Discussions are now underway to raise the curtains on a new future for Paignton’s 107 year-old theatre following Torbay Council’s decision to work with a new Community Interest Company (CIC).

Formal discussions between the parties involved have formally commenced with the target of having a robust forward plan in place by October.

There has been huge interest in the identity of the CIC and the individuals involved and now that formal discussions are underway, the council has taken the decision to disclose details of the parties involved.  The CIC to be known as Jazz Hands is led by Maureen McAllister and Deirdre Makepeace, who are local professionals with significant business, tourism and arts experience which they will be able to bring to the new venture. 

Executive Lead for Tourism, Culture and Harbours, Councillor Nicole Amil, said: “I am extremely pleased that this venture is underway and I am excited to see what happens to the Palace Theatre in the near future. The Palace Theatre is an important part of our local culture and community and it is great news that it is being given a new lease of life.”

Maureen McAllister, currently the temporary manager at the Palace Theatre, said: “We’re are both extremely passionate about breathing new life into the Palace Theatre and our aim is to build a vibrant offer for local people and visitors alike. We would like to thank everyone that has helped this venture to reach this point and very much look forward to working to address the details within the forward plan. There will be many challenges ahead but fundamentally we believe that Paignton deserves to have a thriving theatre at the very heart of the community.”

Torbay Council will be working through all elements of the contract over the next three months to ensure that there can be an effective transfer.  There are many complicated elements to the process, however, both Torbay Council and the CIC have the same vision and every effort will be

made to make sure that the proposal put forward can be delivered in a way that benefits all concerned and helps to keep a thriving theatre in Paignton.

The outline aspirations for the new CIC have the support of the Torbay Culture Board.

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