The Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe officially reopens tonight (Monday, March 25) with a very special guest waiting in the wings.
Sir Ian McKellan is the first performer at the theatre under the new operator Selladoor Worldwide and he will be presenting his one man show to a packed and sold out house.
And Selladoor has revealed the star of stage, screen and The Lord of the Rings is donating the revenue from his show to be ploughed back into the theatre.
Selladoor CEO David Hutchinson told the Gazette the money would be used to refurbish the bar and restaurant area at the Landmark.
He said: “In many ways it’s all come together for us, the opportunity to open the venue and have Sir Ian here with his show.
“Now that we have had the keys for a couple of months it’s a lot better, a lot brighter – it’s beginning to feel a little bit more like a home.
“But every time I walk into that theatre it really catches me off guard how amazing the place is.”
Selladoor took over the running of the Landmark and the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple in January from interim operator Parkwood.
It has already published its programme for the year which includes award-winning comedy Rotterdam at The Landmark, as well as big stage productions of Fame and Madagascar at the Queen’s.
David said of the Landmark’s atmosphere: “Our mission is to get as many quality performers and acts in there to experience that for themselves, as well as make it a destination for teas, coffees, wine and dinners, so that the building feels alive.
“There’s clearly a market in Ilfracombe that we want to entice to come and spend an evening with us.”
Selladoor CFO Phillip Rowntree said the Landmark bar area had been prepared for reopening and the café itself would be open daily again around Easter and be dog friendly too.
He said the former Gallery café at the Queen’s had also been refurbished and would be opened as Upstairs @ the Queen’s as a Barnstaple town centre destination.
He said: “The staff have worked hours to bring life back into the Landmark, they are really quite passionate about it.
“We are starting to bring back the summer season, with shows including Dangerous Corner and Wife Begins at 40 – and one of the big things is to open the doors and make it viable for the community to bring back performances there.
“We have Cider With Rosie with Studio Theatre and the Rebecca Varley Dance Academy is bringing Cats to the Landmark, and Petroc Theatre is bringing Me and My Girl.”