Paignton’s Palace theatre may have been closed to the public during lockdown but it hasn’t been lying idle and empty.

In fact, the auditorium stage has seen plenty of action, providing the perfect setting for a virtual festival celebrating the Bay’s over-50s.

The Jazz Hands team at the Palace offered the theatre as a safe meeting space and filming venue to the organisers of this year’s Ageing Well Festival.

Access to the Palace Theatre’s spaces has been made possible thanks to a grant received from National Lottery Players and Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund.

Maureen McAllister, operations director of Jazz Hands CIC, said: “The Palace Theatre has always played a central part in local community activity and we were delighted to be able to collaborate with the Ageing Well committee and Torbay Community Development Trust to support this year’s virtual event.”

David Gledhill, spokesman for Ageing Well and Torbay Community Development Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to have been able to use the Palace Theatre in Paignton to record segments for the @Home Ageing Well Torbay Virtual Festival this year.

“The Palace is truly a community theatre and as soon as the Jazz Hands team heard about our plans for the festival, they came forward to offer us the use of the facilities, for which we are truly grateful.”

The Palace Theatre has a range of spaces available for hire including Stage Left, a spacious, recently refurbished arts and event venue suitable for socially distanced occasions.

While the theatre was closed, staff were working hard to reschedule as many shows as possible.

The theatre is reopening this week with its ‘Audience at the Palace’ series of daytime talks.

There are plenty of other events to look forward to, all featured in the programme, with a selection of live music performances, well known comedy names and some popular activities such as wreath-making workshops this November and December.

For now the brochure will be a digital version to allow for any changes.

For further information, log on to www.palacetheatrepaignton.co.uk