The Theatres Trust have today announced the theatres who have received a portion of the grant, made possible through its association with the Wolfson Foundation.

This news comes as the Wolfson Foundation announces the renewal of its funding for the Theatre Improvement Scheme, with a further £360,000 to be awarded over the next three years.

Before lockdown and the pandemic hit, the theatre industry was attempting to respond to the climate crisis and Theatres Trust, the national public advisory body for theatres, is keen that this priority should not slip. Like all public buildings, theatres have an impact on the environment with major energy consumption coming from heating, ventilation, stage machinery and lighting – with many venues not meeting modern environmental standards.

The projects supported in this most recent round of funding include installing solar panels, upgrading house lights to more efficient LEDs and replacing the Building Management Systems that control heating, ventilation and energy use. The five theatres receiving funding in this round are Chichester Festival Theatre, Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, Lyric Theatre Belfast, The Marlowe in Canterbury and Northern Stage in Newcastle.

The grants have been divided as follows:

Chichester Festival Theatre, £19,988
The grant will enable the theatre to complete an upgrade to its house lights, switching to LEDs in the studio space Minerva Theatre.
Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, £20,000
The existing boilers and Building Management System are only operating at 65-70% efficiency so will be replaced to improve ventilation and heating in one of the UK’s oldest theatres.
Lyric Theatre, Belfast, £18,250
Northern Ireland’s only full-time producing theatre was given a grant to upgrade its Building Management System, giving the theatre greater control over energy management, allowing it to achieve energy saving targets.
The Marlowe, Canterbury, £20,000
As part of a wider environmental project, this leading regional theatre will install 500m2 of photovoltaic solar panels on its roof, which is estimated to offset 10% of its annual energy usage.

Northern Stage, Newcastle, £20,000
The north east’s largest producing theatre Northern Stage will change over its house lights from halogen to LED in its largest performance space, Stage 1.

Talking about the news, Jon Morgan, Director of Theatres Trust said: “Despite the immediate issues caused by COVID- 19, it is imperative that we continue to focus on the long-term environmental sustainability of the theatre sector. Environmentally friendly buildings are not just an ethical imperative but a business necessity that can impact a theatre’s viability. The volume and quality of the applications we received for this scheme shows there is a real appetite amongst theatres to make environmental
improvements to their buildings, so we are delighted that Wolfson Foundation has renewed this partnership and we’ll be able to help more theatres make vital changes.”

The next round of the Theatre Improvement Scheme is now open for applications, with £125,000 to be awarded in grants of up to £20,000 for projects to improve theatres’ sustainability.

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