£20k Theatres Trust sustainability grant brightens our day


The Theatres Trust, in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation, have brightened our day (and evenings) – awarding us £20,000. 

We were one of just seven theatres across the UK who got grants for vital environmental sustainability projects as venues 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 the Theatres Trust – the national advisory body for theatres – receiving more applications for this round than for any other funding programme it’s run. It awarded grants totalling £124,000.

We’re using our grant to install solar panels on our roof, producing 23,500 kWh of energy that will be used in our theatre and dance studios every day. We’ll also be installing 70 LED fixtures inside which will reduced our lighting energy consumption by 80%. That’s the equivalent in CO2 of removing three-and-a-half cars from the road or planting 94 trees.

We received match funding for the remainder from the Norwich Freemen Charity.

Adam Taylor, our CEO, said:  “We’re so pleased to be able to announce this funding. This grant will support our journey to become a more sustainable charity. We recognise we have further to go to be anywhere close to carbon neutral, but this money will help and support the charity towards this and make a cash saving on expensive electricity bills.”

The Theatres Trust believes current and future generations should have access to good quality theatre buildings where they can be inspired by, and enjoy, live performance. It protects and supports theatre buildings which meet the needs of their communities by providing advice on the design, planning, development and sustainability of theatres, campaigning on behalf of theatres old and new and offering financial assistance through grants.

It’s also a founding partner, along with Buro Happold and ABTT, of the Theatre Green Book project. This is a sector-wide initiative led by Renew Culture to create clear, practical guidance and a shared standard for environmentally responsible theatre.

Jon Morgan, Director at the Theatres Trust, said: “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.”

The Wolfson Foundation renewed its funding for the Theatre Improvement Scheme in 2021 for a further three years. Applications are now open for the next round of grants, with £115,000 to be awarded. The deadline for applications is 5 September 2023. You can find our more at theatrestrust.org.uk/how-we-help/grants-funding/theatre-improvement-scheme.

It’s an independent charity with a focus on research and education. Its aim is to support civil society by investing in projects in science, health, heritage, humanities and arts. Funding for the Theatre Improvement Scheme is part of a wider investment in the cultural sector, supporting museums and galleries, historic sites, educational institutions as well as performing arts organisations.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “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.”

Congratulations to the other recipients: An Lanntair, Stornoway; Cast, Doncaster; Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House; New Diorama Theatre, London; Old Fire Station, Oxford; and Tyne Theatre and Opera House.

Booking for our summer term of classes is now open. You can find out more about those here.

If you’re considering a career in the creative arts, you can find out more about our free Introduction to the Creative Arts course here and our GCSE Dance and GCSE Drama courses here.

Our friendly front of house team are happy to answer any questions. Give them a call on 01603 283382 or email info@thegarage.org.uk.

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