UK Cabaret Clubs
This month we preview a new show, which is being touted as a replacement for the once popular Blackpool Clubland Command show. This new event will serve as a curtain-raiser for the Club & Institute Union Blackpool conference. Mark Ritchie talks to C&IU official Nathan Clarke.
We can exclusively reveal that C&IU officials recently approached producers at Showcase Productions to put a show together, which is to be staged at The Viva Cabaret Theatre in Blackpool on April 14th.
C&IU National Executive Committee member Nathan Clarke told us: ’It is intended that this show should replace the former Blackpool Command Show’. ‘I am coordinating and arranging the show along with Showcase Productions and we want to give C&IU delegates and friends another reason to come to Blackpool for what promises to be a great conference’.
The original Blackpool Command shows were produced in the past by agent Claude Hunter, who sadly is no longer with us. Mr Hunter was succeeded as show producer by Brian Cliff, who has also since passed away. Blackpool club-man Alan Pilborough was formerly involved in the old Blackpool Command Show but Alan, who is himself a UK Cabaret magazine subscriber and publishes The Seasider magazine on the Fylde coast, told us he is not involved in this new incarnation of the C&IU show.
The Command show was once seen as a prestige event for Clubland artistes to have on their CV and I myself was invited to act as Compere for the show back in 2000. It certainly does not seem like 23-years ago. It’s all gone by in a flash, but I remember the audience that night being extremely loud and boisterous, right from the moment the curtain went up, until the predictably late finish at The Horseshoe Bar at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, where the show was staged back then.
I was also asked on a few occasions to cover the Command show, in review form, for my former employers at The Stage newspaper. The club sector in general has never engaged much with the people at The Stage. There was never any dedicated space and scant coverage for much in the way of light entertainment, aside from an occasional ‘light entertainment round-up’ during my whole time involved with the London-based publication. The Stage has, in my view, drifted even further away from light entertainment these days and that is very much up to them.
In sharp contrast, UK Cabaret website at www.ukcabaret.com is hit by many thousands of light entertainment devotees every week. Thanks to the wonders of Google analytic, we know exactly how many people are looking at our output. In fact, you may be reading this online as, aside from appearing in the March magazine edition, we have also posted this article on our web-site.
Hopefully we can build a stronger relationship with Nathan Clarke and his colleagues as C&IU makes further strides in its reach for inclusively, democracy and marketing.