The Actors Chapel
St Stephen on the Cliffs has always had a strong connection with Blackpool's entertainment world. This was strengthened when actors and artsites subscribed to create the world’s only Actors' Chapel. It was dedicated by the Right Revd Percy Herbert, Bishop of Blackburn on 2 September 1928.
The chapel features a reredos with a double procession of carved singers, dancers and musicians and Saint Genesius, the patron saint of actors above the marble altar. The side panels bear the names of theatrical benefactors, and many famous names can be seen, such as Noel Coward, George Formby, Arthur Askey Tessie O’Shea, Sybal Thorndike and Ivor Novello.
The additional panel, which bears the names of donors who were members of the theatrical profession, was unveiled by Gracie Fields in May 1929.
The marble floor in the chapel was given by in memory of Jennie, founder and teacher of the Tiller Girls.
The Actors’ Chapel has two magnificent stained-glass windows:
This window features a depiction of St Joan of Arc (one of the patron saints of France) with Reims Cathedral in the background and St George with St George's Chapel Windsor in the background. The window was given in 1934 in memory of Freida Huddlestone, the wife of John Huddlestone, the managing director of the Winter Gardens. Freida was French by birth, hence the depiction of St Joan.
The design of this unusual window attempts to express elements of the stage in their relation to the spiritual life of humility. The subject is taken from the old legend of the Quest for the Holy Grail.
The Holy Grail appears to the pure in heart, hence the central figure of Galahad, the knight of purity. The Holy Grail appears above him whilst singing angels kneel in the lower portions. There is also an adaptation of Parsifal representing opera and Everyman representing drama.
The window was given in memory of John Huddlestone, former managing director of the Winter Gardens company and John Tiller, the founder of the legendary Tiller Girls.
New lighting was installed in the chapel during 2019, designed to illuminate the intricacies of the altar and it’s reredos. This work was carried out in memory of Ken Dodd.