Greening Theatre

The arts, sustainability and climate change

Tackling climate change requires not only convincing individuals of the facts, it is about driving a cultural shift. Green Arcola works from the understanding that a place of culture, such as a theatre, is an ideal place to start this shift.

A broad understanding of creativity is crucial to thinking about the cultural shift; merging the artistic, entrepreneurial and societal creativity of innovative arts venues with the technical creativity of sustainability. Achieving sustainability is dependent on attaining excellence in multiple modes of creativity. Theatre is a communicative art form, built with creativity in many different areas of work such as design, performance and production. By creating exciting theatre sustainably we can use the power of the arts to communicate complex concepts.

London Green Theatre Plan

In September 2008 the Mayor’s Office, in association with PLASA08 and The Theatres Trust, launched the Green Theatre Plan for London, the plan set out practical actions for theatres to help them to reduce their carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent by 2025. Arcola incubated the Green Theatre Plan for London, acting as secretary and providing leadership. Since 2010, the work of the Green Theatre Plan for London has been part of Julie’s Bicycle Green Theatre Network.

Sustainable productions at Arcola

The Green Arcola team work with companies producing shows at Arcola to reduce their environmental impact – offering guidance on sourcing materials, lighting and waste. If companies use any clean untreated wood in their set, we can use this to help keep warm in the winter, see our page about the boiler.

Download a copy of our sustainable production guidelines

Resources available elsewhere online:

Long Horizons: a series of essays curated by Julie’s Bicycle, debating the impact of climate change on the work of policy makers, scientists and artists.

The Ashden Directory has a database of companies, performers, storytellers and artists working consistently with environmental themes.

Tipping Point is a network-based organisation aiming to be a year round ‘connector’ of the arts and climate science worlds.

Entertaining Sustainability provides practical sustainability advice for the entertainment industry.