by Jez Bond

This afternoon our architect, Ben Jones, travelled to Dalston to meet me for a tour of another theatre. I must confess it had been a long time since my last trip to the converted warehouse known as the Arcola – and since then I had developed an greater appreciation and understanding of their environmental policies. Sadly, due to the landlord reclaiming the piece of land where they stored their hydrogen cylinders, the fuel cell in the bar was for display purposes only. However David Salter, the technician, did say that they had just supplied the energy for the latitude festival and discussion concluded that outdoor and remote applications were far more appropriate for this type of technology than anywhere where a electrical socket was available. Having said this, they have in the past had entire shows run of their 5kw cell. It would be fantastic to realise a theatre powered solely by hydrogen, were it a more efficiently harvested source. As it is the cost is so high (not to mention the rather un-green transporting of it) that, whilst it’s renewable in a sense, that theatres are the least likely to afford the technology. It sits on my shelf along with the other good ideas that don’t actually pay for themselves, such as solar panels.

The tour however was very useful for a number of reasons and we ended up in the cafe bar and gained valuable insight into the way they operated – and the importance of their late licence.

I met a Tony Pritchard, a developer, on site this afternoon as he is getting involved in similar projects and was keen to share ideas. Tony is currently involved in the development of the Hackney Empire’s rehearsal rooms with apartments above. It seems that the ‘residential development with a community/arts space attached’ is a model that he is keen to apply to other sites. Whilst too late for us, he was keen to find other people like me who would want to get involved in potential projects. If you’re reading this, Tony, here’s a plug:

You can contact Tony Pritchard via their website at: www.thornsettgroup.com

Over and out…..

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