Policy Brief: Transitioning to Sustainable Production across the UK Theatre Sector

28 November 2023

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Authors:

Nik Gunn

Nik Gunn

Policy Adviser

Nik is a Policy Adviser with the Policy Team at Cr...

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Policy Brief: Transitioning to Sustainable Production across the UK Theatre Sector

This policy brief outlines recommendations for transitioning to more sustainable theatre production practices across the UK theatre sector. It is based on research by Professor Roberta Mock that examined sustainable production efforts in three theatre companies of different scales.

The research found that while the theatre industry's carbon footprint is small, government net zero goals require action across all sectors. Many major theatre companies have already made commitments to sustainability. The recently published Theatre Green Book, developed by industry experts, aims to provide practical guidance on sustainable production.

The research found that the Green Book is helping to increase awareness and accountability around sustainability in theatre productions, though better measurement tools are still needed. With appropriate planning, productions could meet Green Book standards without increasing budgets. However, sustainable practices increase workloads, disadvantaging freelancers. More support is needed here.

Key recommendations in this policy brief include financial incentives for theatres implementing sustainable practices, encouraging Green Book commitments, investing in shared storage facilities, developing better carbon measurement tools tailored to theatre, supporting professional development around sustainability, and fostering audience engagement.

The brief emphasises the need for cross-sector collaboration on issues like supply chains and materials innovation. It also recommends upgrading small venues' infrastructure to reduce touring impacts. Overall, the research indicates that sustainability progress is possible but still faces multiple complex barriers across the theatre ecosystem.

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