Boasting the longest running summer season in the country the credibility of this venue reaches out across theatre land, and it is right here in a small corner of the English Riviera. To see for yourself what is on offer at the Babbacombe Theatre contact the Box Office - 01803 328385.
The refurbished Babbacombe Theatre has been a valuable asset to the English Riviera for over seventy years having been renowned for wowing audiences with their highly acclaimed variety shows, most especially since 1986 when Colin Matthews took over the venue.
In 2012 as the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee and the country plays host to the world’s biggest sporting event, the Olympic Games, the theatre will celebrate throughout the year as they continue to deliver the very best in variety with an all-new show, STARDUST, running every Tuesday & Wednesday from 14th Feb-24th Oct with all performances at 8.15pm.
Expect to be star struck with the record-breaking amount of comedy & magical highlights, the fancy footwork and memorable musical numbers performed by an array of talented artiste. When likened to the dedication of our Team GB athletes, this cast will all be ‘Going for Gold!’
Over the past 26 years, Matpro has extended the season more each year, not only does it have the longest running seasonal show in the country, which lasts nine months now in 2012, but with the visiting shows providing early and late dates as well as the now regular Christmas Show the theatre has productions running virtually throughout the year.
Babbacombe Theatre also brought stars from West End hit musicals such as 'Phantom of the Opera', 'Me & My Girl', 'Cats' and 'Les Miserables' to headline their own musical shows, and in 2001 Bruce Forsyth appeared, to the total surprise of the audience whilst filming his autobiographical television documentary. Other names that have appeared of late include, Jethro, Des O’Connor, Jimmy Tarbuck, Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Richard Digance, Joe Longthorne, Lenny Henry, Stephen K Amos to name just a few.
Our pledge is to continue with featuring up and coming artistes, within our own productions and we are sure you will agree we are showcasing a generation of STARS for the future.Over the past 15 years especially, many have gone on to achieve success in the West End, on Television, in Films and within the world of dance. Infact its fair to say they are performing all over the world! Waving the flag for ‘Team Babbacombe!’
A Brief History
Bands had performed during the summer on the site where Babbacombe Theatre now stands, however 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. In 1938 the Babbacombe Downs Concert Hall was built and it remained virtually unchanged for almost 50 years, until Matpro took it over.
The very first concert here was on the afternoon of 27 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 4 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 has seen many years of successful summer shows and it has the reputation of hosting household names on the threshold of their careers, including in 1956 Bruce Forsyth. Other well known names include David Nixon, Ted Rogers, Ray Allen, Norman Vaughan and Roy Hudd.
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- Tel: 01803 328385