“ Address: Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, TQ2 5EZ / Tel: 01803 290 288 „
The Princess Theatre is in prime position on Torquay's harbour side. It was first opened in 1961 and I am sure despite me only having lived 20 years that it has probably looked quite similar since then. It occasionally has a new finish of paint but it is certainly not a theatre to be wowed at from the outside. It is simply white in colour with masses of window/see-through panelling at the front of the theatre with the 'Princess Theatre' name in blue block capitals. Similarly I suppose the same could be said for inside but it does have a lovely cosy feeling inside, probably because it is quite a small theatre. I am always quite surprised at some of the great theatre showings that are housed in the Princess Theatre. Anything close to my home town I associate as far away from London as possible, Torbay could not be more different, yet the Princess Theatre occasionally brings London to Torbay which is nice... with Westend musicals, comedians, opera and ballets.
*****MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE THEATRE*****
I would say I have been to the Princess Theatre on about 12 occasions. Four of which were for the annual Christmas pantomime...which I was once in (but I will not tell you what I was to save the embarrassment...but it was Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs).
The theatre has quite a welcoming feel with the small steps at the front of the theatre with swing doors and each time I have been there it has been heaving. But this is probably because I only tend to go to this theatre on rare occasions now so it is always something quite good which explains the busyness of the place. The last show I saw at the theatre which if my memory serves me correctly was in August was the Calendar Girls. Princess Theatre is a very small theatre with just the stalls at the bottom of the theatre and the circle at the top. But from experience you need to pick well where you sit. If you are too far front of the stalls you feel like you are on the stage with the actors/actresses which made sound like a good experience but believe me it is not. Then if you sit too far back in the stalls there is usually the possibility of it being hard to hear which I found with Calendar Girls, I really had to pay a lot of attention. Plus to make the matter worse I had a women behind me who seemed like she was having an asmer attack all the way through. Then if you are in the circle the view of the stage is much better but if you are on the first couple of rows you have the possibility of having the circle's rail right in your eye view and again being at the back of the circle is just slightly too far back to see as well. So if you ever do attend a theatre showing at the Princess Theatre make sure to get in the middle of the stalls or circle and preferably in the middle rather than out at the sides too.
*****DOES THE THEATRE HAVE SHOWINGS FOR ALL THE FAMILY?*****
This is a great theatre for entertaining the whole family. For example there are shows for kids like 'The Little Big Club' that is showing in November full of characters like Bob the Builder and Barney the purple dinosaur etc perfect for 3- 7 year olds. I cannot wait to take my godson to a show like this... I know he would love every second of it. However, the tickets are still quite expensive even for a kid's show. The tickets for this particular show are £13.50 plus £3.25 fees equalling £16.75 for an adult. It seems from the website that it is the same price for a child which I was quite shocked by.
Other types of productions coming up at the Princess Theatre involve 'Sleeping Beauty' ballet, 'Sing-A-Long Sound of Music', 'The Bon Jovi Experience', and of course 'Aladdin' the pantomime for Christmas. After Christmas in January Jason Manford (stand up comedian) is coming to Princess Theatre for one night, which I am in the process of organising my family to go and see since we all love him. I was quite shocked to see him performing down in Torbay so we cannot miss the chance to see him.
*****WHERE TO BUY TICKETS*****
Tickets for the Princess Theatre can be bought in the small box office area on the side of the Princess Theatre or online. I was surprised when I saw that they could be booked online for such a small theatre. But you get taken from the Princess Theatre website to Ticketmaster to pay for and book the tickets. Unfortunately there are always small fees with buying them online though.
*****OTHER AMENITIES IN THE THEATRE*****
Also in the Princess Theatre there is a café and bar which are separate. The café is called BREEZES and is situated on the harbour facing side of the Princess Theatre where you can sit inside or on a terrace outside for drinks and snacks. This café can be accessed from inside or outside.
The bar is situated on the top floor just before you enter into the theatre. There is quite a large area in front of the bar for standing around with people drinking. But I warn you the drinks are ridiculously priced and for that reason I will never buy drinks there. But if you have generous members of the family there why not let them buy you a drink.
Occasionally after shows you can meet performers in the bar area, so you often see people waiting around there afterwards. Similarly a lot of keen fans wait around for certain performers at the back entrance where they exit and enter the building, but unless you are that desperate to see a certain person it is probably not worth your wait... since you could be standing there for hours plus in the winter it is extremely cold.
*****MY OVERALL OPINION OF THE PRINCESS THEATRE*****
It is in a fantastic location except being located next to a busy road, where you used to be able to drop people off but now cannot due to the layout of the road being changed which is annoying. It hosts a range of performances, but usually there are limited showings, for example, Jason Manford is only playing on one night in January. But it is a theatre in my home town so I am not going to say too many bad things about it. Without the theatre there it would certainly be missed for the occasional times the whole family goes to watch something together, even if it is only the annual pantomime. I just wish that some of the ticket prices were not so high, if they lowered them just slightly I am sure they would attract a lot more people to the theatre.
- There is wheelchair access with a ramp by the entrance. There is also wheelchair access for the café. There are certain seats in the theatre like other theatres specifically for wheelchairs users and their carers.
- The Princess Theatre is now licensed to host marriage Weddings, Civil partnerships and Naming Ceremonies in their venue rooms. But although the theatre is situated in a lovely spot overlooking the harbour, it is not somewhere I would choose for a wedding ceremony.
- Guide dogs are allowed.
- There are two lots of toilets, some upstairs and some downstairs.
- The Princess Theatre is closely situated by the town as well as the harbour.
- There are a few restaurants in close access.
- There are quite a few different places to park, either directly opposite the theatre across the road, where you can park along the road. The next closest place park is at the Pavilion or harbour car park.
***** CONTACT DETAILS*****
Address: Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay TQ2 5EZ
Telephone: 01803 290 288
Fax: 01803 290 170