A SPECIAL show is to be held on Saturday to celebrate the man who helped create East Lancashire’s busiest community theatre.

Celebrating Mr Sunshine will be held at Blackburn’s Empire Theatre, a tribute to Michael Berry, the theatre chairman who died in February at the age of 80.

Lancashire Telegraph: Chairman of Blackburn Empire Theatre Michael Berry

The line-up will include many performers and societies who had been associated with Michael during his 25-year connection to the venue on Aqueduct Road.

A theatre spokesman said Michael’s loss is still being felt by all of his Empire family.

“He was the driving force behind the theatre and it was very much his passion. It seemed truly fitting that the theatre should celebrate his life with a spectacular variety show involving as many of those who knew and worked with him as possible.

“Michael oversaw the development of the theatre from it being a disused shell of a building into the thriving community hub for the arts it is today.

“Over the years he was chiefly responsible for raising over a million pounds to make the theatre dream become a reality.

“He loved the theatre and he loved performing. He would often be found on stage, compering the weekly Monday Club or performing with the Go’s on tour at community halls and care homes across East Lancashire.”

A limited number of tickets for the show are still available on a ‘pay what you want’ basis. Theatregoers are being asked to consider a minimum donation of £10 and all proceeds from the show will go towards running costs for the theatre, a registered charity.

As part of the evening a memorial plaque to Michael will be unveiled by his widow Linda, the Empire’s honorary president, in the main auditorium.

“It promises to be a special night for a very special person,” said a theatre spokesman.

For tickets visit www.blackburnempire.com or contact the box office on 01254 685500.