Covid-hit Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple is damaged in flash floods

The Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple has suffered significant damage due to heavy rain and flash flooding. Credit: Selladoor

The Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple, which has been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, has now taken another hit after torrential rain flooded the town centre.

The damage is being assessed, with most impact in the substage and technical store. It is likely that technical equipment has suffered.

The roof, which has only recently been repaired, has also sustained damage following the heavy downpours.

Stuart Shanks, Director of venues at Selladoor, which runs the theatre, says, “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.”

David Hutchinson CEO for Selladoor adds, “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 six 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."

The flooding is a heavy blow for the theatre, which is already closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: ITV West Country

This year's pantomime has already been postponed to 2021 but, despite this latest setback, Selladoor still plans to start a programme in October linking audiences and artists in imaginative ways.

The Queen's Theatre's sister venue, The Landmark in Ilfracombe, is open and offering the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme and is also hosting an outdoor summer festival from 27-31 August.