Panto season and the Dance Festival, part of the Torbay and South West of England Festival are two of the Palace Theatre’s busiest and favourite times of year. Harriet Loveridge, a talented young performer and inspirational dance teacher is involved in both of these fantastic seasons, showcasing the very best local talent. 

Hi Harriet, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m 22 and I live in Paignton. I grew up in Teignmouth and studied at Coombeshead Academy in Newton Abbot, where I studied Drama, Music and Performing Arts at A Level/BTEC level.

I have several jobs. I’m a teacher for Torbay School of Dance, based in Paignton and where I studied since the age of 3! I’m also an Entertainments Manager, Entertainer and Vocalist, working in several venues in the English Riviera.

How are you connected to the Palace Theatre?

I’ve competed in many dance festivals at the Palace Theatre over the years and Torbay School of Dance presents a show at Christmas time every other year. My students appear in the shows as well as the dance festivals. The dance festival showcases a range of styles including Ballet, Classical Greek, Tap and Street Dance. I also did work experience at the Palace Theatre when I was in year 11 at school.

I’ve been in four pantomimes as Principal Girl for Paignton Pantomime Productions including Dick Whittington (2016) Cinderella (2017) Mother Goose (2018) and most recently Sleeping Beauty (2019). And I’m looking forward to auditioning, hopefully soon, for a part in this year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Paignton Pantomime Productions (PPP) has been performing a panto in Torbay since 1935 and it’s become a highlight of Christmas for Torbay residents and visitors ever since. Each year PPP raises large sums for local charities and good causes, including the Palace Theatre itself, who were last year’s recipient.

Tell us about your experience as a performer on the Palace Theatre stage 

I’ve actually been performing at the Palace Theatre since I started dancing at Torbay School of Dance at the age of 3. And this theatre will always hold a special place in my heart! There are too many memories to tell, but it is always a wonderful experience. I am always taken care of by the fantastic staff at the theatre who make you feel like part of the family.

What do you most enjoy about performing on the stage at the theatre?

I love how intimate the theatre is, especially during Panto season. It always helps seeing lots of happy faces and hearing lots of laughter and children shouting extra loud. It makes me happy to know we are making others happy during Christmas time. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?!

What’s your favourite experience or memorable moment at the theatre so far? 

My favourite moment at the Palace Theatre was when I became the Senior Song and Dance Champion in 2017 at the Dance Festival! It was such a shock! 

What are you most looking forward to when the theatre opens again?

Playing Roxie Hart in Chicago with the cast of TOPS Musical Productions from the 10th to 14th October (hopefully), I have my fingers and toes crossed that we will be able to perform this wonderful show for everyone this year, when lockdown has eased.

What word describes how you feel about the Palace Theatre?

Grateful! …That we have such a wonderful theatre right on our doorstep and grateful for all the staff members who make our experience so fantastic.

For more information about this year’s dance festival, pantomime and other shows taking place at Palace Theatre Paignton, visit our What’s On section.

The Palace Theatre Paignton