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25 unforgettable years of Babbacombe Theatre

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 22, 2011

25-UP:  Colin Matthews of Babbacombe Theatre    Steve Pope

25-UP: Colin Matthews of Babbacombe Theatre Steve Pope

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COLIN MATTHEWS is celebrating 25 years at the Babbacombe Theatre this year.

The great, the good, and not so good, were invited to a celebration at the Spanish Barn to mark the achievement. And what an achievement it is.

A colleague reviewed a Toads production this month and in a moment of madness put that it was at the Babbacombe Theatre rather than the Little Theatre. It was an honest error but it hit a nerve — the theatre has been churning out professional shows for 25 years yet some in Torbay still view it as something else.

For the record, it's worth mentioning that no other theatre owner in the country has achieved what Colin Matthews has. Not one. The Babbacombe Theatre is a truly unique venue — and South Devon really is lucky to have it. It gets no backing by the council, no outside funding, yet it attracts visitors on its own merits. And this year it is housing a five-star rated production.

Look around the country and see how many opportunities there are for variety acts to get onto a professional stage and you'll see frightening results.

The Babbacombe Theatre is again hosting Torbay's Got Talent over the next few weeks and giving people a chance to get into the business. Entries are coming from around the country — yet residents only have a short distance to travel to get this golden opportunity.

Sharon Waring, long standing, some would say long-suffering general manager, made a speech at the event. It mentioned: "All the young people and children over the years, hundreds of them, because of you, the opportunities and encouragement you gave them gained experience and confidence to go out with their God-given talent and take risks.

"The confidence you instilled in them motivated them and drove them.

"Amongst them is one of the country's leading ballerinas, a West End leading lady, several West End performers, catwalk models, movie actors, TV acts.

"There are backing dancers for pop stars, touring artistes who have travelled every continent on the planet in award winning shows, stage managers, lighting technicians and sound engineers who too have now worked in West End venues, toured with dance companies to Australia, America and Europe and even managed events at the Royal Albert Hall".

So cheers to Colin and his team on their celebrations, and here is to taking a moment to recognise what's on our doorstep and just what has been achieved.

In the rest of What's On green fingered Hannah Finch looks at seed collecting with a view to growing them next year.

In travel Naomi Tolley heads to Canada and in stage and arts there's all the latest news.

Food and drink previews Abbfest and Mitch Tonks shares his culinary skills.

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