Chichester Festival Theatre gets Minerva lighting grant

Chichester Festival Theatre has been awarded a grant of £20,000 by the Theatres Trust’s Theatre Improvement Scheme, in association with the Wolfson Foundation, towards a project to replace and upgrade the Minerva Theatre’s house lights which illuminate the auditorium for audiences before and after performances.

Minerva Theatre with Brasserie and Bar & Grill exterior - Photo by Philip Vile
Minerva Theatre with Brasserie and Bar & Grill exterior - Photo by Philip Vile

The theme for the Trust’s 2020 fund is Improving Environmental Sustainability, and this grant will allow CFT to instate an energy-efficient system to reduce energy consumption, increase the theatre’s sustainability and enhance the audience experience.

Jon Morgan, director, 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.

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“Theatres Trust is delighted to be able to support Chichester Festival Theatre, one of the UK’s most celebrated producing theatres and a vital local hub, with a project that will make a significant contribution to its quest to be more sustainable.”

The Minerva Theatre’s house lighting system dates from the theatre’s opening in 1989 and currently uses excessive energy and incurs considerable unnecessary cost, the theatre says.

The quality and coverage of this light is poor, difficult to control and does not fully cover the aisles.

The Theatres Trust grant will allow CFT to install a house lighting system based on the Arc system Pro by ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls).

This system will make a saving in energy consumption of 99 per cent, from 3600wh to 36wh.

It also ensures exceptional coverage and maximum control.

The project will be overseen by CFT’s head of lighting, Graham Taylor and technical director, Sam Garner-Gibbons.

Sam said: “Over the years, the Minerva Theatre has undergone extensive refurbishment, including the installation of LED energy-saving lighting in all front of house areas, re-design and installation of the scenery lift, a significant re-wire of the theatre’s lighting systems and replacement of the basic lighting rig.

“The infrastructure that remains most in need of attention is the house lighting system, which currently expends 4000wh of energy through inefficient tungsten light bulbs which are being phased out, making them difficult to procure.

“We’re enormously grateful to the Theatres Trust for this grant, which will enable us to add to the quality of our audiences’ experience, reduce our environmental impact and contribute towards sustainability across our infrastructure – supporting our commitment to achieve excellence throughout the theatre’s entire ecosystem.”