The Babbacombe Theatre was built gradually on the grounds of a site where bands played in the summer. The Babbacombe Downs Concert Hall was built in 1938 to replace the weather-damage bandstand and awning, which had been constructed in 1920 and 1935. The hall could be built no higher than the old awning, so all the seats in the auditorium are on one level. Ernest Goss? Municipal Orchestra with the BBC?s baritone John Steabben were the inaugural performers at the 27 May 1939, debut. The first Sunday concert was a live radio broadcast with Redvers Llewellyn, on Sunday 4 June. That same evening patrons could hear and see the famous Richard Tauber under the baton of Mr Goss and the Municipal Orchestra, tickets were on sale at 10/6d, 7/6d, 3/6d & 2/6d.
The military commandeered the Hall during World War II to give lectures for the aircrew trainees of the RAF. It is documented that 27,000 aircrew were trained at the theatre. In June 1940, the venue became the No. 1 Air Crew Receiving Centre, with new airmen being kitted out at the nearby Babbacombe Garage.