop Team

We are offering an opportunity for young people aged 16-17 years to be part of our team to open and run our Tuck Shop for an hour on week-day evenings (Monday – Thursday).

The applicants will be responsible for serving a range of hot and cold drinks and light refreshments to our session-goers.

For more information about this position and how to apply, please download the PDF below.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Jan-NEW-ary & Jan-June 2024 Unveiled!

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Jan-NEW-ary & Jan-June 2024 Unveiled!

At The Old Electric, we’re thrilled to kick off 2024 with a bang!

Join us this January for Jan-NEW-ary, a month-long celebration of creativity and self-discovery. From DJ workshops, to Burlesque for Body Positivity and ballet sessions, each session is designed to unlock your artistic potential in a welcoming and fun environment. You can find out what we have in our Jan-NEW-ary programme here.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there! We’re delighted to unveil our January to June 2024 programme, featuring an eclectic mix of workshops and performances. We’ve curated a diverse lineup that promises something special for everyone.

Check out our What’s On section for a comprehensive overview of our shows and participatory activities or have a look at our brochure guide here.

Stay in the loop as we continually introduce fresh performances and activities on our website, ones that you won’t find in the guide. Make it a habit to explore our website frequently so you don’t miss out.