Theatre Scoops Top National Award For Green Efforts

Norwich Theatre Royal has won a top national award for its efforts in cutting its impact on the environment and reducing energy use by three-quarters over the last decade.

It was presented with the Improvement Award in the 2019 Creative Green Awards, a category which also boasted nominations from national and internationally-renowned venues like Sadler’s Wells, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Unicorn Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre.

Stephen Crocker, the theatre’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted that we have been presented with this fantastic award. Our team have been working hard for many years on reducing our environmental impact in a number of ways and it is fantastic to get national recognition for everyone’s efforts.”

The theatre has reduced energy use by 76 per cent since it started recording it in 2008-9 even though the number of performances has risen by around eight per cent.

The amount of waste going to landfill has also reduced dramatically. Over the last two years, gas and electricity usage has dropped by around 50 per cent, and water usage has declined by 200,000 litres over the last two years.

The awards were organised by Julie’s Bicycle, the environmental body which promotes action on climate change and environmental sustainability within the creative industries.

Norwich Theatre Royal has already gained the prestigious Four Star certification from the body for a range of initiatives around the building.

Earlier this year, it was also part of the first Creative Green Certified Tour of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

While the production was in the city, the theatre worked with Matthew’s company New Adventures on a number of initiatives including the measuring of energy readings to work towards further reductions, working with dancers and crew to ensure environmentally-friendly disposal of waste, the availability of reusable hot and cold gel packs to help treat any injuries, and a travel survey was also conducted with the audience to look at how they use transport to get to a show.

There have been a number of other initiatives too.

These include:

  • Recycling  bins across Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich Playhouse and Stage Two
  • Push-button taps and dual-flush toilets to reduce water use
  • Rechargeable batteries used in all on-stage microphones
  • Introduction of LED lighting
  • Working with staff to reduce car use when travelling to and from work cutting it by around 10 per cent
  • Use of reusable cups and cutlery in restaurants and bars

Stephen Crocker said: “I am passionate about sharing our expertise with the industry. Hours after the announcement, one of our peer venues has already been in touch asking to tap into the knowledge of our in-house Green Team who have led this initiative.

“We are passionate about encouraging our creative peers and those within the industry who are touring and coming to our venues to think about the environment and become more sustainable. As an industry, if we all work together, we can reduce our environmental impact.  This is a fantastic accolade that not only marks our achievements to date but gives us renewed impetus to continue driving forward new innovations and approaches to reducing our impact on the environment.”

Look back at the work we did with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures below