A West End production, drama and well-known names in music are in the works for a series of autumn shows at the Queen’s

The Stylistics are coming to Barnstaple in the new theatres programme.The Stylistics are coming to Barnstaple in the new theatres programme.

The new operators of the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple have revealed more details of their exciting autumn programme.

The first mainstream shows back in the venue since North Devon Theatres went into administration will begin at the start of September.

Parkwood Theatres has been given a temporary 12 month contract by owner North Devon Council and then a tender process will be held for a permanent operator.

Mark Thompson, general manager for Parkwood Theatres, said the brochure was being designed right now.

Heather Small, the former lead singer of M People, is coming to Barnstaple.Heather Small, the former lead singer of M People, is coming to Barnstaple.

He said despite many tours already being fully booked they were in discussion with famous producer Bill Kenwright about bringing in one of his huge scale West End musicals, as well as a high quality drama.

Other confirmed names include Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, who will be playing the Queen’s on September 22,

The Stylistics, Heather Small from M People, the Sensational 60s Experience and Sally Morgan, psychic to the stars, are also among the line-up.

The production of Hairspray by Barnstaple Musical Comedy and Dramatic Society from May 31-June 3.

Mr Thompson said: “There’s some really exciting shows in the mix and something for everyone – a really well balanced programme given how late it is.

“2018 gets very exciting because we have a longer run at it and a lot of tours have not yet confirmed for that period.”

He also revealed the annual Christmas pantomime would be produced in-house this year and said it would be ‘to a high standard’.

Younger performers and others from the community will be invited to audition to play a part in the panto.

Plans for the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe are in hand, with the café due to open this month and ongoing discussions with community groups about staging their events there.

But there are no plans to reopen the Landmark’s commercial programme, as Mr Thompson explained: “It’s a two-stage process – what we can do in the initial 12 months and the longer term is based on whether we end up as the long term tender.

“Then the focus will be on getting the two venues open and ensuring that they have a long term future.”