Arts council England funding sets poetry in motion for Palace Theatre Paignton

Palace Theatre Poems from the Palace, Sarah Hemingway

The Palace Theatre in Paignton is delighted to have received funding from National Lottery Players and Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund to support the theatre since the forced closure due to Covid-19. The funding will help the theatre with ongoing costs, enable the theatre to support performers back on to the stage and to develop a number of projects for the future.

‘As always, we use our funding wisely and have budgeted carefully; whilst we are facing a very uncertain future, we are determined to keep the profile of the theatre has high as possible and to continue to engage with our audiences and local community as much as we can’ said Maureen McAllister, Director of Operations for Jazz Hands, the multi-award-winning CIC which manages and operates the Palace Theatre in Paignton.

As part of this funding, the Palace has launched ‘Poems from the Palace’, a community-driven project which aims to connect local businesses and loyal supporters and to keep the English Riviera’s oldest working theatre at the forethought of people’s minds during COVID-19 lockdown.

‘There are only two of us at the theatre now, for just two days a week – and it’s a pretty quiet place these days when we’re used to the sound of voices, music and talent. We are hoping that the ‘Poems from the Palace’ will bring life to our digital channels’ added Maureen ‘meaning that we can share the voices of a range of people, community groups and businesses to entertain our audiences whilst they cannot enjoy a performance on stage.’

A number of poems have already been submitted and shared on the Palace Theatre’s social media and YouTube channels, and they are now calling for as many businesses as possible to read a poem from the Palace too.

‘Sadly, we have received no guidance on when we will be able to open again. It’s a tough time, and whilst we have loads of more difficult issues to deal with, this project is bringing a little entertainment to us and our audiences, please do contact us and join in – let your voices be heard.’

Local groups including Doorstep Arts, the resident youth theatre company; Bijou Theatre Productions; Torbay Libraries with Libraries Unlimited, Stairway Coaching and Torbay poet Robert Garnham have already provided entertaining and uplifting videos which have been posted on the theatre’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube sites, with further productions underway.

A charity fundraising event to support children’s literacy is also planned for the future, post lockdown restrictions, when the ‘Poems from the Palace’ project participants will be invited to perform on the Palace Theatre stage.

There are several ways to support the Palace Theatre’s activities and projects including donating through CrowdFunder and GoFundMe fundraising campaigns and taking out an annual membership as a Friend of the Palace Theatre. To find out more about the fabulous Poems from the Palace project visit the Palace Theatre website and social media sites (

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