The Theatres Trust has awarded £124,000 to help seven UK theatres improve their sustainability.
Through its partnership with the Wolfson Foundation, Theatres Trust is awarding grants totalling c.£124,000 to seven theatres across the UK for vital environmental sustainability projects, as theatres around the country respond to the climate crisis and seek to make sustainable improvements to their buildings.
There was an unprecedented level of demand for the Theatre Improvement Scheme, with Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, receiving more applications for this round than for any other funding programme it has run.
Among the successful projects is Grade II* listed Leeds Grand Theatre (£19.9k grant), where calculations have shown that changing the taps, toilet flushes and shower valves will result in significant water savings of up to 50%. New Diorama Theatre (£7.1k grant) in London will receive funding for a small but significant project that reflects its ethos as a collaborative space supporting artists and companies at the start of their careers. LED stage lighting will offer designers the opportunity to develop their skills with state-of-the-art equipment, while newly created storage and workshop spaces, built with up to 90% re-homed wood and fittings, will enable materials to be shared and re-used more effectively while introducing best practice of reusing materials to the next theatre-making generation.
Solar panels and energy-efficient lighting continue to be popular projects, with theatres recognising the impact these measures have on improving their sustainability.
The Garage (£20k grant), a performing arts hub for young people in Norwich, is receiving funding towards a project to install solar panels and LEDs, which will reduce the venue’s lighting energy use by up to 80% and save money over time. Lighting will also be updated to energy-efficient LEDs at the Old Fire Station (£17k grant) in Oxford and at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House in Newcastle upon Tyne, where the improvements are expected to save 41,000 tonnes of carbon a year. An Lanntair in Stornoway (£20k grant) is one of the largest arts developments in the Highlands and Islands and will install solar panels on the roof and storage batteries in the basement, with the aim of being able to make shows from 100% renewables in the next two to three years.
Cast in Doncaster (£20k grant) is being funded for the first phase of its solar energy and battery storage project, which will allow the theatre to reduce its grid usage by 6.5%.
Jon Morgan, Director at Theatres Trust says, We are delighted to support seven more theatres in their bids to be more sustainable, with the projects funded demonstrating the range of ways that theatres can make a difference. This grants scheme, along with our ongoing work on the Theatre Green Book, is part of our overall mission to make theatres more sustainable. The fact that we received a record number of applications shows the urgent need for funding for sustainability improvements, and we are grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for its ongoing support.
Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation says, At this time of high energy costs, we know that improving the environmental and financial sustainability of buildings has renewed urgency for the sector. These seven projects are excellent examples of the practical changes organisations can make. We are very pleased to be working in partnership again with Theatres Trust on this programme to support the response to the challenges of the climate crisis.
These awards are made in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation, which renewed its funding for the Theatre Improvement Scheme in 2021 for a further three years. The next round of the Theatre Improvement Scheme is now open for applications, with £115,000 to be awarded in grants of up to £20,000 for projects to improve theatres’ sustainability.
The deadline for applications is 5th September 2023. Further details on the scheme can be found at the theatres trust website.