Paignton’s Palace Theatre successfully hosted a socially distanced concert to raise money for the venue which has been closed for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Palace Theatre audience. Photo: Jay RichardsThe Palace Theatre audience. Photo: Jay Richards

Sunday’s concert was organised by local musician, piano teacher and music festival organiser Chris Blurton, who first performed on the Paignton stage as a child 30 years ago.

The sell-out event saw children of all ages, as well as adults, perform ‘live on stage’ playing the piano, guitar and singing - and was a huge success.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster said: “It’s great to be here at the Palace Theatre, We’ve just seen a great show and it’s been really good to see such young talent on the stage and all doing it for a great cause, supporting a theatre that’s been at the heart of Paignton for 130 years!”

The Palace Theatre was originally an 800-seat hall for public use that opened in 1890. It was built by The Public Hall Company under managing director A.W. Axworthy.

In 1919, an American-run film company named Torquay and Paignton Photo-play Productions planned to buy out The Public Hall Company with the intention of building its film studios on the site. This did not go ahead however, and the hall was bought by the then Paignton Council in 1920 after its attempt the year before which had fallen through because a price couldn’t be agreed.

By 1941, the theatre had been renamed as The Garrison Theatre when the Paignton Pantomime Company, formed in 1935, presented Aladdin there in that December.

It was renamed again in 1948 as the Palace Avenue Theatre and after refurbishment, put on summer shows for several years.

The Palace Theatre took over from the Festival Theatre as the main theatre in Paignton in 1998, when the Festival Theatre was converted to the Vue cinema.