THE Octagon is urging theatre lovers to back a campaign against EU proposals which could force some playhouses to close.

The theatre has joined a national campaign against a move which would transform stage lighting for the "worst".

Plans put forward by the EU would mean theatres across the UK and Europe will be subject to laws requiring them to move to more efficient LED lightning, despite a lack of appropriate fixtures.

The #SaveStageLighting campaign run by the Association of Lighting Designers, is aimed at continuing the current exemption afforded to stage lighting equipment, and not just for all but the highest output units, such as flood lights at stadiums.

This would mean theatre lighting would have comply with the same regulations as offices and industrial units.

The cost, says the Octagon, could 'shut theatres, drastically reduce the quality of productions and impact on audience experience."

Kay Buckley, Chief Electrician at the Octagon Theatre, said: "Whilst we appreciate an ambition to increase energy efficiency the new strict regulations mean we will no longer be able to provide the quality and versatility of light we use to light shows currently.

"A lighting design is essential in creating a mood or effect on stage and is key to all productions.

"The ability to paint a stage with lighting is an art form and can convey so much to an audience without them even realising.

"Manufacturers have reported that they will be unable to develop suitable units before the new regulations come into effect and even if the units were available the cost of upgrading fixtures and infrastructure, it would be unfeasible for the majority of theatres to upgrade before the regulations come into effect in 2020.

"In the plans for our new building we are installing very low energy lighting in all non-theatre spaces and this will have a bigger impact on our energy usage than we could ever achieve with upgrades to the theatre lighting.

"The scale and speed of this proposed change to regulations will impact on everyone who works in or has an interest in theatre. Please sign and share the petition from the Association of Lighting Designers or find more details about how you can help on our website."

The move is said to be costly for the majority of theatres to replace all of their equipment by 2020 and to replace all the lights in the Octagon would cost more than a quarter of million pounds.

On its website the theatre states: "This could close theatres, drastically reduce the quality of productions and impact on audience experience.

"Large scale and long running productions would have to close in order to facilitate an upgrade and this would be financially devastating to many West End theatres closing them permanently or increasing ticket prices for patrons."

The legislation will still affect theatres despite the move to leave to Europe.

For more information, or to support the campaign, visit: