Culture of Plymouth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The culture of Plymouth is a social aspect of the unitary authority and city of Plymouth that is located in the south-west of England. Built in 1815, Union Street was at the heart of Plymouth's historical culture.[1] It became known as the servicemens playground, as it was where sailors from the Royal Navy would seek entertainment.[1] During the 1930s, there were 30 pubs and it attracted such performers as Charlie Chaplin to the New Palace Theatre.[1] It is now the late-night hub of Plymouth's entertainment strip,[2] but has a reputation for trouble at closing hours.[3]

Outdoor events and festivals are held including the annual British Firework Championships in August, which attracts tens of thousands of people across the waterfront.[4] In August 2006 the world record for the most amount of simultaneous fireworks was surpassed, by Roy Lowry of the University of Plymouth, over Plymouth Sound.[5] Since 1992 the Music of the Night has been performed in the Royal Citadel by the 29 Commando Regiment and local performers to raise money for local and military charities.[6]

The city's main theatres are the Theatre Royal (1,315 capacity),[7] its Drum Theatre (200 capacity),[8] and its newly built production and creative learning centre, The TR2.[9] The Plymouth Pavilions has multi uses for the city staging music concerts, basketball matches and stand-up comedy.[10] There are also three cinemas. The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is operated by Plymouth City Council allowing free admission – it has six galleries.[11]

Plymouth is the sub-regional television centre of BBC South West.[12] Plymouth is the regional television centre of BBC South West.[12] A team of journalists are headquartered at Plymouth for the ITV West Country regional station, after a merger with ITV West forced ITV Westcountry to close on 16 February 2009. The main local newspapers serving Plymouth are The Herald and Western Morning News with BBC Radio Devon and Plymouth Sound being the main local radio stations.[13]

In 2009 Plymouth Culture, an arts and cultural development agency,[14] was set up to provide strategic direction for cultural development across the city.[15]

Theatres and cinemas[edit]

The Theatre Royal is a provincial producing theatre and incorporates a studio theatre (The Drum). Its production and education centre, TR2, is in an award-winning building at Cattedown.[16] The Barbican Theatre is in a converted Mission.[1]. The university has two well-equipped theatres within the Roland Levinsky Building. Amateurs perform at the Devonport Playhouse and the Globe Theatre (within Stonehouse barracks). The Plymouth Pavilions stages music concerts from rock and pop to ballet, as well as hosting basketball, wrestling and line dancing.

There is a small cinema at Derry's Cross. In Looe Street, Plymouth Arts Centre has a single screen cinema specialising in art house and foreign films. The Levinsky arts building at the university has a film centre and there is a Vue cinema at the Barbican Leisure Park.[17]

Museums, art galleries and historic buildings[edit]

The National Marine Aquarium is located in Plymouth.
The Royal Citadel at night.

The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in Drake Circus has collections of fine and decorative arts, natural history and human history.

The Plymouth Arts Centre, established in 1948, is located near the Barbican, and regularly offers visiting displays of work by a wide range of local, British and international artists such as Beryl Cook, Richard Deacon, Andy Goldsworthy and Sir Terry Frost. As well as promoting visual arts, many independent art house and foreign films are shown.[18]

A converted church on North Hill, now the Sherwell Centre and part of the university, hosts regular exhibitions, concerts, recitals, lectures and other public events. There are smaller and privately owned retail galleries in the Barbican.

Also in Plymouth are the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, Smeaton's Tower, the Elizabethan House, and Merchants House in The Barbican. Plymouth is home to the National Marine Aquarium. The Plymouth Synagogue, in Catherine Street, was built in 1762.

Plymouth Naval Base Museum is a maritime museum under development at HMNB Devonport.[19]


Union Street has been the centre of Plymouth's nightlife for over a century.[citation needed] Previously lined with music halls and cinemas, the street is now run down[20] but is still home to a number of bars, clubs and casinos. Although most clubs play commercial dance and R&B, there are some which play less popular genres.[citation needed] Other clubs and bars are at the Barbican Leisure Park and on Lockyer Street. There are a number of bars with live music. Mutley Plain and North Hill have many student bars.

Looking towards the sea, from Cliff Road near the Hoe


Plymouth is a sub-regional television centre of BBC South West. A team of journalists are headquartered at Plymouth for the ITV West Country regional station, after a merger with ITV West forced ITV Westcountry to close on 16 February 2009.[21]

The regional stations include BBC Radio Devon, BBC Radio Cornwall, South Hams Radio, Plymouth Sound and Pirate FM.

The main regional newspaper is the Western Morning News, whose local publishing and print centre at Derriford were designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw. The local city paper, from the same publisher, Northcliffe Media group, at the same print centre, is the Plymouth Herald.

Hospital Radio Plymouth is a station dedicated to the city's patients, broadcasting to Derriford Hospital, The Royal Eye Infirmary and on 87.7fm.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Union Street: night and day". Devon Community Life. The BBC. 24 July 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2008. 
  2. ^ "Haven for casualties of the night". The BBC. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  3. ^ Else, David (2007). England. Lonely Planet. p. 340. ISBN 1-74104-567-3. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  4. ^ "The British Firework Championships Plymouth". The British Firework Championships website. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "Rocket man sets record". The BBC. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 21 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "About Music of the Night". Music of the Night. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "Theatre Royal". The Theatre Royal. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Drum Theatre". The Theatre Royal. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "TR2". The Theatre Royal. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "About Us". The Plymouth Pavilions. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Spotlight (address footnote)". BBC South West. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "Creative Sector". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  14. ^ "Plymouth Culture: Home". Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  15. ^ Emily Smith (19 September 2014). "Plymouth Culture is looking for new members - could it be you?". Plymouth Herald. 
  16. ^ TR2 is Britain's "Building of the Year", BBC website. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
  17. ^ "Cinemas". Plymouth City Council. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  18. ^ "Plymouth City Council – Arts". Archived from the original on 12 March 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2008. 
  19. ^ Plymouth Naval Base Museum website
  20. ^ "BBC – Devon – Community Life – Union Street: night and day". Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  21. ^ "The end of an era: Last night for Westcountry TV". The Herald. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2009.