Deep Purple singer new patron of Marine Theatre

marine theatre ian gillan gabby rabbitts
Marine Theatre director Gabby Rabbitts with the venue's new patron Ian Gillan. Photo by John Puckey

THE Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis has announced that Ian Gillan, frontman of rock band Deep Purple, has joined the venue as a patron.

The Deep Purple lead singer and lyricist lives between Portugal and Lyme Regis. He found fame in the 1970s with hard rock hits such as ‘Smoke On The Water’, ‘Highway Star’, and ‘Child in Time’.

When in Dorset, Ian regularly visits the Marine for concerts, comedy, and theatre.

He explained that he has an interest in supporting all arts, especially regionally: “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.”

Marine ‘regaining its vibrancy’

ian gillan
Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan has been named the new patron of the Marine Theatre. Photo by John Puckey

Ian made clear his passion for the Marine in particular: “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. One of my favourite events was seeing George Melley.

“I am enjoying seeing it 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.”

Ian has previously supported arts ventures in Lyme Regis, having donated to the annual Guitars On The Beach event in 2014 – when he appeared on stage for a performance of ‘Smoke On The Water’ – and again for the 2018 event.

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