The Finalists have been announced for the 2020 Devon Tourism Awards and we are delighted to tell you that our wonderful Technical Manager, Clive Simmons, is a finalist in the UNSUNG HERO category. Clive has worked at the Palace Theatre, largely on a part-time basis, for over 30 years. His life at the theatre began with voluntary shifts where he learned about stage lighting, sounds and stage management. Until 2019 Clive worked as a full time paramedic but he took early retirement and now concentrates on the theatre.
Clive is the theatre’s YES-man. Every production is different, with varying technical needs. Clive will always find ways to meet their needs and work with performers and producers from all over the country and beyond to provide the best possible technical standards and so the best possible experience for theatre audiences. He smiles his way through some really tight turnarounds of stage sets and lighting rigs, for example transforming the stage from an Agatha Christie country-house set to a Lady Boys of Bangkok extravaganza in a matter of hours.
Clive is well-known in the Paignton community, having run the resort’s famous Children’s Week, the UK’s longest running children’s festival, for 20 years. He has been involved with Paignton Pantomime Productions for 40 years, working with the show’s Director to wow audiences every year; from flying the fairy godmother to designing and making an on-stage illuminated fountain. He has also worked with the Paignton Carnival, Paignton Regatta, has stage-managed TOPS Theatre Productions such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the resort’s Princess Theatre and has even managed to find the time to squeeze in 17 years volunteering for the Coastguard. Clive was heading for retirement from his full-time role as a paramedic when he suffered a heart attack. He has worked carefully to reach a full recovery and has even learned that some jobs need four hands instead of two! The recent COVID-19 crisis and theatre shutdown have taken much of the joy of theatre-life away from all those connected to the theatre but Clive still thinks of ‘his’ theatre first, for example setting up the amazing festive window displays.
Theatre Director, Maureen McAllister: ‘The thing that makes this theatre great is the team…and Clive IS our hero. He’s always there and when something needs doing fixing, Clive can do it and fix it. He is our rock and we are all really proud of this achievement’.
Simon Fishwick, Company Secretary of VisitDevon, comments: “It really is amazing how many of our wonderful businesses entered the Devon Tourism awards this year. The past year has been difficult for so many businesses however to see the high standard of the entries and the innovative approach being shown by many is really heart-warming. Well done to all of the finalists and good luck on the day!”