SOUTHEND’S iconic Kursaal should be transformed into a “modern town hall”, an ambitious group of artists and musicians insists.

The Concrete Culture group is in the process of drawing up a range of ideas for the seafront building - including art exhibitions, a food court and market, as well as a stage for performances.

Southend singer, Sam Duckworth - known as Get Cape. Wear Cape.Fly - has also backed the plans.

A Tesco Express store is the only tenant in the Kursaal, following the departure of Rendezvous Casino in June.

Concrete Culture is working with economists to determine costings, as well as being backed by designers and meeting with experts in the food industry to boost the proposal.

Matt Dent, councillor of the Kursaal ward, has thrown his weight behind the plans.

Mr Duckworth told the Echo the group is also talking to churches about bringing religious ceremonies to the historic site.

He said: “There just isn’t anything in Southend for this kind of thing. We don’t need to build anything new either. It’s too big for one tenant, it doesn’t work. But if we can share it out then it will.

“Moving out of the pandemic, it’s time to try something big and pull it off. We want to get the whole town involved.”

Echo readers had their say in recent weeks with an ice rink, a museum or an indoor market proving popular.

Sadie Hasler, an actor, is also looking to bring a stage for music and theatre performances. She said: “There isn’t a space for theatre companies in Southend. We’re looking into everything at the moment.”

Concrete Culture are holding a Zoom meeting today, at 7.30pm, for residents to offer their thoughts. Visit

Owners, AEW UK, declined to comment. Concrete Culture is hoping to gather ideas in coming weeks before presenting them to AEW UK.