Can theatre be ‘green’?

can theatre be green

We have a lovely blog for you, this time from The Barn Theatre, Cirencester, looking at sustainable actions that theatres can make in answer to the question, ‘can theatre be ‘green’?’

We’ve been connected to Barn for years as our youngest son attended their academy there, when it was running pre-Covid. We have a shared family love of theatre and have been so lucky to have such an incredible resource on our doorstep. So much so, that this year we have become business patrons of it. With charitable status, the team work really hard to secure funding to continue to offer West End quality shows, right here in the Cotswolds. They’re also working really hard to become ‘greener’ and to make sustainable changes to all areas of the theatre and in their productions. In their own words, here are some of the actions they are taking to do this.

Climate Emergency

Since Cirencester Town Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, the Barn Theatre has been reflecting on how to substantially reduce our carbon emissions. We have begun the process by working towards registration with the Theatre Green Book, a recognised industry standard that helps improve sustainability in theatre operations. 

One of the things we have reflected on is how are we going to go about this?

In one of our areas, our Production Manager Dan Weager is planning to ensure that things backstage are much more sustainable:

“Firstly, when making our sets we will ask designers to consider sustainability with the resources they use and the designs that they plan. For example, could they use our existing lights, most of which are LED, rather than bringing in new hired lights? Can they use materials that are easy to recycle or could go on to have a future life at another theatre company in an amateur or professional production?”

Another area that we are aiming to improve is sourcing costumes and props. Where possible we want to stop buying in new items and start to source second-hand costumes and props from our in-house wardrobe, charity shops or Ebay. This would greatly reduce waste and help to keep items in circulation more.

Elsewhere in the theatre we are looking at food and drink and how changing food and drink suppliers to be local and sustainable, including a new Barn Beer brewed by Cotswold Lakes Brewery, can help. We’re also looking at reducing food waste in our restaurant and introducing more meat-free menu options as part of this. 

We have already reduced paper and digital use for ticketing, as we don’t require audiences to show a digital or paper ticket. Our front of house team have a list of names and seat numbers at the entrance of the theatre, which we use instead, enabling us to cut down on paper waste and energy usage for ticketing. 

We’re continually looking at ways to improve on sustainability, something which we acknowledge is challenging in the theatre world! We’re also aiming to bring our audiences with us on this journey by promoting a series of green cinema screenings at our in-house cinema, with themes such as regenerative farming and fast fashion and partnering with local green organisations in our community projects. We hope audiences will enjoy learning about new sustainable topics and help us to work on our sustainable aims.

can theatre be green
can theatre be green
can theatre be green

A sustainable journey

We know we could do more but are making a start on our journey to becoming a sustainable theatre for the 21st century. 

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, or would like to know more about the Barn Theatre, then head to their website and social media channels to find out more about what they offer. With both theatre and cinema shows, and a restaurant and hotel on site, it’s a hub within the local community and great place to get involved with.

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