© Can Stock Photo / Pakhnyushchyy



Sustainability Ideas

Electrical efficiency

  • Power off the lighting rig when it’s not being used (particularly moving lights)
  • Investigate lower-wattage light sources (e.g. compact fluorescent or LED) for backstage working lights, 
  • Replace high wattage tungsten halogen lanterns with LED equivalents

Reduce Wastage

  • Ensure spare catered food is saved and distributed to local shelters
  • Use cable ramps or rubber mats to replace large quantities of gaffer tape to hold cables down
  • Donate unwanted gel to local play schemes
  • Reuse or Recycle unwanted set / props, or set up a local scheme to store set & prop items for reuse by other companies
  • Use secondhand costumes and props rather than buying new
  • Store costumes and props carefully so that they’re in good condition when you use them again and again.
  • Design modular scenery that can be reused repeatedly (by repainting or recovering). 
  • Avoid printed materials (posters / flyers) and use social media. At Fringe Festivals where flyering is a big part of the marketing plan of many groups, use photo opportunities, QR codes on clothing etc and encourage passers-by to take a photo of you to remind them about the show rather than taking a flyer. Use recycled paper and non-glossy recyclable card for flyers if you need to print them.

Reduce Plastics

  • Reusable water bottles can be refilled hundreds of times, to reduce plastic bottle use
  • Don’t use plastic straws – metal, paper or bamboo straws are available
  • Reusable rubber ties or short lengths of tie line or rope can replace PVC tape on lighting rigs or for coiling cables
  • Velcro cable ties can be permanently fixed to cables to reduce PVC tape use. 

See also

Save Stage Lighting (2018)


Sustainable Theatre Companies



BBC Low Energy Lighting Guidelines (2011)

The Greening of Birmingham Hippodrome (2016)


External Links


Arcola Theatre


Kirei ECHOPanel sustainable acoustic panel [USA]


GreenClover (formerly Scenery Salvage) Recycle your scenic waste instead of chucking it out! [UK]
Ready, Set, Recycle Props, Set, Equipment [USA]
Set Exchange [UK]


Broadway Green Alliance
Entertaining Sustainability (website unavailable) Practical Advice [UK]
Green Shoot Film & TV sustainability
Green Theatre London, September 2008
Interview - Paule Constable (Staging Change)
ISO20121 Event Management Sustainability Standard
Julie's Bicycle Sustaining Creativity [UK]
Roadies to the Rescue - Sustainable Gig Ideas
Staging Change Network [UK]
The Sustainability in Production Alliance [UK]
Tips for Green, More Sustainable Shows The Guardian, 29 January 2014 [UK]


Sustainable Design - Julies Bicycle Live Design