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Queen’s Theatre suffers flood damage after dangerous flash flooding devastates Barnstaple town centre

Queen’s Theatre suffers flood damage after dangerous flash flooding devastates Barnstaple town centre

North Devon Theatres

Queens Theatre Barnstaple has suffered damage after torrential rain flooded Barnstaple Town Centre.  The flash flooding has seen crews from the emergency services helping to pump water out of the affected homes and businesses with over 60 emergency calls in the last 24 hours.

The Queen’ Theatre has been closed to the public since March due to COVID regulations, and this is a further knockback to the venue operators at a time where these lengthy closures have hit the theatre industry hard. Selladoor confirms that despite this set-back they still have plans to work towards building a bridging program which they are hoping to launch in October following recent news that annual pantomime would be postponed until 2021.  This programme will aim to maintain the crucial connection between audiences and artists with imaginative programming and engagement work.

The damage to the theatre is being fully assessed, with most impact in the substage and technical store. Technical equipment is believed to have been damaged. The roof, which has only recently been repaired, has also sustained damage following the downpour that locals described as ‘apocalyptic’.

Stuart Shanks Director of venues at Selladoor says “On Monday the Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple suffered damage due to flooding from the horrid weather. This is a significant blow to this wonderful theatre which comes on top of the enormous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our venue team, led by Debi Summers and JJ Powell have been working tirelessly over the past 24 hours assessing, testing and repairing the damage which the building has suffered so as to make sure it is back to its regal self as quickly as possible”

“Everyone at the Queen’s Theatre and The Landmark would like to send thanks for all of the messages of support over the past couple of days, and we all cannot wait to welcome our loyal audiences back into their theatres as soon as we possibly can”

David Hutchinson CEO for Selladoor says “We’re dismayed that our beautiful Queen’s Theatre has been damaged by the flooding yesterday in Barnstaple, and our hearts go out to all the many homes and businesses in Barnstaple Town Centre also damaged by yesterday’s downpour”

“This unexpected emergency comes at a particularly sensitive moment for the Queens and the wider organisation, as we prepare our North Devon bid for Recovery Support from the Government after 6 months of closure due to Covid. Our incredible team in North Devon, and venues leadership will focus on ensuring we repair the damage as quickly as we can and ensure this 68 year old building, with origins dating back to 1435, is brought back full health so we can continue to focus on re-emerging from lockdown to serve the people of North Devon with a thrilling theatre offering”

“2020 has been challenging. But our team, the incredible and supportive audiences in North Devon and the local authority and MP – have all been right behind us – and we’re focusing on the future and all we have to offer as a cultural destination in Barnstaple.”