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Its Lift Off at The Criterion Blue Town

Swale Tourism
17th March 2022

The latest from Jenny Hurkett, manager and founder at The Criterion Blue Town which is the home of Blue Town Heritage Centre, Music Hall stage and regular entertainment, Tea Room, Gift Shop and so much more...

"After 2 years of fund raising and many setbacks our lift will be installed on the 21st of March.

We have invested heavily in this because our whole building will now be accessible and we can share the story of Blue Town, the Criterion Music Hall, and Sheerness Dockyard. We feel strongly that tourism takes two forms visitors and residents and so we have rewritten our plans to meet the needs of both sectors.

Coach companies like coming here because we are a one stop shop for a day out which offers heritage and entertainment as well as food all in an authentic music hall and nestled by a historic dockyard. Our venue has flexible seating and now being totally disabled friendly we are picking up bookings form many more groups who can’t access live entertainment as a group.

Our community offer for residents has been developed in partnership with many organisations working with the elderly. Our latest venture is to put all these activities and more into a new package which we are calling a “Vintage Youth club”.
Some of the activities are serious and based around our heritage offer, family history workshops, research and ship repairing, and a discussion group called Grumpies. Others are linked to entertainment, we have a ukulele club, a community cinema, and a very senior school disco with school dinners.

Our health and wellbeing sessions will start after Easter with talks, keep fit sessions with cheerleading and pom poms as well as belly dancing. All of these are aimed at the young at heart and are proving very popular as they are fun and inexpensive.

It is so good to see the building being used and generating so much laughter, goodwill and income".

Jenny Hurkett in the new lift at The Criterion Blue Town - Enabling Access Throughout Blue Town Heritage Centre

The entertainment programmed for 2022 continues to evolve with the welcome return of 'Mickie Driver & Pearly Productions Presenting The Fabulous 50’s' for six performances in May ahead of which you can enjoy Fabulous 40's from Bing to Swing with the hottest little big band in the south 'New Foxtrot Serenaders Jazz' on the 2nd April.

There are also plans for a St George's Day Tea on 23rd April so follow The Criterion Facebook, check on the The Criterion Website or become a Friend of The Criterion to receive updates.

Access to Friends-Only Events

Our Gold Friends get free entrance to the heritage centre and free entrance to our new Friends Friday film club.

We have now set our community cinema up as a film club rather than trying to compete with the major cinema chains. When we set the community cinema up years ago, we could get films before they went to DVD or on television. This has changed so much that sometimes the film is in the shops before we are allowed to get the license to show it. So, if you like films and enjoy the atmosphere at The Criterion, then join us on a Friday afternoon to see classic and new films chosen by Friends of the centre.

The Gold membership allows our special film club members access to Friends-only events. Find out about these via our e-newsletter and our special Friends page on the website. We will give you the access code to this page when you join. Existing members will be given this code. We have some special family films in the summer holidays.

This membership costs only £10 a year or £15 per couple. The form is on our website, or you can collect one from the centre. To help save costs, we will need your email so that you can receive regular e-newsletters and renewal updates.

Forthcoming Shows

Inside The Criterion Blue Town - Ready to welcome YOU!

The official tourism website for the Swale area North Kent.