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Excavation begins for new Welcome Building in The Devonshire Quarter

13 September 2017

The transformation of the inside of Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre is underway as the auditorium becomes a temporary home for nearly 120 tonnes of scaffolding.

Congress Theatre transformation


The refurbishment of the Grade II listed theatre, that was built in 1963, is part of Eastbourne Borough Council’s £44 million investment to create a first-class cultural, conferencing and sporting destination known as Devonshire Quarter.

To date, all 1,660 seats have been removed from the auditorium to make way for nearly 34,000ft of scaffold tubes that will be held together by 6,577 fittings with nearly 3,200 scaffold boards.

Once the scaffolding is completed, work will begin to create an opening in the roof of the auditorium to make way for a state-of-the-art lighting bridge.

This will be followed by the installation of a new heating and air conditioning system, new seating, new toilets and a new café in the current foyer.

Cllr Margaret Bannister, Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism & Enterprise, said: “This is a really exciting stage of the development as work will progress soon on installing a lighting bridge that will enable London-style shows to be put on in Eastbourne. The extent of the scaffolding shows how much work is involved in this stage of the Congress transformation.”

The Congress Theatre, the largest theatre in the south-east, is considered architecturally on a par with buildings such as The National Theatre and Chichester Theatre. The current work follows the completion in 2015 of an award-winning scheme to restore and improve the building’s iconic façade as well as make it more energy efficient.

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