Based in Horsham, The Capitol is a unique multi-arts community venue which comprises a main theatre, two cinema screens, a studio theatre and a gallery space. It first opened in 1936 as a cinema and today prides itself as an accessible and diverse building, accommodating a variety of performance arts. It’s 410-seat main theatre space is one which regularly plays hosts to UK touring shows, concerts and even celebrity talks. It was recently decided that the space would upgrade its lighting equipment to ensure the venue reduced its overall carbon footprint. As both a B Corp, as well as an organisation that has helped several venues in their quest to become more sustainable, White Light (WL), a d&b solutions company, was approached to provide these fixtures.
The investment at The Capitol was overseen by Venue and Productions Manager Matthew Effemey. He comments: “I look after all the programming of the venue and act as Head of Production for anything produced in house, including our annual Pantomime. As such, I am very much aware of the technical infrastructure of the building and where its previous set-up was somewhat lacking when it came to being environmentally friendly.”
He continues: “The main drive behind the upgrade was to reduce our carbon footprint. We had a lot of fixtures that were nearing end-of-life; ones that were often burning away throughout rehearsals and performances. We knew this wasn’t sustainable if we were to achieve our goals and that moving over to LED was the best way forward.”
Matthew consulted with his Technical Manager and then reached out to WL, where he worked in close collaboration with Antony Vine. After hearing what The Capitol’s requirements were, both in terms of sustainability as well as budget, Antony put together a list of potential fixtures for investment. He then made several site visits to the venue in which he demonstrated these products, so that Matthew and his team could see how they performed within the actual space.
Following this, The Capitol decided to invest in 26 x ETC Colorsource V Fresnels, 30 x ETC Colorsource V Spots, 14 x HighEnd Lonestars, 14 x HighEnd Sola Pix 7s and 18 x Martin Professional ELP Pars. They also decided to replace the Dimmers with 6 x ETC Colorsource Thru Power Cabinets. Matthew explains: “All of these fixtures fulfilled our specific requirements and also looked absolutely fantastic when used in the space. The new dimmers vastly increase our flexibility with changing from hot power to dimmable power, meaning we can accommodate the generic halogen units that might come through the door with a visiting production. It’s fantastic for designers to have the confidence that they will be using state-of-the-art fixtures when working in the theatre. The set-up of the rig also means it can be supplemented as and when required”.
Following The Capitol’s investment, the fixtures were put to immediate use on last year’s pantomime Beauty and the Beast. Matthew explains: “The impact of having these new lights was instantaneous. The new rig not only provided a great set-up for our designer, Humphrey McDermott, but with the immediate energy savings costs, we managed to get through the run without hiring any lights in, which would ordinarily take up a chunk of our panto budget! We are all so incredibly pleased with the results and would like to thank WL for their brilliant guidance and service when overseeing this important investment. We are looking forward to seeing them all in use later this year for Jack and the Beanstalk, Directed by and starring John Partridge”.
Antony concludes: “As a B-Corp, we are committed to ensuring we operate as sustainably as possible – and that we help guide those who wish to do the same. The Capitol is another example of this and we are delighted they approached us to make this vital step – something we’re able to do thanks to our knowledge, experience and close relationships with leading manufacturers. We would encourage any other venue or organisation looking to make a similar move to reach out to our Sales Team who will be more than happy to discuss any project or queries they may have”.
Photo courtesy of Brinkhoff/Moegenburg and Capitol Theatre.