Devon has a lot to offer visitors from the beautiful scenery to the historic cities and quirky villages, not to forget the stunning beaches. But Devon offers more than just scenery and places to visit with the county’s theatres being one example of the great culture on offer. There are two notable theatres in the North Devon area and both have a wealth of things to enjoy during the winter season.
Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe
The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe, is a new theatre that was built to replace the Pavilion Theatre that was destroyed in a fire in the 1980s and had to be demolished. Its unique double conical design has made it a very noticeable landmark on the town’s skyline and often receives the nickname of ‘Madonna’s Bra’ by the locals – referring to the pop star and her unusual clothing!
The Landmark Theatre opened in 1998 and has a seating capacity of 480. It also has cinema screening facilities and a flat floor space for a multitude of uses, able to hold 200 people in a theatre style. On site, there is also the Rendezvous Café that offers morning coffee, afternoon tea as well as a lunch menu prepared on site by the resident chef. It is also a great place to relax while waiting for a show and enjoy the sea-facing views.
What’s On in Ilfracombe?
With Christmas approaching, the theatre has a number of special events to celebrate the reason. A Christmas Carol – The Musical is a perfect family event that happens from 30th November to 3rd December and is suitable for children over the age of six.
The Billy Joel Songbook is great for a singalong and is performed by one of his original ban, Elop Pace along with his own six-piece band. Featuring hits such as Uptown Girl and Piano Man, the show is suitable for kids over eight and runs just over three hours. It is available on 12th November at the Landmark Theatre.
For a different take on the Christmas party idea, try the Fun Casino Night at the theatre. Taking place on 8th December, this one is for the adults with an 18+ age restriction. Games include roulette, blackjack and stud poker tables, all using fun money. There is even a chance to win a £500 holiday voucher for all attendees.
Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple
The Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple is a relatively new building, dating from 1994 but has its roots much earlier. There has been a theatre in the town going back to at least 1435 when a troupe visited that was believed to include one William Shakespeare.
The current theatre offers a wide range of programs from ballet to contemporary dance, children’s shows, classic musicals and even jazz and folk musicians. As well as the theatre area, there is also gallery space and two bars, with the Gallery Bar being known for its locally baked food and is open all day.
What’s On in Barnstaple?
Aladdin is one of those shows that has become linked with Christmas and this year is showing at the Queen’s Theatre from 10th December through to 2nd January. Suitable for the whole family, the show has the classic song and dance of the show with superb sets and costumes.
For a chance to see something truly exotic, see the Chinese State Circus, visiting the theatre on 25th November. The show is suitable for kids aged five and upwards and include acrobats, aerial artists, jugglers and plenty of audience interaction.
For fans of Michael Buble, catch his tribute act performing hits from his Christmas album on 18th November. These beautiful seasonal songs are backed by an authentic big band along with some fun and humour from the band. Suitable for kids after 12+.
Other Things to Do this November in North Devon
Visiting the Ilfracombe area offers more to do than just visit the theatre or enjoy the sea views. The Lighting of the Lights takes place on 25th November and includes Christmas carols and a procession by local children past the war memorial before a local celebrity official turns on the lights and starts the Christmas season. There is late night shopping and community stalls for those unique gifts.
The Lighting of the Lights leads into the Fore Street Christmas Fayre and Harbour Christmas Celebrations which take place on 26th – 27th November.
The Clovelly Herring Festival will take place on 20th November this year and is a unique event that celebrates the industry that has made this village what it is. The village once depending on the herring trade and it has taken place there for over 400 years. Today, the festival includes cooking demonstrations, beer tasting, craft stalls and even shanty singers. Local historian Mike Smylie will have his exhibition on the history of the herring trade and the village available once again.