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
Refurbished in 2006 the BABBACOMBE THEATRE, has been a valuable asset to the town for eighty years. Renowned for wowing audiences with their highly acclaimed shows, most especially since 1986 when Matpro Limited took over the venue, you can feel confident that a night at the Babbacombe Theatre will deliver on the ENTERTAINMENT factor!
The ENTERTAINMENT factor is paramount to the successes of the productions at Babbacombe Theatre, as is the artistic and creative flair of the show’s producer and director, Colin Matthews. Colin has produced all the shows at the venue since 1986. 2019 will mark not only the 80th anniversary of the theatre opening its doors for the very first time, but the 5th consecutive year the venue continues to be ranked on TripAdvisor’s Theatres and Performances listing as not only the Number 1 theatre in Torquay, but also ranked as the Number 1 on things To Do in Torquay! It is also, a winner of the Certificate of Excellence Award again making it eight successive years. The Babbacombe Theatre is also the only theatre in the Bay to have produced successive ‘5 STAR’ productions for five years.
During 2019 as well as STARBURST & I ♥ MUSIC, appearances from iconic performers are bound to make an impression. See Henning When, James Acaster, Jethro, Jimmy Tarbuck, Ed Gamble, and Roy Hemmings (The Drifters) to name just a few! There really is something to ENTERTAIN YOU at the Babbacombe Theatre throughout 2019.
A special anniversary should be celebrated, and in epic proportion, ‘Starburst’, promises to do just that, every Tuesday & Wednesday until the 23rd Oct 8.15pm incl.
The show will feature some of the most iconic names in music, TV and the movies, performed by a talented cast, that will embrace the comedic talents of Ken Dodd, Laurel & Hardy, Victoria Wood and the 2 Ronnie’s to name just a few. Hear them, sing opulent songs from stunning movie soundtracks, Phantom of the Opera, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Pink Panther, My Best Friend’s Wedding and the spectacular box office success, of 2018, The Greatest Showman. They are just as adept at performing pop hits old and new too, with songs from Barry White, Dolly Parton, Cilla Black, Elton John, The Bay City Rollers, Queen and Take That, featured.
Music is the universal language, and what feelings sound like! It inspires us and as quoted by Victor Hugo, “expresses that which cannot be said”. Albeit the all new show, I ♥ Music has a lot to say! You can expect to enjoy a fun-filled show which will take you on an inspirational musical journey, encapsulating all genres on the musical spectrum every Thursday from May to October.
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: [email protected]
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 second 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 2 sizzling steaks for only £15 (subject to terms and conditions) to contact the Babbacombe Inn call on 01803 316200.
BABBACOMBE ALSO HAS MANY OTHER FINE PUBS AND RESTAURANTS THAT OFFER GREAT FOOD WITH A SOCIABLE ENVIRONMENT TO ENJOY A RELAXING DRINK. WE CAN HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING ESTABLISHMENTS, SOME WILL ALSO TAKE ORDERS FOR INTERVAL DRINKS, why not ask your preferred establishment if they can accommodate your drinks order: -
Route 16 Bar & Seafood Restaurant, The Downs Hotel, Babbacombe Bay Café/Bistro, Hanbury's Fish Restaurant renowned for their award-Winning fish & Chips, The Babbacombe Hotel, The Cary Arms, Angels, The Buccaneer, the Cliff Railway Café, Three Degrees West bar & bistro on Oddicombe Beach and finally, but by no means least is the lovely Babbacombe Royal Hotel & Carvery.