UK historic theatre pleads for help to tackle skyrocketing energy bills

The annual electricity bill of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has soared by £47,000

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An historic theatre in Suffolk has raised the curtain on the financial pressure it is under because of the energy crisis.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, a 200-year-old theatre, is the third oldest theatre in the country. 

The theatre has seen its electricity bills skyrocket in the past couple of months and today calls on the government to offer “immediate support”.

Owen Calvert-Lyons, Artistic Director in the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, told ELN: “Our annual electricity bill has increased by 134% – £47,000 – to an annual total of £82,000.

“We are yet to find out the price increase to our gas bill but our current deal ends next year so we are concerned about an increase there too.

“This has come as a huge shock at a time when, like all theatres, we are still recovering from the lingering effects of the pandemic. We used up most of our reserves trying to stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic and whilst we could try to find that money from trusts and foundations, many of those are struggling at the moment too.

“I am determined the rise in energy costs will not result in job losses and it is not realistic for the theatre to increase ticket prices amid a cost-of-living crisis so the industry needs immediate government support as well as longer-term solutions including a move towards greener energy otherwise venues across the UK could face closure.”

A government spokesperson told ELN: “No national government can control the global factors pushing up the price of energy, but we will continue to support business in navigating the months ahead.

“This includes doubling our support for high energy usage businesses, reducing employer national insurance by increasing the Employment Allowance, slashing fuel duty, introducing a 50% business rates relied and putting the brakes on bill increases by freezing the business rates multiplier – worth £4.6 billion over the next five years.”

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