The Grade II* listed Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, is one of only a limited number of UK post-war listed theatres. Its architectural merit puts it on a par with the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Nottingham Playhouse and Chichester Theatres – most certainly of national importance.
In 2015, the theatre underwent a complete face lift, following an investigation which revealed it was structurally failing due to its exposed location by the sea and the effect of the salt air.
The extensive restoration measures included removal of the glazing and all non-structural elements; improving the steel sub structures, each one designed to match the profiles of the original elements; installation of double glazing, new concrete panelling on first and upper levels, reinstating steel cladding on main supporting columns and cleaning and protection of the concrete features.
“It is wonderful that the Congress Theatre is being returned to its former glory along with improvements to the way the building operates."
Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council
The extent of the works required the removal of virtually the whole façade, but through the construction of an internal wall in the foyer, the theatre continued to operate as usual with no cancellation of any shows.
The careful restoration measures will provide a long life and ensure minimal maintenance in the future and provide enhancements to the buildings energy efficiency reducing heating bills. Faithful+Gould provided lead consultant, project & cost management and heritage consultancy.
“It is wonderful that the Congress Theatre is being returned to its former glory along with improvements to the way the building operates. This is the initial part of our exciting plans for Devonshire Park which will see the area transformed into a vibrant cultural destination.” Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, speaking to the Eastbourne Gazette.