Amphitheatre to open on Southend Pier by summer

Echo: Royal Pavilion on Southend Pier Royal Pavilion on Southend Pier

A NEW amphitheatre is set to host its first performances at the end of Southend Pier this summer.

Southend Council plans to finally build the much-delayed open-air performance area outside the Royal Pavilion at the pierhead ready for the start of the summer season.

The structure is part of a pier development scheme costing almost £1million planned by the council this year.

Mark Murphy, the council’s group manager for property regeneration and strategic projects, said: “This project is another example of the council’s continued commitment to invest in Southend’s iconic pier, which is an internationally renowned attraction for residents and visitors.”

Theatre groups will be able to use the amphitheatre to entertain crowds during summer months.

The final design of the amphitheatre is yet to be decided, but it is expected to include open-air seating for about 100 people.

The council is looking for a firm to design and build the structure.

Mr Murphy said: “The amphitheatre has always been proposed as an open-air performance space, so there would not be covered seating for the audience, but we anticipate it would be able to accommodate around 100 people.

“While we have a base design, the details of this may change depending on the accepted project submitted by the firm winning the tender.”

An amphitheatre was included in the original plans for the redesign of the end of the pier, which also included the Royal Pavilion, by Swedish firm White Arkitekter, back in 2009.

The £3million pavilion, at first known as Southend Cultural Centre, was installed at the pierhead to much fanfare and hosted its first performances in the summer of 2012.

The amphitheatre, at first planned to include covered seating, was expected to be finished by March last year, but never appeared.

The Echo understands the project was delayed after the council failed to secure a sufficient level of funding and the design had to be scaled back.

The authority has set aside £943,000 for “pier infrastructure and development” in the coming year, which also includes work to shore up the foundations of the area around the lifeboat station.

Another £500,000 is on the books for 2015/16. Both amounts have already been agreed by the council.

Comments (4)

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8:40am Fri 17 Jan 14

Old Southendian says...

Bearing in mind past history of project completion, the timescales for this summer look optimistic. There appears to be no designer or contractor appointed yet!
Must get on to Ladbrokes for odds on completion dates.
Bearing in mind past history of project completion, the timescales for this summer look optimistic. There appears to be no designer or contractor appointed yet! Must get on to Ladbrokes for odds on completion dates. Old Southendian

6:14pm Fri 17 Jan 14

jolllyboy says...

Seating for 100, Royal Pavilion - are they sure there will be enough space for everyone else. So money will be spent doing this instead of Childrens centres and care homes and bus route subsidies. Noe will it wont be open everyday during the winter months. Not my idea of priority.
Seating for 100, Royal Pavilion - are they sure there will be enough space for everyone else. So money will be spent doing this instead of Childrens centres and care homes and bus route subsidies. Noe will it wont be open everyday during the winter months. Not my idea of priority. jolllyboy

6:49pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Thames Gateway says...

Trebles all round and lets apply for the City of Culture yet again!
Trebles all round and lets apply for the City of Culture yet again! Thames Gateway

12:43pm Sun 19 Jan 14

southendfanman says...

Southend Pier is just the most boring space ever. Sick a huge roller coaster and other rides on it. Make it fun.
Southend Pier is just the most boring space ever. Sick a huge roller coaster and other rides on it. Make it fun. southendfanman

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