Rottingdean Terraces occupy a prominent position in the village between the White Horse Hotel and the seafront. Created in the mid-1930s, the Terraces structure has remained virtually unchanged since that time.
However, in 2010, Brighton and Hove City Council, who are responsible for the site, decided to resurface the uneven and overgrown main Terraces concourse. While a grant towards the cost had been approved, it was insufficient to cover the total expenditure involved. Interestingly, at the same time that the City Council were hoping to gain local financial support towards the extra cost of the redesign and resurfacing of the Terraces concourse, Dr. Roy Wales and Cathy Taylor, two people who were actively involved in the Rottingdean village community, initiated efforts to create an open air stage on the Terraces site.
In 2010, Dr. Wales, an experienced musician and music educator, had successfully formed and directed the 1st Rottingdean Spring Music Festival. In 2011, following the success of the Festival, he cooperated with Cathy Taylor, who was involved in the local PARC charity, to see if a new open air stage could be added to the existing Terraces structure.
As a result of their discussions, Dr. Wales formed Rottingdean Arts where the primary aim was to raise money to pay for a new performing arts stage on the Terraces. Rottingdean Arts also hoped to persuade the Rottingdean Parish Council and other funding bodies to contribute to the cost of the resurfacing of the main concourse.
Meetings were held between Rottingdean Arts, the City Council and the Parish Council, and an extremely successful public meeting was organised in the White Horse Hotel. At this meeting, the development plans were widely publicised to the village community, which gave them wholehearted support.
As a result of these discussions between interested parties, plans were drawn up for a performance stage. A fundraising drive by Rottingdeaen Arts took place and in a very short time, the necessary finance was obtained. Rottingdean Arts raised £20,000 towards the cost of creating the new stage area and installing power and electricity to the site. The Rottingdean Parish Council also gave a grant of about £11,000 towards the resurfacing of the concourse and the purchase of some new benches.
PARC also contributed towards the cost of the new stage and some benches around the concourse. Finally, Rottingdean Trade, Professional and Business Association under Harold Williams, led an initiative to persuade local traders and Southern Water to donate £20,000 towards the purchase of 300 new audience chairs, some tables and also signposting around the Terraces site and on the seafront.
The work, under the supervision of the City’s Seafront Manager, Toni Manuel, was soon completed and by June 2011 the stage was ready for its first performance.
During that Summer Rottingdean Arts and PARC successfully organised a number of trial performances all of which were well attended and received by the public.
The formal opening of the Terraces stage took place by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove during a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert in July 2012.
Since 2013 Rottingdean Arts has presented a series of varied concerts on Sunday afternoons for residents and visitors to the village.
The Terraces have now become not only a venue for summer performances but a very pleasant place for locals and visitors to sit and enjoy the splendid sea views. The new facility has added greatly to the cultural and leisure activities Rottingdean can now offer its residents and visitors.