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Review of Princess Theatre

Princess Theatre
Ranked #15 of 63 things to do in Torquay
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Princess Theatre first opened it’s doors on Wednesday 7 June 1961. Top of the bill on the opening night were the late, great Tommy Cooper and the legendary Morecombe and Wise.The theatre was built by Torbay Council as the main feature of the redevelopment of the Princess Gardens area on Torquay seafront. The theatre replaced a marquee which was erected annually to house light entertainment. The theatre is located on the seafront and boasts panoramic views across Torbay where, weather permitting, you can see the towns of Brixham & Paignton. The theatre is still council owned and was originally lease managed to Apollo Leisure in 1991. Apollo Leisure was then bought out by SFX, which was then acquired by Clear Channel Entertainment. In 2005 Clear Channel span off the entertainment arm of its business and Live Nation was born. In 2009 Live Nation put their theatre division up for sale and at the end of the year a successful sale went through with the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). ATG are the current managers of the theatre. The Princess Theatre is Torbay’s largest touring venue with a seating capacity of 1,491. The theatre is a touring house only and has a variety of independent production companies visiting the theatre. It has played host to a wide variety of entertainment, including opera, ballet, concerts, wrestling, comedy, pantomime, ice shows & West End musicals. Theatres in seaside resorts are traditionally known for their annual Summer Season consisting of light entertainment and family variety shows, and Torquay is no exception. In the past the Princess Theatre saw the Summer Season lasting 22 weeks of the year and artistes such as Jim Davidson, Jethro and Jimmy Cricket to name but a few, made regular appearances. Today, the Summer Season is a somewhat shorter affair and realistically lasts about 6 weeks. A traditional summer line up can still be found in our programming with one night shows making up the summer diary. Although the Summer Season was historically the main focal point of the diary it is not the case today. There is no longer an “in season” time frame and we have regular visits throughout the year with West End musicals, such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Chicago, Starlight Express, Rocky Horror, CATS, Sunny Afternoon and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as concerts, comedians, mediums and finishing the year with a traditional pantomime. . The theatre stages and supports local amateur societies with their performances and endures in the local community, like hosting our award-winning 'Natvitys'. In 1998 an extension was built onto the side of the theatre to house Breezes cafe bar, which is open to public throughout the year, irrespective of any ‘dark’ period in the theatre. Breezes caters for all; locals & tourists as well as patrons of the theatre. When the theatre is open for a show Breezes’ two bars work alongside the Princess Theatre bar to ensure no customer goes without! The top of Breezes also has a function suite, which can be used for meetings, press functions, parties and private hire. The view from the function suite and upper deck is fabulous, as it is the best viewing point in which to see the full splendour of Torbay.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / lift
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2014

Michael Jackson tribute guy 'Ben' just rocked the house with a full-on 2&half hour gig as if Michael was really on that stage. Joy & tears and all the emotions he brought out in me. His band an dancers were awesome and it was all LIVE!! too. Well done Princess Theatre for staging this stunning show. Me & my 12 yr old son went on the spur of the moment after booking in a hotel in Torquay due to being let down by a very dire caravan site. So it was all fate. Well done Ben 'who's BAD???!!!!' ;)

Visited August 2014
Thank Lisa-Likes-Good-Hols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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458 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Paignton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
411 reviews
142 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 284 helpful votes
“Not bad - could do better.”
Reviewed 12 August 2014

This theatre has bit of a monopoly in Torbay for large productions although there are other smaller theatres in the area which put on reasonable shows. Have visited many times - memorable music events being Let it Be which was superb and Manfred Mann with Paul Jones and Mike D'Abo - excellent! Some productions seem to be repeated a bit too often - That'll Be The Day or the Joe Brown tour to name a couple. However, they must be popular with coach parties. I think the theatre does try to vary the shows and include ballet, opera, popular music and plays - too few of the latter though. The theatre seating is good and the prices are pretty average. The bar area is a bit tired but the main area that needs attention is the Breezes "restaurant" . It's actually more of a café with limited choice and offering basic meals. If you have ideas about a relaxing, stylish pre-theatre meal of quality - forget it!! Such a shame.

Visited August 2014
2 Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
117 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2014

We were looking forwards to visiting the theatre while we were on holiday in Torquay. Unfortunately nothing was on while were there. Considering it was the height of the summer holidays we were surprised they did not have things on right through the 6 weeks break…they were missing out.

Visited August 2014
Thank Karendurham12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lyme Regis, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“great show”
Reviewed 5 August 2014

last minute we decided to go to the theatre. rock of ages was showing and we had a very enjoyable evening.

Visited June 2014
Thank linda112123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Devon, UK
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Lovely intimate theatre”
Reviewed 4 August 2014

I have seen a number of performances here... ballet, pantomine, live music and on tour west end shows. We've visited with children and as a couple and always had a great time!!
Highly recommended for a great night out without having to travel miles from home!

Visited January 2014
Thank 1Traveldream
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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