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The Queen's Theatre Rolls out the Blue Carpet

A serious flood in April 2014 has resulted in an insurance payout which has contributed to replacement carpets being laid in public areas throughout the Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple.

A dramatic cloudburst on Friday 25th April, resulted in water pouring through the roof of the Gallery Café on the first floor, cascading down the stairs and into the foyer area. Staff and contractors worked quickly to dry out the building before the show scheduled for Saturday 26th- a dance production ironically called Tap Factory.

Picture: Flooding on the first floor of the Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple in April 2014.

However, the rainwater caused considerable damage and also led to shrinkage in some areas so a successful insurance claim by North Devon Council, who own the venue, topped up by funds raised through the North Devon Theatres’ Love Arts scheme, has resulted in new carpets being laid throughout the foyer, stairs and first floor areas.

Picture: The Gallery Café at the Queen’s Theatre in 1992 after the refurbishment.

Audiences at the Queen’s Theatre will be certain to notice the difference as the carpets were last replaced when the venue reopened after refurbishment in 1993. Over the last 22 years it is estimated that nearly 2 million people have seen a show at the Queen’s, so if you add to that customers coming in to book tickets or visit the Café then the foyer carpet had certainly taken some wear.

Picture: The Gallery Café pictured in 2015 with new carpet

As a registered charity, North Devon Theatres has a constant fundraising challenge to repair, repaint and renovate both the Queen’s and Landmark Theatres. It’s easy to imagine when you come to the theatres and see full houses that North Devon Theatres must be earning large amounts from each show, however the ability to earn extra income for the charity is limited.  For every £1 we take at the Box Office, 66p leaves the building straight away, going to the artists, producers and promoters and a further 20p goes in VAT, leaving NDT an average of just 14p to pay for everything else. The Theatres’ Love Arts fund contributes towards the ever-increasing costs of the maintenance and restoration of the buildings.

The Friends of North Devon Theatres, loyal and hard-working supporters and fundraisers, also make a significant contribution to maintenance costs as well as the purchase of essential equipment. They have recently paid for the sprung wooden floor in The Pavilion at the Landmark to be refurbished – much to the delight of the regular tea dance attenders, education class participants and those attending functions, such as wedding receptions, as the room is used extensively by the community. Urgent priorities for the charity include replacing many of the worn auditorium seats, refurbishment of the dressing rooms and upgrades to the Cafés at both venues.

Picture: Worn seats at The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe.


North Devon Theatres’ Director Alan Dodd said “North Devon Council have worked hard to ensure we had a successful outcome to the insurance claim to replace the flood damaged carpets and we are appreciative of their effort. However, the continued support of our fund-raisers and audience is vital in ensuring that we can improve the theatre experience for our audience and preserve the buildings for future generations. We are extremely grateful to them for their contribution”.

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