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Palace Theatre, Paignton

Torbay's oldest working theatre, this grand old lady is full of life, with three-plus shows a week, and she knows how to put on a great party!

Weekend Escapes

Here’s a little theatre with a lotta soul, a Victorian beauty perched at the top of a leafy square in Paignton, hosting everything from plays, panto, musicals, ballet and children’s theatre, to comedy, afternoon teas and creative writing workshops. You can even hire out the whole theatre (very reasonably too) and get wed right on the stage, and with your own dressing room, daaaarling!

There’s always something going on here, with shows three-plus times a week, a box office open daily 11-3pm (and online), and the comings and goings of classes and workshops. It buzzes with life and love for the theatre, and with not a sniff of theatrical pretentiousness, and past headliners including Dom Joly, Lucy Worsley, Jeremy Vine, Griff Rhys Jones – excellent stuff.

New for 2022 – comedians Rich Hall and QI‘s Arthur Smith, Katrina & the Waves, Three Degrees and The South, along with their brand-new English Riviera Literature Festival, a three-day event for bookworms, featuring well-known local authors, including Sunday Times best-selling novelist Sarah Pearse and Twitter cop Harry Tangye.

There’s also a new space, Stage Left, a parquet-floored venue with a wall of rainbow-coloured books, where you can learn to chachacha with former-Strictly star, Flavia, make your Xmas wreath (if you’re quick, classes sell out super-quick), enjoy an afternoon tea dance, accompanied by a tinkling grand piano and a retro band and equally retro crockery, or hire it out for your own private bash.

For those who want a little ‘behind the scenes’, let Muddy tell you the positively punk, can-do attitude of the place is thanks largely to two amazing women, Maureen McAllister and Deirdre Makepeace, who with careers in tourism promotion behind them took the reins of this 380-seater from the local council when it came up for tender in 2018. Back then, its shows averaged 30% occupancy, now it’s a thriving cultural hub for the local community and beyond.

As the Great Bard (probably would have) said, “Don’t just sit there, get thee to Palace Theatre Paignton!”

This month in Devon

Palace Avenue, Paignton TQ3 3HF
01803 665800

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