The White Rock Theatre will undergo a major refurbishment in 2019.
This year will see a full refurbishment of the original wooden auditorium flooring, changing the seating configuration and giving the venue greater flexibility to present standing concerts in the main house for the first time since 1985. The work will also include brand-new curtaining throughout.
The news follows a recently-completed 13-week improvement programme carried out by venue operators HQ Theatres & Hospitality, which included the re-painting of the venue exterior, refurbishment of the bar, kiosk and lounge areas and investment in new intelligent LED lighting to the front of the building.
The auditorium improvements will allow The White Rock to more easily remove seats for events, giving the theatre the opportunity to increase capacity for standing shows and live music gigs; as well as to host a wider variety of conferences, exhibitions and large scale dining events.
As part of these changes the current raised stalls seating section will be reverted back to the original flat floor stalls seating. The current format was installed during a refurbishment in the 1980s, but limits the flexibility of the auditorium space. The venue will also open the dress circle for all performances moving forward, offering customers a range of seating options.
Theatre director Gavin Shuman said: “We are delighted to return the auditorium to its original layout. Uncovering the dance floor and programming and presenting a greater variety of different events is key to the long term sustainability of this iconic venue.
“These changes are a key part of our growth strategy and we are undertaking them after conversation with agents, promoters, touring shows and event organisers within the community. We strongly believe that this improvement programme will allow for more flexible use of the venue, an increased variety of quality programming as well as continuing to provide an exceptional place of great entertainment for East Sussex into the future.”
Cllr Kim Forward, deputy leader at Hastings Borough Council, which owns the venue, added: “I am delighted with this investment in the White Rock Theatre. The improvements already made have really made a difference, and having the flexibility to remove the stall seating means that this venue can be more widely used, benefitting local residents and visitors alike.”