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NEWS: Sustainable Productions Summit has positive impact

24 June 2024

Nottingham Playhouse’s Sustainable Productions Summit held in April 2024 received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees. This new initiative for theatre makers across the Midlands was held in recognition of the need for the theatre industry to adapt to the changing climate and to integrate sustainability into all of its work.


The Summit featured a panel of theatre makers and sustainability experts who shared their experience and expertise, discussed best practice and considered new approaches for the future.

There were over 70 attendees, which included Theatre General Managers, Production Managers, Technical creatives, Scenic Art creatives, Scenery makers, Lecturers, Designers, Performers, Students and Suppliers.

The symposium accompanied a new production of Lucy Kirkwood’s post-apocalyptic thriller, The Children, which was the first main stage production produced to Theatre Green Book standards at Nottingham Playhouse.

The day included presentations from:

  • Andrew Quick, Head of Production and Jill Robertshaw, Deputy Production Manager, Nottingham Playhouse
  • Jennifer Taillefer, Theatre Green Book representative and ABBT award winner for Environmental Sustainability
  • Kirsty Patrick Ward, Director of The Children
  • Hayley Meaden, Nottingham Trent University’s Senior Lecturer in Costume Design and Making: Integrating Sustainability into Design Training
  • Joe Strickland, Chronic Insanity; An approach to Sustainability for small scale productions
  • Rob Halliday, Lighting Designer and Advisor, tracking a production’s lighting energy use
  • Jack Mainwaring, Product Manager at Flints, on green alternatives to traditional theatrical materials
  • Nico Conde, Theatre Practitioner and Creative Climate Action Advocate
  • Andy Sharp, Director, Rocket Storage Services on recycling sets

Those attending had a variety of motivations and goals for attending the Summit, including a greater understanding of how to combat climate change; to learn from other’s experiences of environmental practices; knowledge and inspiration; networking and sharing practices.

One attendee commented: “It was a comprehensive and enlightening introduction to invoke further dialogue, collaboration and activism.”

Many attendees took advantage of the offer of free Carbon Literacy Training by Nottingham Playhouse on the previous day, broadening their knowledge and understanding of the impact of climate change. It was described as “Informative, positive and inspiring.”

As part of Nottingham Playhouse’s commitment to sustainability, those attending were asked about their travel plans before and post-event, in order to analyse the carbon impact of the event. As is always the case, recording and measuring such data is not straightforward, nor is it complete, but some data is always better than none.

With just 8% of surveyed attendees intending to travel by car and the remaining 92% travelling by various forms of public transport, the carbon impact was minimized as much as possible for travel, much lower than the equivalent if a higher percentage used cars. Many commented on how important it was to meet in person and network – so this needs to be balanced against the impact of travel.

A local Syrian Vegan catering company was engaged to provide lunch – and there was absolutely no waste! It’s difficult to calculate the exact carbon saving with a vegan menu but it is significantly higher than one including meat or dairy.

Zero plastic hot drink paper cups were used for hot drinks – these are entirely recyclable with conventional paper recycling equipment, as their waterproof coating is not plastic based.

As part of the Summit, guests were invited to watch the production of The Children and later discussed how this had been made a Theatre Green Book production.  Learn more about the details in this case study (link to case study).

Discussions are already underway as to how the networking and support can continue following the Summit, and how the experience can be extended to include a wider cohort from the industry.

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