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Play on Words Festival 2024 -Thursday Programme

April 25 @ 09:30 to 22:00

Lovers of books and writing will enjoy our third annual literature festival, taking place throughout our beautiful theatre. Hear about the topics that have inspired local writers to put pen to paper and try your hand with a creative writing or writing family history workshop. Choose to book a single ticket or get one free when you buy two talks as part of the literature festival. Day tickets and festival tickets are also available for talks (offer does not include workshops or plays).

Thursday 25 April 2024

10.30am-11.30am: Devon History Matters with Dr Todd Gray (Auditorium)

Only by examining the past can we hope to grasp the nature of modern society and anticipate the future. In this far-reaching lecture Dr Gray calls upon more than forty years of unparalleled archival work which has resulted in some fifty versatile and highly-original books on Devon. He will demonstrate how the discovery of previously unknown documents has significantly altered how we view Devon’s past and will reveal others that challenge our assumptions about ourselves and the past. Click here to buy tickets.

12pm-2pm: Exploring and Writing Your Family History workshop with Alison Huntingford (Stage Left)

This will be a participatory workshop with the chance to look at elements of your own family history and think about the most interesting parts to follow up. The workshop, with historical fiction author Alison Huntingford, will look at census records, certificates of births, marriages and deaths, institution records and more to create a rounded picture of one particular ancestor.  Click here to buy tickets.

12.30pm-1.30pm: Mothers of the Mind with Rachel Trethewey (Auditorium)

Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie and Sylvia Plath are three of our most famous authors, this talk explores the story of the remarkable mothers who shaped them. Born and educated in Torquay, Rachel Trethewey read History at Oxford University, where she won the Philip Geddes Prize for Student journalism. After working for the Daily Express, The Daily Mail and Westcountry Television, she did a PhD at Exeter University. She has written four non-fiction books. Click here to buy tickets.

2.30pm-3.30pm: History Tours of Torquay with Phil Badcott (Auditorium)

Local historian Phil Badcott provides an entertaining and informative talk using digitised magic lantern slides from the Torquay Museum pictorial archive for a virtual circular tour of Torquay including the Museum, the Strand, Seafront, Cockington, Chelston, Watcombe and Meadfoot with lots of fascinating photos and historical facts. Click here to buy tickets.

7.30pm-10pm: Enid Blyton – Noddy, Big-Ears & Lashings of Controversy (Stage Left)

Everybody of a certain age has read an Enid Blyton book. She was loved by children but vilified by the BBC, teachers, critics and librarians. She sold more than 600 million books, despite being banned by the BBC, libraries and schools. She was accused of many things including being a racist.  Her love-life was interesting and she had numerous affairs including with her children’s nanny. She died of Alzheimer’s in 1968 aged 71, mourned by millions of readers. Liz Grand (previous shows ‘The Second Best Bed’, ‘Where Is Mrs. Christie?’ and ‘Mrs. Churchill – My life With Winston’) plays this remarkable and controversial woman and brings you her story. An On a Role Theatre Company production. Click here to buy tickets.

7.30pm-10pm: Bijou Theatre Productions presents Gaslight (Auditorium)

Bijou Theatre Productions bring a classic Victorian thriller to our stage, a dark tale of a marriage based on deceit and trickery, and a husband committed to driving his wife insane in order to steal from her. The suave and confident Jack Manningham appears to live a comfortable life with his wife Bella. But a quiet malevolence and casual misogyny lurks beneath the surface.  He is slowly, deliberately driving his wife, Bella, insane. He has almost succeeded but as Bella begins to doubt her own sanity, help arrives in the form of a former detective, Rough, who believes Manningham to be a thief and murderer. Click here to buy tickets.

Click on this link for the full programme of talks and workshops taking place on Friday 26 April.

DAY PASS – does not include plays or workshops.


April 25
09:30 to 22:00
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The Palace Theatre
01803 665800
View Organiser Website


The Palace Theatre
Palace Avenue
Paignton, Devon TQ3 3HF United Kingdom
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01803 665800
View Venue Website

The Palace Theatre Paignton