Jason Manford to host virtual Royal Variety Performance

Jason Manford/Blackpool Opera House

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Paul Genty

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This year's show will also feature Sheridan Smith and Michael Ball

Manchester comedian Jason Manford is to join actress Sheridan Smith and West End and Broadway star Marisha Wallace in this year’s Royal Variety Performance at Blackpool Opera House

This year’s show will take place with a virtual audience and also appearing will be Samantha Barks and Michael Ball. It will be the first time in just under a decade that the Royal performance, on November 29, has come from Blackpool.

The theatrical event will be edited to a shortened version for broadcast on ITV1 a couple of weeks later and then throughout the world over Christmas and New Year.

Jason Manford will be the show’s host, while Smith will perform as Cilla Black in a number from Cilla the Musical, and Barks will sing a song from Frozen the Musical.

All artists and backstage crew will observe social-distancing and other safety measures, but the lockdown restrictions mean there will be no physical audience. For the first time the show will have a virtual theatre audience  -  the performers will be able to see audience members on screens across the stalls and circle.

In a normal year, tickets for the live theatre show can cost up to £420, the money from which supports care homes and assistance programmes run by organiser the Royal Variety Charity. This year you can join the virtual audience for a donation of as little as £10.

Anyone keen to be a member of the virtual audience can register here


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