Self-sufficiency bid by amateur theatre

Andrew Bumphrey, Alan James, and Robert 
Mcfarland hard at work refurbishing the new studio theatre
Andrew Bumphrey, Alan James, and Robert Mcfarland hard at work refurbishing the new studio theatre

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MEMBERS hope their hard work refurbishing a theatre studio will make it the first one to be zero carbon rated in Europe.

A 200kw biomass boiler is already operational and running on wood pellets, providing heat through a central heating system at Titchfield Festival Theatre in St Margaret’s Lane.

The roof and the walls are being insulated to fully optimise the new heating and to stop leaks, meaning they will no longer need blankets to keep patrons warm during the shows.

The entire investment was just less than £750,000, with £250,000 raised through functions and shows.

And £500,000 came from loan funding after the theatre was denied a grant from The Arts Council which said it could not support amateur theatres.

Kevin Fraser, the artistic director of Titchfield Festival Theatre, said: ‘This major move forward has taken more than 18 months to plan and put in place.

‘The Arts Council and Fareham Borough Council cannot seem to release any grant funding to help us.

‘So, through our own initiative, Titchfield will have a theatre to take us into the 2020s which everyone can be proud of.’

The Renewable Heat Incentive brought in by the government provides financial support for renewable heat technologies.

They make payments on a quarterly basis based on the actual heat output of the installation.

This means the government gives money back to the theatre for being a low carbon location, which pays for the pellets for the boiler and any extra cash goes to the lease.

Sound insulation is also going in as well as better flooring for the new studio, where an extra 125 seats will be put in.

The new roof and a stronger structure means they can install 92kw solar panels later this year so the theatre can produce its own electricity.

There will also be a waste water and rainwater harvesting system installed and disability access built in.

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