What's On in Devon, August 2022

A man dressed in a cape stands in the centre of a stage sparsely decorated with a wooden table and door

Le Navet Bete’s take on Dracula. - Credit: Mark Dawson

We reveal all the amazing things happening in Devon this month and beyond. 

Theatre

1. Footloose

Smash hit 1984 film Footloose made Kevin Bacon a global star as Ren McCormack, a city boy who suddenly found himself in rural America with his single mom. To add insult to injury, local pastor the Reverend Shaw Moore has spearheaded a campaign to ban dancing and rock music. A theatre version now on tour includes all the hits from the film - Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and the unforgettable foot-tapping title track Footloose.

Playing the Rev Moore is musical theatre star Darren Day. He kickstarted his career in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End and has toured in Summer Holiday, Grease , Rocky Horror and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He’s also found time to appear on I’m a Celebrity, Hollyoaks and presenting various TV shows.

Footloose is at the Princess Theatre, Torquay (atgtickets.com) August 9-13.

Birmingham Stage Company presents Gangsta Granny 2021

Gangsta Granny is based on David Walliams’ bestselling boo - Credit: Mark Douet

2. Gangsta Granny

Birmingham Stage Company have captured the anarchic silliness of David Walliams’ book Gangsta Granny in this show about Ben and his boring granny. Friday nights mean staying with Granny... but she turns out to lead a secret life. The show is aimed at anyone over five and is laugh out loud funny and thrilling but also has some very moving and truthful things to say about family relationships.

Gangsta Granny is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth August 9 -13. Book online at theatreroyal.com.

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3. Singin' in the Rain

Much-loved musical Singin’ in the Rain, based on the MGM film with Gene Kelly, will provide a watery spectacle on the stage of the Theatre Royal Plymouth. To recreate the film’s iconic scene takes 6,000 litres of water - the same weight as 11 grand pianos. Getting wet will be Adam Cooper as Don Lockwood – the silent movie star facing the challenges posed by the introduction of sound in Hollywood. Charlotte Gooch plays his love interest, chorus girl Kathy Selden .

Singin’ in the Rain is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth August 15 - 20.

Five actors dressed as the Osmans play instruments whilst I woman watches from the stairs behind

Recreating original boy band the Osmonds in a new musical - Credit: Pamela Raith

4. The Osmonds: A New Musical

Celebrating the magic of the Seventies family supergroup the Osmonds, this show includes smash hits One Bad Apple, Down by the Lazy River, Crazy Horses, Let Me In , Love Me for a Reason, Puppy Love, Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, Paper Roses and many more. The band sold over 100 million records worldwide and in this show writer Jay Osmond reveals the real family stories behind the hits.

At the Princess Theatre, Torquay (atgtickets.com) August 30 - September 3.

5. Dracula: The Bloody Truth

The stakes are high for Exeter - based Le Navet Bete who put their own spin on Bram Stoker’s Gothic thriller. The company of four will take you on a journey across Europe from the quaint seaside town of Whitby to Dracula’s gloomy castle in Transylvania. It is a matter of life and death for Professor Van Helsing and the mysterious count.

At the Gateway Theatre Seaton for two nights – August 26 and 27. Book online at thegatewayseaton.co.uk.

6. Awful Auntie

Veterans of outdoor theatre, Heartbreak Productions, have been delighting audiences for more than 30 years and their new summer show, Awful Auntie, won’t disappoint. Based on the popular children’s book by David Walliams, it has owls, ghosts, chases, escapes and motorcycle rides and is set in Saxby Hall Orphanage where Stella tries to look after the children in spite of her awful Aunt Alberta.

Performances in August at Killerton near Exeter (August 6), Hearn Field near Newton Abbot (7), Hartland Abbey in North Devon (16) and Castle Hill near Barnstaple (17). For information go to heartbreakproductions.co.uk.

A man dressed as a waiter looks like he is about to slip with a tray of tea. You can see the crowd watching

Heartbreak Productions’Awful Auntie - Credit: James/GrovPhotography

Talks and Comedy

1. Nish Kumar

Host of the popular BBC comedy show, The Mash Report, Nish Kumar is bringing his new show – Your Power, Your Choice – to the Babbacombe Theatre. He has enjoyed huge success on the stand - up circuit with five rave reviewed solo stand - up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, two of which were nominated for the prestigious Comedy Award for Best Show in both 2015 and 2016. Nish is a frequent guest on shows such as Q.I., Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You.

Nish Kumar appears on August 19. Book at Babbacombe-theatre.com.

2. Tim Peake

The first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station to conduct a spacewalk, Tim Peake will take you on a journey out of this world in My Journey to Space. His Devon dates are part of his first ever UK tour. Expect breath-taking photographs, and never-before-seen incredible footage as Tim reveals the secrets, the science and the everyday wonders of how and why humans journey into space.

At the Princess Theatre, Torquay (atgtickets.com) on September 18 and Plymouth Pavilions (plymouthpavilions.com) on September 19. 

Simon Parker stands next to a lake with his bike, loaded for a journey

Simon Parker on his journey around the country - Credit: Fionn McArthur

3. Simon Parker

The pandemic lockdown impacted on all of us. For esteemed travel writer and broadcaster, Simon Parker, his world fell apart when Covid put a stop to global travel. Overnight his ordinarily jammed schedule was left empty, and like many, his mental health spiralled to a place of misery and hopelessness. Things deteriorated further with news of a close personal tragedy and Simon knew that something drastic had to be done to change his downward trajectory. He turned to the only therapies he could trust: travel and exercise.

He ended up cycling around the country – camped on isolated beaches and countryside and meeting extraordinary people. Hi s journey – emotional and physical – is told in new book Riding Out which he will discuss, with films , photos and audio clips, in a theatre tour.

Simon Parker is at Seaton’s Gateway Theatre (thegatewayseaton.co.uk) on September 24 and Exeter Phoenix (exeterphoenix.org.uk) on September 26.

Exhibitions

1.Brick by Brick

Exeter’s Royal Albert Museum and Art Gallery travels through time to discover the city’s past and potential future in the Brick by Brick exhibition. Masterful builders have created nine miniature scenarios including Romans taking a bath, an erupting volcano in prehistoric Devon and the leafy green, sustainable Exeter of the future... all made in Lego bricks! There are creative themed build sessions during the school summer holidays including weekly relaxed sessions.

Brick by Brick is on at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, until September 11. Book online at rammuseum.org.uk.

Lego characters are dressed as Romans standing in front of a pool

Roman Baths recreated in Lego at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum - Credit: RAAM

2. George Shaw

An exhibition by Ilfracombe - based artist George Shaw is now at The Box in Plymouth. The Turner - nominated artist’s work is based around Coventry, where he was born. Often working with Humbrol enamel paint (normally used by modelmakers) he captures the post - war housing built for bombed - out city residents and a growing population, a strikingly familiar image for Plymothians. George started much of his recent work before lockdown and has had time to revisit the paintings to reflect on the tenuous relationship between time and the still image.

George Shaw’s work is at The Box (theboxplymouth.com) until September 4.

Festivals

1. Nature Valley Gone Wild

This family - centric festival hosted by Bear Grylls at Powderham Castle near Exeter will be packed with adventure including an appearance by Sir Ranulph Fiennes - The World’s Greatest Living Explorer, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He is the only man alive ever to have travelled around the Earth’s circumpolar surface (more people have been to the moon!)

There’s a busy programme for the whole weekend. Activities include coasteering, climbing, zombie paintball, stand up paddleboarding and a commando course, which can be booked in advance. Walk - up activities include kayaking, tree climbing, yoga, science workshops, skateboarding and a junior jungle family rave.

Tickets are on sale at gonewildfestival.com for the festival, August 25 - 28. There is weekend camping available.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes during his 2008 Everest attempt.

Sir Ranulph Fienneswill be at Gone Wild - Credit: Liz Scarff

2. Dartington Festival

Highlights for the next few weeks are; 

Book online at Dartington.org.

Music and Film

1. Big Screen in the Park

Family films, indie hits and a Bond blockbuster are the treats on offer at Big Screen in the Park this year in Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens. For families, there’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (August 10) and Back to the Future (August 13). Wes Anderson’s stunning The French Dispatch is on August 11 and Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, No Time to Die, is August 12.

Book at exeterphoenix.org.uk.

2. Rosemoor Live!

An evening of energetic live entertainment is lined up for the beautiful RHS Garden Rosemoor. One - man - band Wilderland is Andy Souch, a punk band drummer in his teens. His in-your-face music is also playful, with the audiences handed tambourines to join in. He’s followed by multi award - winning 3 Daft Monkeys , veterans of Glastonbury with infectious dancing rhythms and famously theatrical live performances. Refreshments include a hog roast.

Book at rhs.org/rosemoor.

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