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Theatres in Devon

Devon has a splendid selection of theatres offering a range of performances from Shakespearean classics at Plymouth's Theatre Royal to who-dun-its and comedy farces performed by local theatre groups
Devon has a splendid selection of theatres offering a range of performances from Shakespearean classics at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal to who-dun-its and comedy farces performed by local theatre groups.

Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Devon’s best known theatre is the grand Theatre Royal in the centre of the city. It is the largest and best attended regional theatre in the UK. The main stage at the Theatre Royal always has an incredible program of entertainment featuring drama, musicals, opera and dance by major touring companies and local productions. Many tours transfer to the West End from Plymouth. The Theatre Royal launched the world tour of Disney’s Mary Poppins and staged the world premiere of Dorian Gray. Other successes include Othello, Measure for Measure and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Every New Year sees packed houses for the traditional family pantomime.

The smaller Drum Theatre has a reputation for producing high quality new works and promotes performances by the Theatre Royal’s Young Company.

Northcott Theatre, Exeter

The remains of Exeter’s Roman amphitheatre on Dane’s Hill are evidence of a long history of theatrical performances in the city. Strolling players kept the city entertained between the 13th and 18th centuries and finally a fixed theatre venue was opened upstairs at the Seven Stars Inn in 1721. Fires destroyed a number of theatres in Exeter, ending the potential of the New Theatre in 1820, the Theatre Royal in 1885 and again in 1887 when the naked gas jets set fire to the curtains.

The Northcott Theatre was funded by a Trust set up by Mr. G.V. Northcott in 1962. Those staying around Exeter should check out the program and book early, as popular performances often sell out well in advance.

Barnfield Theatre, Exeter

Exeter’s second theatre venue was converted from the Barnfield Hall on Southernhay. Run as a charity by Barnfield Theatre Ltd, it is the venue for the Exeter Little Theatre Company and various other amateur and professional groups. The Café Bar serves excellent lunches and the Colleton Bar opens one hour before performances.

Barbican Theatre, Plymouth

Situated on Southside in Plymouth’s historic Barbican waterfront district, this contemporary theatre produces mainly new works. It promotes the work of national small-scale touring theatre companies and contemporary dance in the 140-seat auditorium.

Babbacombe Theatre, Torquay

Situated on beautiful Babbacombe Downs, this popular theatre puts on highly acclaimed variety shows with something to suit all tastes. From talented comedians to hosting Torquay’s Got Talent, Babbacombe Theatre is one of the few unsubsidized theatres around.

Carlton Theatre, Teignmouth

Run by the Teignmouth Players Amateur Dramatic Society, the Carlton Theatre produces exceptional performances of a professional standard as well as providing a venue for touring professionals. From lively musicals to period dramas, the Carlton Theatre offers exceptional value for money.

South Devon Players Community Theatre, Brixham

This award-winning non-profit theatre specializes in performances based on local history and mythology of the area, offering something uniquely different for visitors to enjoy.

Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter

Opened in 2010, this cosy 50-seat theatre has a lovely retro cocktail bar which serves fantastic food. Dedicated to producing new writing and innovative work the Bike Shed Theatre often produces old classics with a new twist.

Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple

Barnstaple’s Queen’s Theatre is managed by the North Devon Theatre Trust, along with the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe. The former Corn Market, known as the Albert Hall, has housed a theatre since 1854. It was known for its opulent interior which was destroyed in a fire in 1941. Recently refurbished by Barnstaple Council it is now a beautiful venue worthy of the superb dramas, solo artists and cabaret shows it hosts.

Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe

The modern Landmark Theatre is in an iconic building consisting of two cones. The building remains controversial but there is no disputing that it puts on a great program of drama, classical music, opera, children’s shows, popular music, contemporary dance, ballet, visual arts and community events. The Rendezvous Bar has stunning sea views with a delightful terrace for informal dining and drinks.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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