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coronavirus pandemic

‘Wonderful news’ about Blackpool’s Grand Theatre! 150 150 mhamer

‘Wonderful news’ about Blackpool’s Grand Theatre!

Wonderful news to start the week! Grand Theatre Successful COVID-19 Recovery Grant - Blackpool Grand Theatre

Jimmy Cricket has welcomed the news that the Blackpool Grand Theatre is to get a government recovery grant.

It was suggested in August the theatre could close because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Management had warned the venue might have to shut unless the UK government intervened.

Like other provincial theatres, which depend largely on box office receipts to keep going, it has not received any income since the lockdown began.

Popular comedian Jimmy said at the time that the closure of the iconic theatre would be a “tragedy”.

But the theatre, which first opened in 1894, has succeeded in its application for £483,666 to the government’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant Scheme.

Jimmy described it on social media as “wonderful news”.

‘Absolute lifeline’

The grant aims to support the theatre while it is unable to open with consistently financially viable productions.

The theatre’s website said it would pay to keep a small staff team in place to look after the building and its business until 31 March 2021. 

It will also underwrite the cost of unavoidable job losses and preparations to reopen with covid-secure provisions in place.

Additionally, it would help to rebuild the theatre’s reserves and enable it to return to full operation when possible.

Tony Stone, chairman of the charity which operates the Grand, said: “We are beyond grateful to be awarded this grant by the Government.

“It is an absolute lifeline. Since March we have been unable to earn any income as shows have cancelled or postponed.

“This additional grant makes the difference between permanent closure and the potential to return when it is safe and viable to do so.”

‘Fantastic grant’

John Grady, chairman of the Friends of the Grand, said: “In normal times we stuff envelopes, tear tickets and sell coffee to thousands of loyal customers.

“Since March we have been unable to support our favourite theatre as it has been unable to open.

“We realise that we still don’t know when this will be possible.

“But this fantastic grant will, at least, mean that we can prepare to return when circumstances allow.”

Ruth Eastwood, the theatre’s chief executive, welcomed the news “with very mixed feelings”.

‘Tremendous support’

She said the entire team were at risk of redundancy and in consultation about reduced terms and conditions of employment.

“With no work and no place of work available to our 57-strong team and the Furlough scheme ending, we have no choice but to reduce the headcount at the theatre,” she explained.

“This is to ensure we can slow down the speed with which cash is flowing out of our reserves.

“I’d like to thank my dedicated and hard-working team, plus board members and volunteers, for their tremendous support and forbearance at this difficult time.”

Also read: Losing the Grand Theatre in Blackpool would be a ‘tragedy’

Lyndene return: Wonderful to get back to ‘normality’ 150 150 mhamer

Lyndene return: Wonderful to get back to ‘normality’

Was wonderful to get back to what seemed like a sense of normality tonight, at the #LyndeneHotel while social distancing and washing hands!

Jimmy Cricket was delighted to return to his favourite Blackpool hotel recently.

The famous Northern Irish comedian has been appearing at the popular Lyndene Hotel for several years.

He was scheduled to do two shows a night on 23 dates during 2020.

However, the summer performances could not go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government placed the United Kingdom into lockdown in late March.

But the reopening of hotels and other entertainment venues meant Jimmy could return to the Lyndene at last.

And he was clearly happy after his first show back there last week.

Jimmy, 74, said: “Was wonderful to get back to what seemed like a sense of normality tonight, at the #LyndeneHotel while social distancing and washing hands! 🎭

His return was also welcomed on social media, where the comments included:

  • Well done Jimmy Cricket people need to laugh and forget the negativity of what’s happening, looking forward to seeing you at the Comedy Lounge
  • Well done and welcome back!
  • Bravo Jimmy 👏 👏 👏 Many more to come i hope.👍
  • Make em laugh Jimmy , just what the Doc ordered
Two or three acts usually perform twice per night, once each in different lounges at the Lyndene.
Every night of the year

The Lyndene Hotel, perched on the seafront, is one of Blackpool’s unique venues as it welcomes tourists and visitors all year round.

Jimmy Cricket will do a New Year's Eve show at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool

Its website says that it offers more than 141 fully equipped and tastefully decorated en suite bedrooms.

“The Lyndene Hotel offers superb compered entertainment EVERY NIGHT of the year,” it adds.

Jimmy is in his FIFTH season at the Lyndene Hotel.

See this year’s dates below* and visit the hotel’s website here.

* Note that any scheduled dates for the rest of 2020 are subject to change or cancellation depending on measures imposed during the pandemic.Returning to what has become my second home working alongside many talented singers and old friends like @MALFORDUK , my thanks goes to Claire @TowerTopEnts and @LyndeneHotel the Manager Paul, and all the Team members for their hospitality and support over the last four years

Bridlington Spa: Back from lockdown to laughing! 150 150 mhamer

Bridlington Spa: Back from lockdown to laughing!

Jimmy Cricket is back at the Bridlington Spa later this month.

Looking forward to my return visit to the wonderful #SpaTheatreBridlington as they reopen their doors with social distancing in place!

The popular Northern Irish comedian appears at the East Yorkshire venue on Sunday 27 September (6pm).

Jimmy posted about his return to the theatre on social media.

He said: “Looking forward to my return visit to the wonderful #SpaTheatreBridlington as they reopen their doors with social distancing in place”

The theatre’s website says the following about Jimmy’s return:

Game on….Cricket is back!

It is Jimmy Cricket – the Comedian, with his inimitable style of humour, headlining in what is always a family friendly show, at Bridlington Spa on Sunday the 27th of September 2020.

Jimmy Cricket is one of the UK’s most loved Irish Comedians, having made a host of televisions and radio appearances throughout the last four decades.

Jimmy says, “This virus has cost the lives of so many people and brought untold heartache and misery to their families.

“It’s going to take a while for us all to get over this.

Economically theatres have been hit especially hard so it’s so good to see the Spa Theatre opening its doors to help keep people’s spirits up during these difficult times.”

Speaking of which, when the total lockdown came into effect in March Jimmy posted a joke a day on social media, (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin), to cheer everybody up.

Government guidelines

“Before I knew it I’d done 100 jokes,” said Jimmy.

“So I thought that would be a good goal to finish on.

“You can’t beat the feedback you get from a live audience and the Spa is one of my favourite theatres.

“The show will follow Government guidelines.

“People will keep two Wellie Boot strides away from each other and even the letter from my Mammy will be disinfected.

“Even though there will be restrictions on numbers with seating spaced out, families will be able to sit together. I’m so looking forward to it.”

Indoor theatres, ice rinks and soft play centres were allowed to reopen in mid-August as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

The government placed the United Kingdom into lockdown in late March.

Some areas still have tougher measures in place than others.

Book tickets for the show here

Also read: Jimmy Cricket thanks everyone at the Bridlington Spa

Coronavirus pandemic: The next jam night is cancelled 150 150 mhamer

Coronavirus pandemic: The next jam night is cancelled

Pictures from one of Jimmy's jam nights in 2019

Pictures from one of Jimmy’s jam nights in 2019

Jimmy Cricket has cancelled the next scheduled ‘jam’ night at a parish centre in Rochdale because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He says in a message to regular show goers he has made the decision “with great sadness”.

But he adds: “We will continue to monitor the situation and we hope to be able to resume our shows as soon as it is safe to do so!”

It comes amid the continuing restrictions first imposed in March across the UK because of coronavirus.

Famous funnyman Jimmy and his wife May host an night of entertainment every couple of months in Rochdale.

It takes place in the lounge area of St Vincent’s RC parish centre in Norden.

They invite different guests who perform free of charge.

It started more than a decade ago as an opportunity for Jimmy and other performers to try out new routines.

At every event,  there is a raffle and the selling of refreshments, with all proceeds donated to a chosen charity.

The popular comedian has nicknamed those who regularly support these evenings as ‘Jimmy’s Jammers’.

Jimmy has in the past few years alternated hosting the jam nights with good friend and fellow entertainer Eric Devereaux.

‘Unprecedented times’

He messaged the regular jammers this weekend to confirm the planned show in September had been cancelled.

There have not been any shows for the past six months because of coronavirus.

His message read:

“Hi Jammers

We hope everyone is safe and healthy, and that you have managed to keep your spirits up, and have not let the isolation get you down to much!

Just an update in regard to the lockdown situation.

We are indeed living in unprecedented times, never before in the history of showbusiness has all Variety Acts and Theatres ever had to cancel all their shows for the safety of the audience!

This is why our shows at St Vincent’s Parish Centre has not been able to go ahead folks!

Most of us fall into the vulnerable age group, so it is with great sadness that we have to cancel the September 2020 show.

We will continue to monitor the situation and we hope to be able to resume our shows as soon as it is safe to do so!

Meanwhile stay safe and we all look forward to the day when this is but a memory for us all, as we consign it to the history books!

Sending Love and Best Wishes to you all from

Jimmy & May & Eric & Gloria & Kath & Pauline”

Also read: Rochdale jam night is ‘lovely charity evening’

Coronavirus pandemic: We can do this together!

Jovial joker Jimmy joins Jive Aces for ‘JiveStream’ 150 150 mhamer

Jovial joker Jimmy joins Jive Aces for ‘JiveStream’

Hi folks! Why not join us this coming Monday on Facebook, as six aces and a joker share some chat and swing live on Facebook, looking forward to working again with these internationally acclaimed group of guys, (Ian, Vince, John, Alex, Ken, Peter), the Jive Aces

Jimmy Cricket is joining the Jive Aces as a special guest on their daily virtual show.

The UK music band present a ‘JiveStream’ every day during the coronavirus lockdown.

Tomorrow’s episode (Monday 3 August) will be their 140th and features our Jimmy.

The performance begins at 8.30pm.

Popular comic Jimmy tweeted: “Hi folks! Why not join us this coming Monday on Facebook, as six aces and a joker share some chat and swing live on Facebook.

“Looking forward to working again with these internationally acclaimed group of guys, (Ian, Vince, John, Alex, Ken, Peter).”

The Jive Aces say ‘JiveStream’ is “an hour of swingin’ music, quality banter, celebrity call-ins, prize draw giveaways and utter stupidity every day during the lock from 8:30pm UK time”.

You can watch the show on YouTube, Facebook or Twitch at the links below:

http://www.facebook.com/jiveaces/live

http://www.youtube.com/jiveaces/live

http://www.twitch.tv/jiveaces

Wikipedia says the band have long been recognised as one of the top swing bands in the world.

They have performed in more than 40 countries.

The June 2015 issue of Vintage Rock magazine described the group as the “UK’s number one jive and swing band”.

The six-member group were formed in 1989 and were Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists in 2012.

They have released 11 albums and performed at numerous music festivals.

Also read: Tea on the green in Exeter with the Jive Aces

Hi folks! Why not join us this coming Monday on Facebook, as six aces and a joker share some chat and swing live on Facebook, looking forward to working again with these internationally acclaimed group of guys, (Ian, Vince, John, Alex, Ken, Peter), called the Jive Aces

Jimmy’s plea to fellow funnymen to help save live comedy 150 150 mhamer

Jimmy’s plea to fellow funnymen to help save live comedy

To all professional comedians, join the challenge to post a photo of you in your job. Just a picture, no description. The goal is to flood social media with our profession. Copy the text and post Performing arts #savelivecomedy

Save Live Comedy
Jimmy Cricket has been encouraging his fellow comedians to help save live comedy.
A survey conducted in June 2020 suggested the comedy industry was on the brink of collapse.
It revealed a third of comedy venues believe they will be forced to close within the next six months.
And over 45% of the industry have seriously thought about leaving comedy because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are claims it runs the risk of being forgotten by emergency government arts funding.
People are being urged to sign an open letter to the UK government.

The Save Comedy Live website says it believes that comedy is art and should be treated as such.

It asks for several things, including that comedy is treated on a par with the rest of the performing arts sector by government and funding bodies.

This includes having the same access to the Cultural Rescue Package.

It also requests a clear timeline for reopening venues without social distancing, taking into account official guidance.

‘Flood social media’

The fear is that if live comedy industry is not supported immediately, the sector will risk disappearing as an art form.

Famous Northern Irish funnyman Jimmy tweeted: “To all professional comedians, join the challenge to post a photo of you in your job.

“Just a picture, no description. The goal is to flood social media with our profession. Copy the text and post Performing arts#savelivecomedy.”

Jimmy accompanied the words with the post above right featuring himself, Frank Carson, Duncan Norvelle, Norman Collier and Paul Adams.

The Live Comedy Association said: “British live comedy is in crisis – let’s #SaveLiveComedy!
“1) Sign the open letter to the UK government & arts funders at savelivecomedy.co.uk
“2) Tweet a memorable live comedy experience with the hashtag #SaveLiveComedy.”
British live comedy is in crisis - let’s #SaveLiveComedy!
Over and out as Cricket team hit century of videos 150 150 mhamer

Over and out as Cricket team hit century of videos

Jimmy Cricket is just 10 away from completing a century of his special daily video messages.Jimmy Cricket’s run of 100 daily video messages during the coronavirus restrictions is over.

The famous Northern Irish comedian hit the century mark on Wednesday (8 July) and will no longer do them every day.

He had been sending all his fans and friends togetherness posts each day as the world has fought coronavirus.

The UK government announced on 23 March it was imposing strict new curbs on life in the UK.

However, the restrictions for the Covid-19 lockdown are starting to be relaxed nationwide.

Jimmy has been posting the videos on social media with the message: “We can do this together!”

He had posted his first video the day before the lockdown and has attempted to give them topical themes.

Jimmy told a few jokes in the clip and urged people to help each other in these tough times.

He said: “Once we get though this, at the end of the tunnel, we’ll all have a great big huddle together.”

Jimmy Cricket's self-isolating message just before the start of the lockdown. He now sends daily video messages

Jimmy decided a while ago to halt the videos at 100.

He reached the memorable milestone saying: “Hi folks, countdown complete, Hundred points symbol jokes.

“My thanks to @KatieMulg for the original idea to perform my Twitter jokes

“It’s been an absolute joy and pleasure to entertain you on a daily basis! #StayAlert” Rainbow

Watch post number 100 here.

In May, Jimmy penned a special message to all his fans, friends and followers.

In it, he said: “It was my youngest daughter Katie who suggested I do a joke each day on social media not long after the lockdown had kicked in.

“Before we knew it, we’d got to day 54 when one of our Facebookers suggested I go for the 100 jokes.

“His name was Paul Ritchie and I bought into his idea right away.

“After all, I can’t go on indefinitely.

‘Phenomenal job’

“I put on my character costume of tail coat, hat and wellingtons and do them in weekly batches of seven and just drop them in each day one at a time.

“Mrs Cricket’s the one behind the camera and she does a phenomenal job.

“I’m constantly astounded how good the quality is on her iPhone.

“I try to make them relevant to what’s happening in the news.

“I’m thrilled by the emails and texts I get from people telling me how much I cheer them up.”

Also read: Coronavirus pandemic: We can do this together!

Watch video of Jimmy’s lockdown lament