‘More events, bigger audiences and a wider programme from the Palace Theatre’ and ‘an incredible effort from an amazing team of staff’ combined to result in a win for Jazz Hands CIC for the management of the Palace Theatre, in Paignton. The CIC’s Directors, Deirdre Makepeace, Maureen McAllister and Colin Spencer Halsey were delighted to accept the South Devon Business Award for the best start-up business, less than 18 months after taking over the management of the closure-threatened theatre in May of 2018.

The Herald Express/Devon Live South Devon Business Awards were presented at a gala dinner on 10 October at the Riviera International Centre with an event that focused on the area’s small businesses, family firms and promising young pioneers, with awards for growing businesses in the heart of their communities. These high-profile awards recognise and celebrate the diverse range of businesses in South Devon and the surrounding area. Businesses were judged by a panel of experts and the Palace was up against stiff competition from a number of other new South Devon start-ups.

The award presentation stated that: ‘The Palace Theatre Paignton is operated by Jazz Hands CIC, a company created in 2018 to take over the operation of the Palace Theatre from Torbay Council to ensure that Paignton retained its community theatre and community cultural hub. The theatre focuses on great programming, inclusive and engaging performances, audience development and business development, opening the doors for more than theatre productions – this includes business meetings and events, behind the scenes tours, social activities and as a creative hub.’

Having won two silver awards in this year’s English Riviera Tourism Awards, for Access and Inclusivity and for Tourism Innovation, this win is undoubtedly the icing on the cake for the Palace.


The Palace Theatre Paignton