The beautiful listed buildings of the Congress Theatre, Winter Garden and Devonshire Park are much-loved locally as well as being of national architectural importance, and through the Devonshire Quarter scheme they will be fully restored to their former glory. Visitors, performers and audiences will enjoy a wealth of improvements being made to these venues which have a combined capacity of more than 3,500 seats. The high standard of specialist work being carried out to sensitively enhance and preserve these magnificent buildings will ensure they will be treasured for years to come.
The Congress Theatre is Grade II* listed. Purpose built, the theatre and conference venue has a seating capacity of 1655, and is the largest theatre on the south coast. The Congress is one of a limited number of post-war theatres in the country and its architectural merit puts it alongside the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Nottingham Playhouse and Chichester Theatres.
The Devonshire Quarter project was able to provide the Congress Theatre with an extensive refurbishment which reinstated and enhanced the stylish interior that was present when it opened in 1963. The old heating system and air conditioning unit was replaced keeping to the demands of modern theatre systems. This follows the completion in 2015 of an award-winning scheme to restore and improve the building’s iconic façade as well as make it more energy efficient.
The Congress Theatre auditorium has had a 1655 seat renovation with new technical and temperature provision and is now open after a major two-year refurbishment.