Council committed to securing future of theatre

White Rock Theatre, Hastings.
White Rock Theatre, Hastings.

Hastings Borough Council has confirmed that arrangements are being put in place to secure the future of the White Rock Theatre until at least 2024.

At its cabinet last Monday (December 4), the council agreed that, as its first preference, it would seek to agree terms to extend the existing contract with HQ Theatres & Hospitality Ltd for five years, to the end of January 2024. It also agreed to start the process to secure a new operator should the negotiations with HQ Theatres prove unsuccessful.

Council leader Peter Chowney said: “This is a good result for Hastings. I know how popular the White Rock Theatre is, and how important it is to both visitors and the local community. Hopefully we will be able to secure a deal with the existing operator, but, if we can’t, we are committed to finding another organisation to run it.

“We are keen to see more local input into the White Rock’s programming, and are encouraging music and theatre groups to get more involved, perhaps through a consortium which can work with HQ Theatres, or a new operator, and start to put on its own events.

“We are also looking to the future. In five years time we should be much more advanced in our plans to improve the whole White Rock area, where we intend to develop a new, multi-function performance venue.”

Julian Russell, chief executive of HQ Theatres & Hospitality, added: “We’re delighted that the council confirmed its commitment to the future of the White Rock Theatre and we are pleased to be starting discussions with the council with the aim of securing the future operation of the theatre.

“The White Rock Theatre is a vital cultural asset to the local community so we’re hopeful of a positive outcome and one which meets the needs of all key stakeholders including the borough council, our loyal audience and the many local organisations and community groups who use the facilities at the theatre.”