Big names set for Marine Hall

Circus of Horrors
Circus of Horrors

An exciting new programme of shows for Fleetwood’s Marine Hall has been unveiled today.

And Wyre Council says the package of attractions for 2012 is the venue’s most ambitious for many years.

Chris Walney, the new general manager at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood, and Thornton Little Theatre.

Chris Walney, the new general manager at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood, and Thornton Little Theatre.

Wyre says that the selection of artistes underlines the faith it has in the venue it has hailed as one of the ‘jewels in its crown’.

Last year the authority firmly quashed persistent but false rumours that the 1930s hall was to be sold off.

Under the direction of new general manager Chris Walne (pictured), the seafront hall will be playing host to major children’s favourites such as Chris and Pui, who are the number one double act on the CBeebies channel.

Another big draw for the kids is Bob the Builder Live, while teenage heart throbs Twenty Twenty are one of the nation’s up-and-coming boy bands.

And for the adults there are names such as top medium Derek Acorah; The Searchers, featuring original members of the sixties Mersey Beat favourites; and Joan Armatrading, the Grammy-nominated singer songwriter.

Direct from America will come composer and singing legend Gerard Kenny, while the gruesomely popular Circus of Horrors also heads into town.

Established favourites such as the Fylde Folk Festival are already re-booked for 2012.

Mr Walne, who is originally from Thornton, said: “As the new venue manager at Marine Hall it is my priority to build the reputation of the venue and to secure some big name acts for the upcoming season.

“As well as great names from the UK we’ve got tours coming over from the USA.

“I’m really excited about the family shows we have coming up in summer – Bob the Builder, Chris and Pui and Little Big Club Live are firm family favourites and it’s great to see them coming to Fleetwood.

“I look forward to welcoming more names to the venue over the next few years as we establish Fleetwood on the tour circuit.”

Mr Walne, 51, is a former actor and singer who performed in West End musicals and TV dramas before moving into management.

He helped to establish the Blackpool Grand Youth Theatre and went onto enjoy a successful spell as events manager at Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Later he was the general manager at Haigh Hall, an Edwardian mansion near Wigan which plays host to large-scale concerts by UK and international stars, and more recently he went into hotel management.

In addition to his role at the Marine Hall, he is also the new general manager of Thornton Little Theatre.

He added: “While I am particularly keen to support community use and non-professional companies, my main aim is to ensure that the Marine Hall and Thornton Little Theatre are commercially successful and attract the biggest names possible.”

Coun Lynne Bowen, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure at Wyre Council comments: “This next twelve months is a really exciting time for Marine Hall and we are on track for putting the venue on the map as a top place for entertainment.

“It’s great to be able to announce such a strong programme for spring and summer and I’m sure people will be pleasantly surprised when they see some of the big names coming to Fleetwood.

“The line up is a great mix of variety, music and performance for all ages and shows just how much we are investing in the venue to make it a success.”

Also re-booked this year is the Fleetwood Beer Festival, celebrating its 30th year in business and to be staged on February 9-11.

This week the Festival Committee are in negotiations with Mr Walne for continued use of the hall after this year.