Cliffs Pavilion refurbishment

A major refurbishment of the Cliffs Pavilion is planned which will see extensive improvements to the largest purpose-built performing arts venue in Essex.


Work will start in 2024. The internal works should take about a year to complete. 

Some external work may take a little longer. 

What's being improved?

  • A major expansion of the restaurant
  • A new entrance and lobby to improve the customer experience
  • Upgraded ventilation
  • A new outdoor piazza
  • Improvements to:
    • Bars
    • Toilets (including a changing places facility)
    • Lifts
    • Access


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£5.5m of the project is being funded through Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund announced by the Government on 27 October 2021, with additional investment from the City Council and Trafalgar Entertainment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Cliffs Pavilion close for the refurbishment?

It won’t! The venue will remain open throughout the planned renovation. During the refurbishment work, some of the existing foyer spaces will be closed and some food and drink services will be limited. The venue’s website will provide regular updates.

Tickets will continue to be on sale during the refurbishment period.

Who owns the Cliffs Pavilion?

The Cliffs Pavilion is owned by the Southend-on-Sea City Council and operated by Trafalgar Theatres (part of Trafalgar Entertainment).

Will the daytime café remain open during the construction?

Yes, the café will remain open from 10am every day, and we’ll continue to offer an all-day food and drink menu as normal. At some point in the future, the current café will close for its refurbishment, but by then we will have finished one of the new spaces and will open that for daytime service.

What will the impact on pre-show eating and drinking during the refurbishment?

For most events, pre-show dining will be available at the Cliffs and booking can be made on our website. Our bars will also remain open, although queues may be a little longer than normal, so make sure you arrive nice and early to allow yourself time.

Will there be any impact on the surrounding roads?

There will be reduced access during the daytime on Station Road as this will be cordoned off. However, access will be provided in the evening.

Will the project improve the venue’s sustainability credentials?

Yes, the project will support the Council’s carbon zero and sustainability strategy.

Additionally, the refurbishment project will improve the sustainable profile of the extension and with it the building as a whole as a result.

  • Good solar control to limit solar gain and glare.
  • Efficient air handling unit elements with heat recovery systems to reduce their carbon footprint whilst providing excellent ventilation levels.
  • Thermally efficient elements such as glazing and roof that meet or exceed current statutory requirements, including upgrading some of the existing building fabric to meet current thermal performance levels.
  • The provision of renewables to cover at least 10% of the additional energy requirements of the extension.
  • Good daylight provisions throughout with energy-efficient lighting internally and externally designed to reduce light pollution.
  • Improved water consumption and waste minimisation through a combination of management and specification of equipment.
  • An improved waste management solution within the existing waste management provisions with improved sorting, recycling and minimisation.
  • The structure aims to reuse and make use of as much of the existing building fabric and foundations as possible, reducing the carbon footprint of the new elements where feasible.

The Cliffs Pavilion will continue to keep sustainability at the heart of its operations and practices, with staff, audiences, artists, suppliers, and all those connected to the venue, playing an important role in its sustainable future.

Will you provide updates on the refurbishment project?

Yes. We will keep customers informed on social media, and at key points by email, throughout the refurbishment project.