Going green keeps theatres ahead of the curve...

Audience members and communities are growing more and more concerned about the environment. Governments are taking action. Large businesses are taking the lead in greening their practices. Homes built to be energy-efficient are selling quickly, even in a market downturn.

But what about the theatre industry? It's shocking to learn, in London alone,theatres create an estimated 55,000 tons of carbon emissions per year - that's equivalent to the average emissions of 9,000 homes!

We believe theatres that make the leap and 'Go Green' will be seen as innovators,engaged members of their communities, and leaders in their field. They will attract new audiences, especially younger ones, who are more concerned about the world their children will inhabit. They will keep theatre vital and innovative in uncertain economic times.

We want NTW to be as green as possible from the outset. We have already made being Carbon Neutral a key target for us to move towards. And, we are going to consult widely on the issue, aiming to have a forward-thinking ecological policy in place prior to public launch in the autumn.

We are keen to get the broadest views of the best practical and impactful ideas out there (as well as some new ideas too!) and want our priorities to reflect the aspirations of this community as well as the NTW team.

So, ideas on the comment wall please :

* What do you think NTW's green priorities should be?
* What green practices or initiatives have particularly impressed you?

Help us make NTW the UK's leading Green Theatre!

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Comment by Deborah Powell on July 13, 2009 at 14:54
An abundance of green ideas here ...

Comment by Deborah Powell on July 9, 2009 at 14:32
An eco-system, that's exactly what I'd like to see here - an open conversation amongst this community, sharing green ideas that have caught our collective attention and ones this community think should be a priority for NTW...
Comment by Deborah Powell on July 9, 2009 at 14:29
NTW is already trying to digitally develop in an environmentally sustainable way. Envirodigital, my company, is working with NTW to ensure that all NTW digital developments are low carbon impact/carbon neutral.

We have set up all NTW internal processes to be on the cloud: so less need operationally for big computers eating lots of energy. Where we can, we'll chose providers of services who in turn chose greener hosting.

We have also set up an online social network - so what has that got to do with being green, you might think? Well, its an important statement for a couple of reasons: its saying that we as a theatre company don't want to run an EGO system, where we push, control, dominate the distribution with monologue. Its saying NTW wants an ECO system - open conversation, collaboration, a cultivating culture! NTW's crowd is also in the cloud! Perhaps some of the content should be there in the cloud too? Perhaps audiences could make use of a digital application that made car-pooling easy, so that less people would end up driving to live events? What more could we be doing through digital mechanisms to reduce NTW's impact, and NTW's audience's impact on the environment?

Like Shakespeare Link, the Arcola Theatre in London has some excellent practice as a building based organisation - checkout in particular their initiative called Arcola Energy!

Finally for now, Shift Happens is a UK-wide conference later this month that I've helped to organise and that will begin to discuss this issue a little more, too. I'll report back to this thread after that with any other ideas!
- Hannah Rudman
Comment by Deborah Powell on July 9, 2009 at 14:28
I recomend checking out our spanking new website www.shakespearelink.co.uk for general stuff;
A few personal thoughts which seem relevant.

The system was planned in a lot of detail before we began thinking about funding. One of our directors worked closely with a volunteer who had experience in setting up green electricity systems in his own home. We saved a great deal on items such as the turbine tower which can just as well be made in a fraction of the price with scaffolding for example.

When it came to funding the 'normal' path to go along would be to connect directly to the grid and sell the energy we produced back to the grid (rather than storing it in battery banks)and that the work were carried out by a contractor partnered with the funding body.

We felt it was an important element of the project that we should be ultimately self sufficient so stuck to our guns and did it in our own way. I am glad we did this for several reasons
- there is a beauty in audiences knowing that the light which is illuminating the performers comes directly from the immediate elements.
-the system being installed by ourselves for half the price it could have been makes the idea of people setting up such a system in the own homes a tangible possibility.
-Volunteers vital role in developing such projects adds to the communities sense of ownership. The theatre itself was planted by a team of volunteers who are integral to our development. The result of this sense of ownership and inclusiveness is that attendance at events is, touch wood, very good. Kama x

The next development is to upgrade our system to power the office as well as the theatre, library and wet weather cover in the barn.
Kama x

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