Theatre Green Book UK announces ambitious future plans
12 December 2023
Theatre Green Book UK has announced details of its future structure and plans for a new edition to support theatres in their journey towards sustainability. Created during lockdown, Theatre Green Book UK is a grassroots initiative that sets common standards for sustainable theatre across all areas of theatre practice and operation. It has already been widely adopted across the sector, being used by all the major UK subsidised theatres, the UK’s three national theatres, all UK opera houses, and won the Stage Award for Innovation in 2022.
The ambition for Theatre Green Book UK is for all theatres in the UK to achieve Theatre Green Book baseline standards across buildings operations and productions by the end of 2026. To help achieve this ambitious goal, several of the UK’s leading theatre organisations have come together in a unique partnership to establish Theatre Green Book UK as an unincorporated association, giving the project more stability and resources. Built around many of the individuals and organisations that initiated the project and its early rapid progress, it brings together a Steering Group comprising the three national theatres, with membership organisations Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), and Society of London Theatre/UK Theatre, authors Paddy Dillon and Lisa Burger, structural engineers and sustainability specialists, Buro Happold, and Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, which is also acting as Secretariat for the project.
The Steering Group is now working on the creation of the Theatre Green Book UK second edition, which will be published in summer 2024. The new edition will continue to draw on best practice from theatre makers and sustainability experts, incorporating feedback from the first edition. It will remain free to use, and will incorporate a benchmarking and self-certification system to enable theatres to track their own progress. A range of prototype support tools including a Production Calculator, Buildings Home Survey Tool and Operations Tracker will also be developed to help theatres track and accelerate their progress.
Alongside this, the Theatre Green Book UK website will be revamped to make Theatre Green Book UK even easier to use, and offer further support to theatres and theatre-makers with powerful tools and inspiring case studies to help them take their next steps to improved sustainability.
The success of the Theatre Green Book UK in delivering change in theatre relies on it being rooted in the sector and drawing on the expertise of theatre-makers from around the UK and around the world. This will continue through three committees drawn from practitioners across all disciplines covering Productions, Buildings and Operations, which will engage with the wider sector and support the work of the Steering Group. Additionally, the Theatre Green Book has already been translated into 10 languages and with growing connections to Theatre Green Book networks across Europe, and worldwide, Theatre Green Book UK will be at the heart of an international theatre movement for sustainability.
Lisa Burger and Paddy Dillon, co-authors, say, We’re excited that the Theatre Green Book UK is now permanently rooted in Britain’s theatre community. Alongside the dramatic progress of sustainable working with the Green Book across the world, theatre is making real progress towards net zero.
Liam Sinclair, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive Officer, Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, says, At Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre we are really encouraged to hear of the new management structure for the Theatre Green Book. As an organisation we are deeply committed to playing our part in achieving a climate just world, and draw on all three Theatre Green Books to help us achieve this. It is incredibly heartening to continually hear stories of how these resources support our sector in moving forward with achieving theatre and dance production and presentation in a net zero world, and this announcement feels an important part in this journey.
Stephanie Sirr MBE, Chief Executive, Nottingham Playhouse says, Theatre Green Book UK is an essential resource and commitment for anybody who produces theatre in the 21st century. It has been a delight to see such passion and tenacity from all of our Nottingham Playhouse teams – really diving into this way of working. Without excuse or exception, we must all commit to this as a sector.
Rachael O-Sullivan, Environmental Manager, Royal Opera House, says, The Royal Opera House is thrilled to continue to support the development of the Theatre Green Book UK. We hope that the new structure will provide easier access to theatres that are using the Theatre Green Book for the first time, and help those already working with the Theatre Green Book to strengthen their understanding. The Royal Opera House uses the Theatre Green Book as a tool to guide our action plans and help to identify the key areas of focus.
Igor, freelance Production Manager says, There has been a lot of good energy and good intentions in the industry around sustainability for years. Theatre Green Book UK harnesses that energy and sets out a clear but flexible pathway for all aspects of theatre to deliver concrete results. I’ve been incorporating the principles of the Productions volume into my work for the past two years, but I’m currently doing my first formally Theatre Green Book production at the Donmar Warehouse. Declaring that you are producing a production to Theatre Green Book baseline seems to bring a more focussed approach among the show team.
Justin Audibert, Artistic Director, and Kathy Bourne, Executive Director, Chichester Festival Theatre say, Since 2014 we’ve been embracing sustainable technologies across both our theatres and are committed to transitioning to carbon neutrality. Theatre Green Book UK has been an invaluable resource for us, and we’ve been trialling productions under the baseline standard since 2021, building environmental considerations as an essential agenda. It’s a journey to which everyone at Chichester Festival Theatre is wholeheartedly committed.
This free resource for everyone in the UK theatre sector can be found here: https://theatregreenbook.com/