Blackpool Grand Theatre announces the death of former Chief Executive, Ruth Eastwood

25 June 2024 by Michelle

​With deep sadness, Blackpool Grand Theatre​ announces the death of Ruth Eastwood, aged 62, former Chief Executive, who served the theatre with distinction and dedication. Ruth died peacefully last Friday, 31 May 2024, surrounded by her family.

Blackpool Grand Theatre announces the death of former Chief Executive, Ruth Eastwood

Ruth Eastwood’s tenure as Chief Executive from July 2013 to March 2022 marked a transformative period for Blackpool Grand Theatre

Her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to the arts revitalised the theatre and significantly contributed to the cultural landscape of Blackpool and beyond.

Adam Knight, Blackpool Grand Theatre Chief Executive released a statement on behalf of all the team: 
It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Ruth Eastwood, whose influence on Blackpool Grand Theatre and the broader arts community was profound and far-reaching. Ruth was a beacon of passion and dedication, who brought vibrancy and innovation to our beloved theatre.
She was not only a remarkable Chief Executive but also a mentor, a colleague, and a dear friend. Her legacy of championing the arts, fostering inclusivity, and nurturing talent will continue to inspire us all.
Ruth’s staunch focus on enriching the cultural fabric of Blackpool has left an indelible mark, and she will be deeply missed by everyone whose lives she touched. Our deepest condolences go out to her partner, Roger, and her family during this difficult time.
Ruth Eastwood with Cheryl Fergison
Ruth Eastwood with Cheryl Fergison

Ruth had a passion for inclusivity and community engagement

Under Ruth’s guidance, Blackpool Grand Theatre saw a resurgence in both programming and attendance. Her passion for inclusivity and community engagement brought diverse and innovative productions to the stage, making the theatre a hub for artistic excellence and a welcoming space for all. 

Ruth’s strategic initiatives included the development of educational programmes, outreach projects, and partnerships with local and national arts organisations, including LeftCoast CPP of which she was a founding board member.

Ruth was instrumental in supporting so many of the team during the Pandemic and worked tirelessly in the fight for the arts in Lancashire and the re-opening of the Theatre.

Anthony Stone, Chair of Blackpool Grand Theatre (Arts & Entertainments) Ltd until January 2024 reflected: 
I was privileged to have been involved with the appointment of Ruth to the role of Chief Executive of our Theatre, a decision that proved to be one that moved the organisation from a local resource, to one of national importance. Ruth was devoted to The Grand and its success, and responsible for ensuring its survival through the dark days of Covid. Ruth was a delight to work with, who became a good friend, and I will miss her immensely.
Ruth Eastwood with Roger Lloyd Jones campaiging to save the Grand
Ruth Eastwood with Roger Lloyd Jones campaiging to support the Grand
Alistair Armit and Bryan Lindop, current Chairs of Blackpool Grand Theatre’s respective governing charities expressed the Trustees’ collective condolences: 
Ruth Eastwood was a remarkable leader whose legacy will be felt for generations to come. Her dedication to the Grand Theatre and her tireless efforts to promote the arts have left an indelible mark on our community. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family during this difficult time.
Former Chair of Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust, Roger Lloyd Jones added: 
Ruth’s experience and support was invaluable. We shared exciting times during which Blackpool Grand celebrated our 125th Anniversary, including a Royal visit, and completed the purchase of the original footprint of the Theatre building, a long-held ambition. The Trustees and I, many of whom joined at the same time as Ruth, greatly valued her experience, good counsel, and friendship. Our deepest sympathies are with her partner, Roger, and her family.
Linda Tolson MBE, founding member of The Friends of The Grand said: 
Ruth was a remarkable woman, combining a deep knowledge and understanding of theatre with a keen business sense. She was fearless in her pursuit of what she knew to be right for The Grand.
Neil Darlison, Director of Theatre at Arts Council England said: 
We were so very sorry to hear news about the passing of Ruth. She was known and respected by many, right across the industry as a generous cultural leader whose impact and influence was widely felt. Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends at this sad time.

Blackpool Grand Theatre will in time, and in consideration of Roger’s wishes, be planning a suitable celebration of the life of Ruth Eastwood who contributed so much to this wonderful theatre. 

This will give friends, colleagues, and community members the opportunity to remember her remarkable achievements and lasting impact.

Ruth Eastwood with the Duchess of Edinburgh
Ruth Eastwood with the Duchess of Edinburgh

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