British theatres under threat from EU plans to ban lighting which could force venues to close
Smaller theatres would struggle to purchase new equipment if the EU bans the use of current lighting. Britain’s theatre industry is under threat as the European Union plans to ban energy-sapping lighting which could force venues to close.
In the last decade, EU energy-saving regulations have changed the bulbs we use in our homes, stopped the sale of high powered vacuum cleaners and now they could be about to alter what we see on stage.
Through the Eco-design Working Plan 2016-2019, the EU wants to force manufacturers to reduce power and increase efficiency in products using the same rules that apply to domestic, office and industrial lighting.
Campaigners are warning that abolishing an exemption which currently allows theatres to use energy-heavy tungsten bulbs could be creatively „disastrous” and force many smaller venues to close.
Four-time Olivier award-winning lighting designer Paule Constable said the new European Commission proposals would take away many of the „rich tools” the industry has come to rely on.
„The repercussion of this is so much more drastic than the Commission understands,” she said.
„We’ve been campaigning for a number of years to maintain the use of older equipment that we have in theatres because a lot of schools and amateur theatres really rely on that kit.
„Now it transpires that not only would we potentially lose the exemption which allows us to use those specialist, older lights, but also the new energy parameters they’re proposing would mean that all the modern LED fixtures that we’ve been developing over the last few years would also become obsolete because what we’re asking them to do is making them more power hungry.”