Having undergone a multimillion pound transformation Blackpool has opened its tower attraction, which now includes a 4D cinema. I visited the tower this autumn and it was amazing, having never been up the tower as a child and finally plucking the courage to reach the summit we happily purchased tickets.
Some people find Blackpool to be quite cliché, and ‘kiss me quick’ but I find it can be quite funny and enjoyable especially now they have added the Dungeons and Madame Tussauds. Once you walk into the entrance of the tower there is a small cafe which looks out over the promenade and numerous stairs and obviously a lift, walking through the entrance you can see traces of the steelwork peeping through corners.
The 4D cinema is something I haven’t experienced before, going through to a rather obscure room where you stand leaning against a backrest. Having picked up 4D glasses at the entrance we wait for people to settle and the film begins. Its a sensory, visual extravaganza bringing signature Blackpool smells as well as blasts of air and water, to create the 4D experience. The performance here is something new and interesting to me, I feel like the technology helped transform the cinema experience rather than just a standard screen. Performance is innovative, interesting and all about transforming people expectations.
After a small gallery of items collected from the construction of the tower and over the years you are greeted by a lift door. Getting into the lift you soon realise this is part of the performance, either its been decorated to look like a service lift, or its actually a service lift! There are windows for you too look out on while rising to the top, and once you reach the summit the doors open onto a glass floor. This is the tower walkway, where you see the newly decorate promenade featuring popular comedy quotes, this is also another performance in itself, with near enough wall to floor glass it gives the illusion of floating, and its an uneasy feeling I’ve not experienced before. However I did pluck up the courage to sit on the glass and even lie down! Once you had walked around the highest point in the tower a return journey back down in the lift awaits. But I’m glad I had the experience. I chose to use Blackpool Tower as it held a number of the performance I could utilise, the 4D cinema experience, the lift and the glass walkway each have their own different ‘performance’ types so it made the space unique.
Historical, Economic, Political, Technological, Social? – Historical and Technological, Blackpool Tower has been around since 1894. Its development over the years provides an opportunity for expansion and bringing in new technology, so trying to attract new visitors using a 4D cinema experience is a modern step forward.
Did the activities reflect the culture of the time? – Yes, I think the development in technology and the new attractions create somewhat of a tourist site, and bring a new experience to people, the 4D cinema is something new and ‘relives’ Blackpool’s history.
Positive or Negative attention? – Positive, bringing a new generation to Blackpool boosting their local economy.
Spectating vs. Participating? – Participation, you pay to get a trip up the tower and across the glass walkway, as well as viewing the brand new 4D Blackpool cinema experience. You get sprayed with water from the sea, bubbles from the circus and the stench of donkeys from the beach.
Is performance there to keep people occupied or happy? – It’s there to keep visitors to the seaside town occupied and happy, by providing them with something they wouldn’t necessarily have ever experienced before.
How does it relate to my project work? – The 4D cinema experience is amazing, but I can’t think of anything that could be used as the narrative. Blackpool’s Tower is it’s signature, the construction and development of the resort is at the heart of the town whereas Preston doesn’t necessarily have something special that stands out. If it does I haven’t found it.