A theatre, at the heart of the community, is fundraising for solar panel batteries to help 'keep the doors open' amidst rising energy prices. 

The volunteer-led John Peel Theatre, in Wigton, is crowdfunding to raise £30,000 to help make the theatre more sustainable and ultimately reduce the newly-faced business-threatening costs. 

Kate Jensen, from the theatre, said: "If we don't manage to do something to drastically reduce our bills, we're looking at the possibility of having to close our doors as a result of energy bills.

"The theatre is thriving and buzzing at the moment, and we've worked hard to build that following in the community up.

"But of course, the energy crisis is hitting us hard as we're facing bills that will be more than trebling come May. 

"If our bills were stabilised like they were this time last year, we would be in a very strong position but that hike is going to take up all our yearly budget plus more," she said. 

The venue are looking for six batteries, which cost £5,000 a piece, to help store captured energy from the day-time which can then be transferred for the theatre's nightly productions, making the venue self-sufficient in the way of their energy usage. 

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Ms Jensen said annually the theatre faces around £3,000 cost of energy bills but this year could see the expected cost to sit around £10,000. 

"This investment will make a massive difference to us," she said. 

The group received an M&S Energy Fund Award to install solar panels on the roof originally, but Ms Jensen said there is little in the way of funding or grants for batteries for the solar panels. 

"We're looking to try and update our heaters and lights to more energy efficient ones to help try and reduce the bill a bit," she said. 

The venue, which relies on ticket sales for income, has also recently received an award to produce signed and audio-scribed performances. 

"With open mic nights, kids workshops, and more productions, we've worked so hard to make this a real community theatre, it would be such a shame if something like this was to intervene," she said. 

You can donate to the John Peel Theatre via their website or visit their latest Crowdfunder via their Facebook page. 

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