One of our key charitable objectives is to engage with our local community and spread the magic of theatre. Every year, we engage with thousands of people to develop a positive and impactful relationship with the arts. We visit schools, community groups and health & social care organisations to inspire people from all walks of life and educate and engage with them through the arts.
Your donations help the Grand to be a source of inspiration and a symbol of pride for everyone in this region. Thank you for your support.
This year we are looking to build on last year’s fundraising success and deliver more exciting workshops to inspire people in our community.
Introduction to Panto 2018
‘Intro to Panto’ is an interactive workshop which provides important access to theatre in a fun and exciting way for young people – some of whom may never have been to a theatre before. This travelling workshop will run for 1 week in June and October 2018 and visit around 20 schools and up to 5 children’s hospitals and hospices.
The session is split into two halves - Act 1 and Act 2. Act 1 comprises an interactive workshop exploring the history of pantomime, as well as introducing traditional pantomime characters and singing traditional songs. Act 2 is an interactive performance of SLEEPING BEAUTY, which is our pantomime this year.
The West Midlands – particularly areas around Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall – are recognised by Arts Council England as significantly lacking in arts engagement. Projects like ‘Intro to Panto’ are designed to address this cultural deprivation by providing access to the arts from a young age. This will hopefully give the young participants a passion for the arts which will continue to flourish as the children grow.
Donations to our Creative Learning Fund help to support this project and your support would be hugely appreciated.
If you are interested in this workshop visiting your school, please visit our Intro to Panto webpage for details on how to sign up.
Relaxed Pantomime (January 2018)
Our Relaxed pantomime was a performance of JACK & THE BEANSTALK which was amended to suit an audience with various disabilities. This included autism, learning disabilities, communication disorders and mental health issues.
The amendments made the Theatre environment and the show itself much more relaxing for patrons and allowed them to enjoy the show without fear of anything scary or unpredictable happening and without fear of disturbing other patrons.
Loud noises, special effects and potentially upsetting scenes were changed or removed and house lights were left on in the auditorium. Front of house areas also changed into chill out rooms with soft pillows and a live stream of the show played on televisions in break out spaces. There was also a Makaton interpreter on stage for those with hearing impairments.
We believe the emotional and transformative impact of theatre should be experienced and cherished by everyone. That’s why the Grand Theatre prides itself on ensuring this experience is available to all through our Relaxed Panto Performance.
See our Relaxed Performance video below:
Standing Tall (Autumn 2017)
‘Standing Tall’ was an exciting creative textile project that engaged with people from all ages and backgrounds. Participants took part in FREE creative craft workshops to create individual sections of textile that combined to create clothing for an enormous giant! The patches were created from a wide range of craft methods including embroidery, knitting, sewing or braiding.
The giant was installed at the Grand Theatre during our JACK & THE BEANSTALK Pantomime from December 2017 to January 2018. The giant reached up through 2 floors in the front of house area of the Theatre - appearing to crash through from one level to the next.
Groups we visited included Age UK, the Haven, Sandwell Visually Impaired, Teenage Cancer Trust, Smestow School and Options for Life. We aimed to visit people who had limited access to the arts to give them a chance to get involved and have their voices heard on a big platform.
See our Standing Tall project video below:
Intro to Panto 2017
Our annual ‘Intro to Panto’ workshop provides important access to theatre in a fun and exciting way to young people – some of whom may never have been to a theatre. We visited schools to bring the magic of theatre into the classroom and inspired pupils as young as 5 to take part in the arts.
The West Midlands – particularly areas around Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall – are recognised by Arts Council England as significantly lacking in arts engagement. Projects like ‘Introduction to Pantomime’ are designed to address this cultural deprivation by providing access to the arts from a young age. This will hopefully give the young participants a passion for the arts which will continue to flourish as the children grow.
In 2017, we visited over 25 schools many of whom then brought a group to the Theatre to experience the Panto first hand. This will further encourage the pupils to have a passion for theatre.
Headsets (May 2017)
Last year, we raised £9,500 to buy state of the art headsets for patrons with hearing and vision impairments.
These headsets significantly improve our services to the local community of blind, visually impaired and hard of hearing people as they offer crisp Show Relays and utilise live Audio Description for our fantastic shows.
The Show Relay is mix of audio feeds from the sound desk of a performance which patrons can tune in to and is available at every performance. This clarifies music, sound effects and vocal lines involved in the shows and is of particular importance for those with poor hearing to never miss a moment.
Audio Description is a supplementary live commentary of the action. Before the show, the describer commences an introduction that covers cast descriptions and details about costumes and set. We offer Audio Described performances usually once a month. This option is important for our blind and visually impaired patrons to give them the full theatre experience.
These headsets are free to use for any patron visiting the Grand and their simple design means they are very easy to work. For information on our other supported performances, please visit our Access pages.
Trusts & Foundations
We are extremely grateful to the following charitable trusts and foundations who have supported our fundraising projects this year:
The Oakley Charitable Trust
The PB Dumbell Charitable Trust
The Rowlands Trust
The Roger & Douglas Turner Charitable Trust
Baron Davenport’s Charity
CB & HH Taylor 1984 Trust
The Grimmitt Trust
The Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust
The William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust
The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
The James Beattie Charitable Trust
The Saintbury Trust
For more information please contact John Harrison, our Fundraising Manager, on 01902 573320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.