Sir Ian McKellen and John Bishop have been presented with seat plaques in Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s auditorium following a triumphant run of the pantomime, Mother Goose, which played from 22 – 26 February 2023 - securing their place in the Grand Theatre history books.
Playing the title role of Mother Goose, Ian McKellen had played the Grand Theatre once before, 52 years previously in the 1971 production of Hamlet, of which he can remember the theatre, explaining the beauty of it was one of the many reasons the Mother Goose pantomime should play here.
Ian McKellen said; “I was first here and last here in 1971 playing Hamlet. I don’t remember the audience it’s true because we played a lot of performances up and down the country but I do remember the theatre. This is one of the most beautiful theatres in the country. I would say to people, keep on loving this theatre and looking after it and supporting other people who come and work here, it’s an absolute joy.”
John Bishop said; “I’ve been to Wolverhampton before and performed elsewhere but I have to say this is a gem of a theatre. It’s a theatre that is obviously so well supported and we’ve had a great week.”
The Grand Theatre enjoyed packed audiences for the week of shows, which received a string of five star reviews and nightly standing ovations. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has a rich history of pantomime, dating back 129 years with a pantomime opening just two weeks after the opening night in December 1894. Mother Goose formed a crucial part of the programme for the theatre that has taken the producing of its Christmas pantomime in-house and is building an increasingly enthusiastic attendance for the pantomime genre.
Chief Executive and Artistic Director at the Grand Theatre Adrian Jackson said; “it was an absolute pleasure to host the Mother Goose company in Wolverhampton. The show itself was a huge celebration of all aspects of pantomime and to see it received so warmly in February, by which point panto is usually a distant memory, is hugely encouraging. We had to mark such a momentous occasion and in particular, thank both Ian McKellen and John Bishop for their enthusiasm for the Grand Theatre and generosity towards our audiences and staff, it has been joyous for all involved.”
For more information on auditorium seat plaques and supporting the future of the Grand Theatre, click here.
Photo credit: Scott Bird
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