Poole theatre warns of ticket price hikes for customers amid rising energy bills

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One of the south's leading theatres says a huge rise in the cost of gas and electricity could mean customers paying much more for tickets to see a show.

The Lighthouse in Poole says it may also have to close during very cold weather - unless it gets help from the government.

The theatre's Chief Executive, Elspeth McBain says that when their £200,000 fixed tariff ends later this year, the new rate will be unaffordable - perhaps as much as ten times higher.

"The scale of the rise that we might be facing in October is so vast that there is almost no scenario that I can think of that would cover it.

"I have sleepless nights about it but the only thing I think we can do as a collective community of artists is to say 'this is going to be the impact if something isn't done to help the sector'."

Lighthouse also helps several community arts organisations. Credit: ITV Meridian

Lighthouse is more than just theatres and a cinema - it's also helps several community arts organisations.

It's also home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and welcomes many visiting artists.

It is a non-profit organisation run by the charity Poole Arts Trust - an important community resource and its audience and visitors contribute millions of pounds to the local economy.

It does get some funding from BCP council and the Arts Council, but they say that only covers about one fifth of the running costs.

Because the Lighthouse is on an energy tariff it gets no help from the government.

The government says that after March, support for organisations and business's in future will be reduced and much more targeted.

Lighthouse expects to run at a loss when the new energy bills arrive, which it says means increasing uncertainty about the future of the venue.