The White Rock Theatre is home to some of the best live entertainment in East Sussex. It’s one of the county’s largest venues with 1066 seats and a standing capacity of over 1800. May 2022 saw the venue’s highest ever attendance for Scottish rock band, Primal Scream.
The venue strives to be a cultural asset for Hastings and the wider community, hosting a broad programme of events each year.
Situated in a commanding position on the shoreline, the White Rock Theatre’s Seaview Lounge and Circle Bar offer unbeatable views of Hastings Pier and the English Channel.
A refurbishment in 2019 and installation of flat-floor seating in the auditorium gave the White Rock added flexibility. It successfully hosts a huge variety of live music, comedy, musicals, dance, sport, plays, family shows, talk shows, school performances, festivals, competitions, exhibitions, and its famous annual pantomime.
Built on the site of the old East Sussex Hospital, the White Rock Pavilion was opened by HRH Edward, Prince of Wales in April 1927. It was built for the Hastings Municipal Orchestra and attracted world-renowned musicians. Piano luminaries like Rachmaninoff and conductors like Sir Edward Elgar performed on the White Rock stage.
Decca Records used it as recording studio while the BBC broadcast several radio concerts from there. These included three consecutive Christmas Day concerts from 1935-1937, after the King’s Speech, that were heard around the world.
The pavilion underwent a re-modification in 1937 and again in 1985 when it was renamed the White Rock Theatre. While the theatre was closed during the pandemic lockdowns, a small team of dedicated staff removed red carpet in the entrance foyer and restored the original parquet flooring underneath. The shiny floor complements the building’s other classic art deco features.
Offering a range of versatile spaces that can be adapted to suit requirements, it’s also an ideal venue for private hires and can be used for meetings, rehearsals, workshops, conferences, parties, and celebrations. The Sussex Studio encompasses a multi-functional space, with access to The Campbell Room.
Different community groups use the building on a long-term basis including Hastings Knitters since 2017, and Active Arts (Hastings & Bexhill Mencap) for their performing and visual arts course for adults with learning disabilities.
The long-running Creative Learning, Youth & Community Programme has given hundreds of young people in the area professional and affordable performing arts experience. The Summer Youth Project has been running since 2003; two weeks in the summer holidays for children aged 8-18 with four performances on the main stage.
West End Experience has run workshops as an annual Easter Youth Project for ten years. Giving young people the opportunity to work with a professional choreographer, musical director, creative director, and West End stars.
For those getting their very first introduction to the arts, there’s the annual West End Weenies for ages 4-7, plus weekly classes for Tots (ages 2-4), Tiddlers (4-7), Youth Theatre (8-16), and Theatre Company (8-19).
The White Rock Theatre is owned by Hastings Borough Council and managed by Trafalgar Theatres.
Ticket prices vary accoring to performance. See our website for details.
|Season (1 Jan 2023 - 31 Dec 2023)|
|Monday - Friday||10:00||- 16:00*|
* .Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change
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