Project information

Spend a Penny Campaign

The Queen's Theatre started life as a Music Hall in 1854 and is now a 683 seat venue. 162 years on, a deluge of audience feedback means we need improved facilities to spend a penny!

Renovating and expanding the cramped toilets is the first step to make The Queen’s fit for decades to come.

TBC to start early 2017

Charity information: North Devon Theatres

North Devon Theatres logo
  • Need


    We need toilets fit for the Queen’s!

    The Victorians obviously didn't place much importance on toilets; ours were small, cramped and without adequate plumbing. We have kept up with the times by installing running water and flushing toilets, but both we and our audiences are desperate for new facilities!

    With just two ladies cubicles, one gents and two urinals and a stalls seating capacity of 368 downstairs, the inevitable queues on busy show nights result in quite a few crossed legs.


    Feedback and complaints about the downstairs facilities are the most common received:

    "Fine except toilets . Not enough for a full house in a 20 minute break"
    "Pity ladies toilets are so small and cramped and not enough of them"

    Having last been refurbished in 1994, the upgraded, increased and modernised toilets will come as a welcome relief to audiences that have waited over 22 years for the toilets to be brought into the 21st Century. The result will be increased audience comfort and access

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Upgrade the quality and number of toilets at the Queen's Theatre


    » 1. merge the ladies and the gents on the ground floor to form a larger ladies with more cubicles
    » 2. create a new, enlarged gents toilet downstairs
    » 3. incorporate baby changing facilties

    Success will be demonstrated in fewer complaints greater satisfaction & comfort for all.

  • Impact


    These are permanent changes to the infrastructure at the Queens Theatre. We will monitor the impact on reducing complaints in this area. We anticipate the facilities needing no more work other than regular maintenance for 10 years.

    These changes will mean audiences are more comfortable, have greater access and are therefore more likely to come to the theatre again. Like all live venues, we must make our facilities as up to date and comfortable as possible to ensure our long term survival.


    Planning permission could be refused. We have an indication that planning would be successful from the Local Authority as we are reinstating previous toilets on the lower floor.
    We need a reliable building partner; one who is prepared to do some of the work on a pro bono basis. We already have a partnership which will fulfil this element.
    Insufficient funds also constitute risk. If necessary, we would release the funds from our own, limited, resources as otherwise we will lose audiences.


    We hope donors will give us their contact details so we can keep in touch with e-mail updates. We will also post regular updates on our website for the general public. We will launch our new facilities with a celebration event and invite them to spend a penny!

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £3,000 Materials Building materials
      £7,000 Labour Building Work

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Local Builder £4,000 Conditional
  • Background


    North Devon is one of the most deprived areas in the UK, with earnings typically 20% below the national average. Department of Health Statistics show that North Devon has a significantly higher incidence of low educational achievement, obesity, diabetes and mental illness than the rest of England.
    Our vision is for North Devon Theatres' Trust to be the cultural hub for the region, as well as being a high quality community facility used by many local groups, organisations and societies.


    There is a population of around 160,000 within our very rural and large catchment area. Our project will positively affect every visitor to the Queen's Theatre, an estimated figure of over 75,000 every year.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    There is not a similar arts organisation in the South West – serving every corner of North Devon and surrounding districts. Against a backdrop of limited access to services and distinct pockets of rural deprivation , our work takes on significant importance; if we don’t do it, no one else can. We believe people in North Devon deserve access to the provision available to other areas of the country and to give local communities that chance to get involved, on stage and off.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Richard Purchase

    Project Manager and Executive Chair

    Darrel Gill, RGP Architects


    North Devon District Council - Mark Cantell

    Mark is our link officer at North Devon District Council and will be instrumental to our gaining planning permission.

"The only downside was the long queue for the ladies! The venue needs more toilets."

Audience feedback