Rows of new seats are starting to fill the Congress Theatre auditorium as the eagerly-anticipated re-opening nears the 50-day countdown mark.
Around 400 seats have been installed over the last week on newly-laid cork tiles that match the original auditorium flooring when the theatre opened in 1963. Every day more seats are being fitted until the full number of around 1,650 are in place, with covers remaining to keep them in top condition until nearer the re-opening on March 24.
That is when the internationally-renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the first concert in the Grade II* listed theatre since it closed two years ago for major refurbishment.
New front doors are also being fitted at the main entrance this week.
Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: “There are so many components to the Congress renovation project, it’s amazing to see these various strands coming together, from the ongoing work in the auditorium to front of house.
“While this has foremost been a restoration scheme reinstating the interior to its former glory, theatre-goers will also enjoy a much more comfortable visit to the Congress than before, thanks to modern enhancements such as new heating and air conditioning.”
Elsewhere on the Devonshire Quarter complex, work has begun to fit a new roof and timber cladding to the outside of the Winter Garden. Eastbourne Borough Council contractors Vinci have been working closely with Historic England and this new cladding fulfils all conservation requirements.
Meanwhile, the Welcome Building and its first class conference facilities are progressing well and work continues on the new public plaza.