New deal for Hastings’ White Rock Theatre

White Rock Theatre. File photo
White Rock Theatre. File photo

Hastings Borough Council and HQ Theatres and Hospitality Ltd have agreed a five-year extension to the contract to manage the White Rock Theatre.

The new contract will run from February 2019 to February 2024 and the White Rock Theatre will operate on a much reduced management fee from the council.

HQ Theatres have plans to develop many kinds of programming including touring musicals, classical and modern music.

The Sussex Studio space is being improved to offer better facilities for small-scale theatre and music, and will continue to be available free-of-charge for meetings, rehearsals and community events for organisations.

Another key growth area is the venue’s participation programme. Its year-round youth theatre and summer musical project is being extended to include groups for younger children and for adults.

Cllr Kim Forward, the council’s lead councillor for regeneration and culture, said: “I am very pleased to see the commitment to greater community involvement by HQ and look forward to a programme which will have increased appeal for both residents and visitors and should attract audiences from further afield.

“The council’s regeneration plan for the Bohemia area gives us a great opportunity to look at the need for both improved, and an increased number of performance spaces to reflect the importance we place on culture and the arts in our town.”

Julian Russell, CEO of HQ Theatres and Hospitality, said: “We are pleased to be able to confirm the extension to our existing contract and to continue our association with the White Rock Theatre for a further five years.

“The White Rock Theatre is a vital cultural asset to the community so we’re delighted about this positive outcome which will meet the needs of all key stakeholders including Hastings Borough Council, our loyal audience and the many local organisations and community groups who regularly use the facilities at the theatre.

“HQ Theatres and Hospitality is committed to developing the programme of events on offer and we are excited to be extending our creative learning, education and community engagement programmes; ensuring widespread participation amongst Hastings residents and young people. We look forward to developing these plans in conjunction with Hastings Borough Council and local organisations.”