Council to stockpile theatre light bulbs

Blakehay Theatre.

Blakehay Theatre. - Credit: Archant

Weston town councillors have agreed to buy a surplus of spare bulbs for The Blakehay Theatre to prevent it from running out if new legislation is brought in to make lighting more energy efficient.

The European Union wants to bring the vast majority of quality theatre lights under the same rules which govern domestic, office and industrial lighting, but the theatre’s staff say this will affect staging shows as the LED bulbs are not bright enough.

If the legislation is implemented, theatre tungsten lamps will no longer be manufactured from September 2020.

In a report to Weston Town Council’s community services committee, Robert Heath – technician at The Blakehay Theatre, stated: “These new regulations are intended to start from September 1, 2020 and if implemented as written, would dramatically impact all areas of entertainment and lighting and all who work in this field – lighting creators, lighting users and lighting manufacturers.

“The impact on theatrical production across Europe would be immediate and overwhelming.

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“It is imperative we address this situation immediately. The vast majority of The Blakehay Theatre’s lighting stock is tungsten based.”

LED lights are not currently up to theatre requirements and venues are beginning to bulk buy light bulbs to prepare for the new legislation.

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Theatre manager Sally Heath said the potential change in regulations would cause problems.

She said: “LED lights are not good enough to replace them with. They don’t dim in and out.

“Our main issue is larger theatres and places of entertainment are going to start buying up all the stock of the lamps so we are going to be losing out.”

The report proposed two options – to stockpile tungsten lamps or convert all theatre lighting to LED.

The 30 lights in the theatre require bulbs of a different size and wattage and are £25 each – there is currently one bulb in each light and a spare one in stock.

The second option would involve converting all the lights to LED which would cost at least £15,000 and would pose issues with dimming control.

Speaking at the meeting, town councillor Michal Kus said: “I think it would be sensible to increase the stock we have at the moment and see where this goes.”

The town council committee voted to increase its stock of light bulbs.

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