Congress Theatre re-opening date announced

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The Congress Theatre re-opening date has been announced by council officials.

It will re-open on March 24 2019 after a two-year refurbishment.

It was due to close for only 18 months.

The first performance in the Grade II listed theatre will be a concert given by London Philharmonic Orchestra with tickets due to go on sale in early May 2018.

The orchestra will then conclude its 2018/19 season in the Congress with a final concert on April 7.

Built in 1963, the theatre has been closed since January 2017 for extensive work to be carried out. It is currently home to nearly 120 tonnes of scaffolding as new heating, power and ventilation systems are being installed.

When the new look theatre opens it will have brand new seats, a new state-of-the-art lighting bridge, new heating and air conditioning systems and new toilets.

The council’s tourism boss Margaret Bannister said, “We’re delighted to announce the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with such a long association with Eastbourne, will be the first performance in the newly refurbished Congress Theatre. Audiences can really look forward to a spectacular experience in a state-of-the-art theatre that the town deserves.”

The theatre refurbishment is part of Eastbourne Borough Council’s £54 million project to create The Devonshire Quarter, a first-class cultural, conferencing and sporting complex.

The Congress Theatre is considered architecturally on a par with buildings such as the National Theatre and Chichester Theatre.

Further details of the 2019 Congress theatre programme are due to be announced over the next few months.

Earlier this month it was announced though that the budget for the redevelopment had rocketed by almost £10 million with the council coming under fire by taxpayers after it was revealed the authority will have to borrow £4.1 million to complete the regeneration.