The cast of Shrek Pic Simon Day

Shrek breaks Princess Theatre box office records

Jim Parker

Shrek has becomes the biggest selling amateur production in the history of Torquay’s Princess Theatre.

TOADs Stage Musical Company have smashed box office records this summer, by presenting the most successful amateur society production.

In 2019, TOADs announced that they would be performing the amateur regional premier of Shrek: The Musical in the summer of 2020. The events of 2020 forced theatres across the country to be closed and inevitably postponed the society’s production.

The Princess Theatre eventually reopened in August 2021, but the restrictions on rehearsals meant that the society were forced to postpone the production for another year.

Due to the delay in presenting the show, the society then had to recast the show at the beginning of this year and began rehearsing in earnest. By this point the show had already been on sale for the best part of two years.


Iain Douglas, TOADs SMC treasurer, said: “When TOADs SMC chose Shrek as our 2020 production, we knew it would be a very expensive undertaking and would need to play to 5,000 people to break even.

“Not even in our wildest dreams did we think, when we eventually managed to present it in 2022, that we would play to just under 6,000 people and become the first amateur company at the theatre to take over £100,000 at the box office.

“As Treasurer of TOADs, this has been a very exciting and fulfilling week. The show will have cost us in the region of £95,000 to present so any profit will be minimal, but in the days when many professional shows struggle for an audience, this is a creditable result.

“Many people don’t realise the costs involved in presenting large scale amateur theatre productions and to make a production loss is the norm, so this result for Shrek is especially rewarding, particularly after our two-year Covid enforced break.

“TOADs SMC is definitely back with a bang and has created a record that will probably stand for some years.”

The cast were led by Lance Vernon as Shrek, Simon Henley as Donkey, Jay Juniper as Princess Fiona and Sean Aldredge as Lord Farquaad, supported by a cast of over 35 local performers playing multiple roles.