Comedian Jason Manford is the latest big name to announce he will be hitting the stage at The Meres leisure centre in Grantham.
The popular comedian is appearing at Grantham’s biggest live entertainment venue, Meres Live, in March next year. as the venue continues to grow its reputation among comic, TV and dance acts.
Strictly Come Dancing Stars Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara’s show Remembering Fred began its tour at The Meres earlier this month while comic Ross Noble and Icons of the 80s stars Go West and T’Pau have graced the Meres Live stage already this year.
In many cases the stars perform at lower prices at Meres Live with the same tour show compared with theatres around the country.
Giovanni Pernice’s Dance Is Life is next up on Friday, June 30, and TV’s favourite outspoken comic Jimmy Carr has his third gig at the venue on September 8.
The venue’s continued success is down to providing a warm welcome and listening and adapting to acts’ and customers’ expectations says SKDC’s venues and facilities manager Paul Stokes.
He oversees each event along with SKDC’s Guildhall Arts Centre and Leisure and Amenities teams and 1Life who run the leisure centre.
Paul said: “It’s testament to all the teams, led by programming from Graham Burley our Team Leader for Cultural Services, that our reputation at The Meres as a place to watch great shows continues to grow.
“Acts, their agents, riders and technical personnel increasingly comment on our friendly approach and the improvements they see backstage when they return to the venue and particularly because it isn’t just another performance venue.
“They like that we adapt The Meres so easily for a gig or evening’s entertainment and love the location and accessibility being close to the A1 and that we are so convenient to book as part of tours.
“The dance based acts also know that we have a flexible seating plan so we can leave room for audience members to get up and join in the fun!
“Our customers also tell us how much they love the access of the venue with all the free parking and how it provides so much more of a close knit venue to see their favourite entertainers compared with the huge venues in the cities.”
A production of Dirty Dancing arrives on Friday, October 13, Big Girls Don’t Cry features on Saturday, November 11, and the maverick comic Milton Jones performs on Saturday, December 2.
From the first Meres Live event back in 2010 the venue is increasingly on the radar of dance, arts and TV figures because of the way the venue can adapt so easily with different size stages and backdrops.
Grantham and the surrounding area’s hotels, bed and breakfasts and restaurants are also benefiting as more and more show goers choose to stay over when attending The Meres Live.
Paul added: “Jimmy and his comic friends like the venue and yes at times acts like him might mock the leisure centre setting in their script but they love it enough to come back time and again!
“It’s our staff’s efforts and attitude that really grow the reputation though. They do whatever they can to help each show run smoothly. They don’t just direct acts and help move equipment behind the scenes but are versatile, becoming assistants front and back stage or whatever else the shows demand.
“Group entertainers are always pushing to come back because we work differently to bigger theatres, we just have more time to adapt to the needs of acts compared to that of some of the more traditional venues.
“Our Box Office has seen big changes too to cope with the demands of audiences that come from all over the region and further afield including repeat bookings from customers in London, Warwick and many other places throughout the country.
“We can also charge that little less than a city theatre as our teams become ever more skilled at dealing with the expectations of the acts and our customers.
“When Aljaz and Janette were here tickets were £30. A night later in Blackpool they were £49. We’re keen to offer great value wherever we can.
“We want to do everything bigger and better but retain that friendly charm that this is The Meres where people know you’ll always get a great welcome.
“We continue to learn though and adapt to what people expect to see when they come to a big name show and our ambitions are to only attract a higher and higher calibre of act to further boost the local economy.”
Jason Manford plays The Meres Live on March 9 2018 and tickets for his and all up coming shows are available at www.guildhallartscentre.com