The spirit of the Eastbourne Arts Centre comes from the old Tivoli cinema in Seaside, which Mark Brewer converted to a Performing Arts Centre in 1983.

In 1987 the Tivoli Theatre closed its doors for the last time due to lack of funds. It is true to say that if this remarkable little theatre had not existed, the Eastbourne Arts Centre might never have come into being. Following its closure, friends of the theatre began meeting with the idea of creating an Arts Centre.

The group proposed the centre
• Would be a fringe theatre
• Would embrace all the performing arts
• Would be a place for new playwrights, individual performers and professional theatre companies to display their talents to a small but appreciative audience
• Would form links with local schools
• Would provide programmes for younger children

For all this to take place the next step was to set about finding suitable premises and, some 18 months later, a golden opportunity presented itself.

In April 1989, the group chairman - the late Ernest Wiegand - received news that the Library intended to close its basement lecture theatre in order to save money.