Home Arts & Culture The Top of the Center, an Elevated Experience

The Top of the Center, an Elevated Experience

The Top of the Center full render

Sweeping scenic views of Pensacola, a unique ambiance and an elevated experience are all things we can expect from the Pensacola Cultural Center’s new rooftop venue, The Top of the Center.

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The Local Pulse caught up with Sid Williams-Heath who serves as the Executive Director of Pensacola Little Theatre & oversees the The Clark Family Cultural Center to get the full scoop on what Pensacola can expect from our future favorite sunset spot.

“The Top of The Center is where evolution meets elevation. The concept is simple, really: design a creative space where the setting is just as powerful as the performance,” Sid explained.

“The Clark Family Cultural Center’s rooftop performance venue offers sweeping views of Pensacola Bay and downtown Pensacola, and as we’ve all grown to expect from Pensacola Little Theatre, the art of discovery is just as important as the art itself when we create an experience.”

Even better, the new spot will be available for many different uses.

“We’ve designed the rooftop so intricately that it’s an opportunity for an array of uses – from a sip before the show to a wedding venue to an additional performance space in and of itself to a public parlor for the community to enjoy,” Sid shared.

The Top will have its’ own stage, bar, catering kitchen, private dining nook, ample seating, and a glass lantern entryway overlooking downtown. Their goal in working with the Architectural Review Board, because the building is so centrally located, is to create a visual piece of art to sit on top of our historic structure that you can experience even from afar. 

The origin of The Top came from the Clark Family Cultural Center wanting to create an elevated experience for the arts, culture, and community scene in Pensacola – quite literally. With a thought that rooftop activation in Pensacola is a missed opportunity, and a belief the community deserves a space to enjoy quality entertainment while also taking in a beautiful sunset downtown, the idea was born.

The Top of the Center full render

Not only will the new venue provide locals and visitors with an exciting new space to enjoy our coastal city, but it’s going to introduce a new revenue stream for the Center’s nonprofit.

“It’s huge for us. It’s a gamechanger for Pensacola. And it’s part of a now four-million-dollar re-imagination that overhauls and transforms the entire building,” Sid said.

Even more impressive, the $4,000,000 project has been completely funded by the community through private donations. After a $1,000,000 lead gift by Dave and Cynthia Clark (who are the family namesake for the now Clark Family Cultural Center) was made, others followed suit.

Sid also thanks The Center’s Board or Trustees for supporting his ambitious goals.

“I’m forever grateful for having a Board of Trustees who entertain my lofty goals and help make them come to fruition. Our current board president, Bobby Potomski and I have daydreamed this concept for so long that we joke our spouses now twitch at the word “rooftop” – because we’re just that passionate about it,” Sid joked. “The campaign committee has been instrumental in securing funding, and we recognize that a community-led project is the best way to create something meaningful for the community!”

With a goal to continue operations while they renovate the building from the ground up, the renovations will begin on the inside through 2023 and construction is slated to begin on the rooftop in the spring of 2024. If all goes as planned, Pensacola should be enjoying “a sip, a song, and a sunset” on The Top of The Center by fall of next year.

“I won’t claim to have watch many a sunset and a firework show or ten up there – but it’s breathtaking. Whether overlooking the bridge or the Wahoos Stadium, it’s an unobstructed view of the things we love most – the water and the people,” said Sid.  

Congratulations Sid, The Cultural Center and all parties involved on an already impressive list of milestones! We can’t wait to watch your vision come to life.

The Center is launching a limited opportunity to join the founding group of members for the rooftop on July 1st called The Top Tier. The rooftop will be open and accessible to the public, but there is limited space available to be a part of the founder’s circle. Contact Sid at executive@pensacolalittletheatre.com with your interest before they open up the 50 limited spots.