THE Palace Theatre’s quest to go green has won it an award for sustainability.
Staff at the Alcester Street venue were told they had been given the Technical Theatre Award for Venue Sustainability earlier this month for their commitment to going beyond the call of duty to run the theatre in a more environmentally friendly way.
The Palace beat off strong competition from venues including the Savoy Theatre in London and the Regent Theatre in Stoke.
In June the 101-year-old venue was given an A energy rating and is one of the first Grade II listed buildings to receive such a high energy efficiency level.
Since 2008 theatre staff have been on a mission to revamp the Palace’s eco-credentials. Work carried out includes roof insulation, increasing the use of LED lamps and lighting, replacing scene dock and workshop roller shutters with doors to ensure more heat is retained in the building during scene changes and recycling of paper, card and glass.
With the support of the climate change team at Redditch Borough Council £16,000 was spent installing solar panels on the roof, which not only cut the theatre’s energy use but actually generated £1,861 in income during 2013/14. Future plans include the creation of a rainwater harvesting system in the basement for use by the toilets.
As part of the LED replacement project, about 4,800 watts of lamps were removed and replaced with just 800 watts in the auditorium alone. The stage is now lit by just 2,000 watts of lamps instead of 12,000 watts and colours can be changed at the touch of a button.
The theatre is reaping the benefits of its eco-drive in other ways as its summer maintenance programme has been reduced from one week to two, allowing more groups to hire the venue, increasing income and reducing the burden on the council taxpayer.
Tim Mackrill, manager of the Redditch Borough Council run theatre, said: “As well as saving huge amounts on our gas and electricity bills we are also saving a lot of time on maintaining the building. Rather than spending time on mundane things like changing lamps we have more time to work with performers and on shows to make the experience better for them and the audience.”