Theatres are Getting Greener


Theatres are by nature both green and not green. Green because they have little money, so they re-use costumes and props. Not green because they have huge power demands (lighting), travel requirements and throw-away programmes. But the times are changing. The Arcola Theatre has announced itself as the "world's first carbon neutral theatre". A small off-off "Broadway" venue, it is embarking on a new challenge "Arcola Energy". Plans include a biomass heating system which will burn wood pellets instead of gas, solar panels on the roof, and fuel cells that create electricity without noise or pollution. In addition they will be creating an "energy technology incubator" - a space for scientists and engineers to research initiatives to tackle climate change.

The Young Vic Theatre (pictured) was recently renovated and the architect said that "green thinking was central to the redesign. Sustainability is about quality of life, about delight, poetry and optimism, not just about solar panels. The two aren't mutually exclusive. A well-designed, passively ventilated, carefully shaded building with well controlled sunlight is also an enjoyable place to be." The Barbican, a huge arts complex which includes 3 theatres and two art gallerys has taken some big steps towards making its operation more sustainable. They have a manifesto which includes extensive recycling, using green energy sources and special efficiency heating and cooling systems and a redesigned ventilation system. Future plans are to reduce the utilities bill by £100k in 2007/08 and a grey water reuse and rainwater harvesting system.

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