SOARING energy costs have left a Dirset entertainment venue “desperate” for action as it reduces events and 'micromanages heating use'.

As more than a quarter of UK music and theatre venues report being concerned about potential closure, the chief executive of Poole’s Lighthouse says its electricity bill will increase by 200 per cent this year.

Elspeth McBain says this rise is a great concern for the popular arts venue as it represents an additional £125k in costs.

New research by Uswitch for Business reveals three in five entertainment businesses are citing bills as their top concern for the next year, followed by inflation rates and staff costs.

Ms McBain says Lighthouse was “beginning to recover and get back on [its] feet” following the pandemic, but that energy costs represented a fresh challenge.

Dorset Echo: Elspeth McBain, chief executive of Lighthouse.Elspeth McBain, chief executive of Lighthouse. (Image: Lighthouse)

“In 2023 our electricity bill alone will increase by 200 per cent and we are doing everything we can to meet this cost,” she said.

“At current usage levels, this represents an additional £125k to find in the year.

“We have reduced the number of performances we present in January in response to this and will be micromanaging the heat control across the building to reduce usage where we can.

“Inevitably we will need to find this additional cost from somewhere and so will be looking at all areas to do this including ticketing, looking for new funding sources and reducing costs where we can.”

Dorset Echo: Event at Poole LighthouseEvent at Poole Lighthouse

The research suggests in-house funding will be difficult to source, with two in five businesses reporting that customers are purchasing less expensive seats and buying fewer refreshments.

Ms McBain seconded this finding, stating audiences at Lighthouse are spending less at the venue and are coming to fewer shows.

She added: “Together, these factors have made it a testing time for organisations like ours and theatregoers alike.

“I am desperate for energy and living costs to come down so that we can keep bringing top-class artists and productions to Poole, support local talent development, provide opportunities for cultural participation, and ensure that culture within our region continues to play a vital part in our community.”