About the Theatre

The atmosphere in this place, you can't beat! Stay kind to it and treasure it all you can ... "Bruce Forsyth


Although bands had performed during the summer on the site where Babbacombe Theatre now stands, it wasn't until 1920 that a small bandstand was built. This was followed in 1935 by a larger structure with a canvas awning and although an improvement on the alfresco concerts the inevitable wind and rain did its worst, so in 1938 the BABBACOMBE DOWNS CONCERT HALL was built and it remained virtually unchanged for almost 50 years, until the present management took over in 1986 when improvements started to be made to enable more lavish productions to be staged.
The Concert Hall was officially opened in brilliant sunshine by the Mayor (Councillor C.G. Price), attended by members of the Torquay Corporation Entertainments Committee & St. Marychurch & Babbacombe representatives of the Town council. The ratepayers of Torquay, at a cost of £8,000, funded the building project.

The very first concert here was on the afternoon of 27th May 1939 with the Earnest Gross Municipal Orchestra and BBC Baritone John Steabben, followed that evening by the opening night of the first summer show, Cabaret Revels with tickets at 3/-, 2/- and 6d. The first Sunday concert on 4th June was broadcast live on the radio with Redvers Llewellyn.

With the advent of World War II it was not long before entertainment had to give way to more important uses and the auditorium became a lecture hall for the air crew trainees of the RAF, although during this period there were various shows including those by ENSA and the RAF Flying Training Command Band. This wartime use was commemorated with a plaque presented by the local RAF Association, now on display in the theatre foyer.

Since the war the theatre had seen many years of successful summer shows and it has the reputation of hosting household names on the threshold of their careers, including in 1955/56 Bruce Forsyth, who headlined in the Hedley Claxton's 'Gaytime'. Other well known names include David Nixon, Ted Rogers, Ray Allen, Norman Vaughan and Roy Hudd.

From its heyday in the 1970's, successive failures in the early 1980's led to the council deciding to close the theatre, however Colin Matthews, who had been operating the theatre since 1986 took on a new lease in 1990.  Since then he has turned the venue into one of the most successful theatres of its size in the country

...And Now

Refurbished in 2006 the BABBACOMBE THEATRE, has been a valuable asset to the town for over seventy years having been renowned for wowing audiences with their highly acclaimed shows, most especially since 1986 when Matpro Limited took over the venue.

You will find magic in abundance during 2015 with the all-new shows, STARLIGHT & THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT!

Both shows promise you an explosion of exhilarating splendour, with casts to surpass the boundaries of talent. The producer, Colin Matthews has bought together for your viewing pleasure, stars of stage, screen and the music industry to enable him to conjure up a cornucopia of entertainment.

'STARLIGHT'  the 5 STAR show, celebrates the very best of the old and the new musicals. The old, albeit they are still much loved and popular are Starlight Express and Love Never Dies. The new encompasses great show songs from shows that are currently doing well on London’s West End, The Commitments and Memphis. There will be some classic pop featuring numbers by Ollie Murs and Rihanna and there will be an international feel when a much loved classic is performed in Italian!

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY - "This fabulous show could easily have been called Fifty Shades of Brilliance!"  "Alternating between side-splitting laughter & hand-stinging applause, the packed crowd brought out the best of the cast who were at the top of their game."  "The production was fast paced with a fabulous mix of song, dance & quick fire comedy bringing a whole galaxy of star quality to the stage."  "This is the epitome of a feel good show with plenty of glamour & sparkle and never a dull moment. At one point the laughter nearly brought the house down."

‘MUSIC OF THE NIGHT’, promises a fun evening which will take you on an inspirational musical journey, encapsulating all genres on the musical spectrum. Enjoy pop classics; amazing operatic arias interspersed with some of the most favoured and popular songs from the musicals, performed by a cast of nine vocalists & musicians, that will leave you a little starstruck.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY - "If you're after some family fun and old school entertainment then Babbacombe Theatre's new production - The Music of the Night - will not disappoint this summer."  "The show features a tapestry of songs, from Candi Staton's Young Hearts Run Free to operatic classic Nessun Dorma, with something for everyone.
These hits are weaved together by Torquay funny man Oakley, a veteran of the Babbacombe stage. One audience member, on their way out of the theatre at the end, exclaimed: "that was so good I might cry!" If The Music of the Night is able to send every punter away in such delight, then the show is in for a memorable summer.

So with an extraordinary variety show and a showstopping musical production, there really is something to ENTERTAIN YOU at the Babbacombe Theatre throughout 2015.
Having worked with some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment for over 30 years, producer Colin Matthews, now actively seeks out new and versatile performers for his productions which, together with his youth policy, has resulted in the discovery and development of young talent with success nationally and in the West End for many performers that have appeared in his shows. For information on the young people who have gone on to perform on the West End and internationally, click on the HALL OF FAME tab. (www.babbacombe-theatre.com/theatre/hall-of-fame.php)
The venue with its extended season running from February to October, as well as the visiting shows providing early and late dates and the now regular Christmas Show the Babbacombe Theatre has productions running virtually throughout the year. New shows are constantly added to the programme as a season progresses, to keep abreast of all the shows appearing at this celebrated venue, refer to the WHAT'S ON tab (www.babbacombe-theatre.com)

The Box Office hours vary during the season, however when closed calls divert to the administration office.

Box Office: 01803 328385
Email: info@babbacombe-theatre.com

The theatre provides:

  • Access for the disabled with a disabled toilet.
  • Wheelchair spaces.
  • Loop system
  • Sundries, confectionery and soft drinks to buy

Enjoy a pre-show meal or drink in the interval or after the show at the Babbacombe Inn, literally across the road and only a 30 seconds walk. It is advisable to book prior to your visit to the theatre and if you redeem your voucher on your ticket holder against your pre show meal for two, you can get a free coffee with every two course meal, to contact the Babbacombe Inn call on 01803 316200.

The Downs Hotel,  Babbacombe Bay Tearoom, Hanbury's Fish Restaurant renowned for their award Winning fish & Chips, the Oasis Bar at the Sefton Hotel, the Norcliffe Hotel's Patio Bar, Cary Arms, Angels,  The Old Coach House, The Buccaneer, the Cliff Railway Café, the Oddicombe Beach Café and finally, but by no means least is the lovely Babbacombe Royal Hotel & Carvery.