Deep Purple star becomes patron of Lyme's Marine Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 February 2018

The Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis. Inset: Rock legend and Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan.

The Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis. Inset: Rock legend and Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan.

Archant

Ian Gillan, lead singer and lyricist of Deep Purple, regularly visits the venue for concerts, comedy and theatre when he spends his time in the county.

The frontman of world-renowned British rock band has become the patron of Lyme Regis’ Marine Theatre.

Ian Gillan, lead singer and lyricist of Deep Purple, regularly visits the venue for concerts, comedy and theatre when he spends his time in the county.

Mr Gillan, who found fame in the 1970s with hard rock hits such as Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, and Child in Time, said he has an interest in supporting all arts, especially regionally.

He said: “It’s vital that we all support the Marine.

“It’s easy to undervalue arts venues, but they are so important to culture and the community.

“People can make a contribution is many ways - even simply by turning up. I come when I can.”

Mr Gillan said he enjoys visiting the Marine, highlighting the feeling of historical importance it projects to its visitors.

He added: “When you walk through the doors, it feels special.

“It reminds me of coming through the doors of the Albert Hall.

“There’s a sense of history. It’s cool to be here.

“You can sit in the bar and watch the stage below or climb in to it in the auditorium. “I am enjoying seeing the Marine regain its vibrancy. There’s a new sense of professionalism and I am pleased to support the venue as a patron.”

Gabby Rabbitts, director of the theatre, said: “We are delighted that Ian Gillan is our patron.

“He’s a figurehead for musicians, and now for the Marine too.

“Our patrons act as advocates for the theatre to the wider world, and offer us the benefit of their experience. We can’t wait to work with him.”

The Marine is more than 120 years old, but it hasn’t always been a theatre.

It was originally was a seawater baths, opened in 1806 – but the eventually fell into disuse. In March 1894 a new drill hall was opened on the site.

After World War One the building became The Drill Hall Theatre, and in the 1930s it became the Marine Cinema.

In 1960 the Lyme Regis Town Council bought the building, and it reopened in 1962 as the Marine Theatre.

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