Hairspray will be the first show back at the Queen’s after Parkwood signed the contract to take over both of North Devon’s theatres

The Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe will be available for community events but no commercial shows are planned yet.The Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe will be available for community events but no commercial shows are planned yet.

The show is set to go on again with the Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple reopening at the end of May.

The contracts have been signed and North Devon Council has confirmed Parkwood Theatres will take over running of both of North Devon's theatres from Monday.

The very first show back at the Queen's will be the all-singing, all-dancing production of Hairspray by Barnstaple Musical Comedy and Dramatic Society on May 31 and running for four nights.

Parkwood will have a temporary 12-month contract and normal programming will begin at the Queen's from September, with several 'exciting shows' promised.

The Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe will be used as a polling station on Thursday, May 4 for the county council elections.

But the company, which runs theatres in Weston-Super-Mare, Maidstone and Crawley, will not be putting on any commercial programming at the Landmark, but in the short-term it will be available for community events.

There has been a huge surge of community support for both theatres since North Devon Theatres Trust went into administration in January, leading to the immediate closure of both buildings.

Tony Doherty at Parkwood said: "The Queen's Theatre is a standard theatre size and model, so it's easier for us to confidently programme for a facility we're familiar with.

"The Landmark is a more unusual venue, so although we see plenty of potential long term, we need to get to know the facility and take a more cautious approach to programming there.

"That said, we're very confident there will be plenty of activity at both theatres this year."

The society's production of Hairspray is the first back in the theatre, but its last production of Annie was in fact the last mainstream show to appear before the Queen's showed. Society chairman Graham Ruhleman said being back in the theatre 'means everything'.

He said: "We have looked at other venues and there really is not anything else in North Devon that comes close to performing at the Queen's.

"The cast are very excited and just can't wait to get back in there."

Mark Kentell, contracts delivery manager at NDC added: "We are delighted the theatres are back up and running and would like to thank the community for its support and understanding during the recent difficulties.

"Although the programme of events for the coming year will probably be less than people are used to seeing, this will only be in the short term.

"Today's news is something to be really happy about - the theatres are both about to reopen and their future is secure."