£175,000 awarded to Staffordshire’s New Vic from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme

£175,000 awarded to Staffordshire’s New Vic from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme

8th May 2024

· The New Vic Theatre in Staffordshire to benefit from a share of £24.2 million through Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme.

· The investment will help the theatre make significant reductions in energy and carbon usage, and ongoing running costs.

· Awards from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme go towards building works and the purchase of equipment and other assets to improve access, seize on technological opportunities and reduce environmental impact.

The New Vic Theatre will receive £175,000 from Arts Council England, thanks to its Government-funded Capital Investment Programme, as announced today.

The investment will contribute towards the total cost of a project focused on energy use reduction across the theatre, using cutting edge technology to manage heating and ventilation plant demand. The funding will be used to make targeted environmental improvements to reduce energy and carbon usage across the building, including upgrading current windows to make them more efficient, and removing original, inefficient boilers, replacing them with modern energy efficient, controllable units. Solar panels and a smart heating control system with individual room control will also be installed to significantly reduce energy usage and costs.

The New Vic will be the first theatre company to work with the internationally recognised, ground-breaking Keele University Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND), which will see energy generation, distribution, storage, forecasting and energy balancing intelligently carried out across different energy sources. Sustainability experts at Keele University will be key partners at each stage of the project.

This funding will enable the New Vic to continue providing high quality creative and cultural experiences for people in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, and Staffordshire. Europe’s first purpose-built theatre-in-the-round, the New Vic produces around eight major productions a year; alongside a programme of community and education work that reaches extensively into its local area and beyond, engaging a wide range of people across different ages and backgrounds.

The Capital Investment Programme supports the Arts Council’s mission to ensure communities across the country have the infrastructure where creativity for everyone can thrive.

Fiona Wallace, Managing Director at the New Vic, said: “This welcome investment from Arts Council England will enable us to implement some significant changes to reduce and manage our impact on the environment. The New Vic is an amazing theatre but building technology and energy efficiency has moved a long way since we opened in 1986. This new investment will support both practical improvements to our building and also an exciting partnership working with the sustainability experts at Keele University. Future savings made on energy and maintenance costs will help to support us in continuing to produce high-quality theatre and engaging more people from our area in the arts.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “This infrastructure investment will help a whole range of different cultural organisations across England to flourish, increasing opportunities for people to enjoy creatively excellent cultural events close to where they live. It’s particularly important that we’re making this happen in communities where cultural investment has historically been low”.

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director at Arts Council England said: “Our Capital funding is an investment in buildings and equipment that organisations need to deliver great art and culture in their communities. We’re delighted to award the New Vic Theatre £175,000 to make environmental

improvements, drastically reducing energy usage across the building. By helping to make the building more economically and environmentally sustainable, we hope to see our investment support the region’s creative economy to thrive.”

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Libraries, said: “Cultural venues enrich our lives, and it’s vital that their infrastructure matches the excellence of the creative work that goes on inside them. Our funding is helping both to create new venues and to adapt existing ones to make them more accessible, helping to deliver the Government’s plan to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live or what their background, has access to excellent, life-changing cultural opportunities.” 

The New Vic’s environmental improvement project has also received investment from the Theatres Trust’s Theatre Improvement Scheme, in association with Wolfson Foundation.

Article by Kevin Hegarty

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