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Queen’s Theatre Bid wins out

North Devon Theatres’ Trust representing the Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple is delighted to announce the success of their application for capital funding to Arts Council England for £346,825 towards the cost of improving their backstage technical facilities. 

These technical improvements, which are essential for the future running of the theatre, have four main objectives: Firstly, to replace the current antiquated flying system for changing scenery and sets using hemp ropes and hand winches with an automated, computer controlled, electric winch system. Scenery can be moved at the touch of a button, so that the Queen’s Theatre will be able to put on more shows with more flexibility, improving experiences for artists & audiences. 

Secondly, the project will see mechanised forestage elevators installed for the stage extension and the orchestra pit, so that they can be operated at the press of a button and not laboriously hand-built. Thirdly, building modifications will be made to improve disability access back stage. And fourthly, the ageing stage lighting and circuitry in the theatre will be replaced with an LED system, dramatically reducing running costs and the theatre’s carbon footprint. 

Alan Giddings, Chief Executive of North Devon Theatres’ Trust said: “This award is fantastic news for North Devon. In partnership with The Arts Council and with North Devon Council, which owns the venue and already gives us great support, we can now continue to maintain the Queen’s Theatre as a centre of excellence for arts and entertainment for the people of North Devon. We can also look to a more efficient future running of the theatre.”  

He continued: “In 1994, the refurbishment that North Devon Council undertook was a huge leap forward for theatre provision in North Devon; this is another giant step nearly 20 years on and we can’t wait to see the results.” 

The overall cost of the scheme is about £550k, of which nearly £350k comes from the grant from the Arts Council and the capital balance from North Devon Council. We anticipate that the work will be undertaken during the summer this year, with some earlier preparatory work during the spring.

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