A PLUSH new piazza and grand new entrance will be created at the the Cliffs Pavilion when a major £8million refurbishment project kicks off in the new year.

The theatre - which is set to play host to a number of big names next year - will remain open throughout the works when they begin in January next year in a big boost to theatre-lovers.

The work will see a number of upgrades, including an expansion of the restaurant, a new entrance and lobby, upgraded ventilation as well as a new outdoor piazza. 

The outdoor piazza will consist of improved open space for residents to enjoy before watching a show as the theatre looks to capitalise on cafe culture in Southend.

There will be improvement to the bars, toilets, and lifts. 

This week, the council has signed a deal with Willmott Dixon as the construction partner, paving the way for work to begin at the turn of the new year. 

Derek Jarvis, Conservative councillor responsible for arts, culture, heritage, and leisure, said: “The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre is one of Southend’s key venues for culture, arts and events and adds so much to our reputation as a cultural destination and brings millions of pounds into the local economy.

“This work will ensure that we reinforce its position as one of the top ten regional theatres in the country.

“The proposed expansion and upgrade of the theatre will also help us to secure the future success of the Cliffs Pavilion, in the hopes of benefiting from larger touring shows and bringing larger audiences to Southend whilst also benefiting our local economy.”

Works are set to startcommence in January 2024, subject to planning permission, but the venue will remain open throughout the planned renovation.

The Cliffs has several major shows already bookeding in for 2024, including SIX the Musical, the Full Monty, I Should Be So Lucky, Pretty Woman the Musical, Professor Brian Cox, and Romesh Ranganathan.

This year’s pantomime at the theatre will be Peter Pan, running from December 9 until December 31 before the work commences.