© 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. LED) for backstage working lights, 
  • Replace high wattage tungsten halogen lanterns with LED equivalents
  • Replace moving lights 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 remove PVC tape use. 
  • Avoid glitter (a harmful microplastic) in prop-making or make-up. 

See also

Save Stage Lighting (2018)


Sustainable Theatre Companies



BBC Low Energy Lighting Guidelines (September 2011)
[8.37Mb PDF]

LSI: The Greening of Birmingham Hippodrome (March 2016)
[2.4Mb PDF]
From Lighting & Sound International

LSI: Sustainability in Production Alliance (November 2015)
[External Website]
From Lighting & Sound International

LSI: Sustainability Takes The Stage (September 2012)
[External Website]
From Lighting & Sound International

LSI: Julies Bicycle (March 2011)
[External Website]
From Lighting & Sound International

LSI: Greening Up Your Act (August 2010)
[External Website]
From Lighting & Sound International

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]
ReSet - An Encore for your production [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]
Vision2025 Sustainability for Outdoor Shows


Sustainable Design - Julies Bicycle Live Design