Happy Earth Day! Sustainability is paramount to keeping the world a safe and healthy place – and you can start enacting greener practices in your theatre today. On The Stage offers a few tips to get you started.  

Focus on energy efficiency

Keeping your theatre energy efficient is an excellent way to increase sustainability and save you money in the long run. In terms of technology, consider prioritizing the use of LED lighting instruments in your design. This will save you total kilowatt hours and eliminate traditional lighting gel, a consumable item.

In terms of general eco-conscious choices, consider conducting rehearsals under working lights where possible, or even moving rehearsals outdoors if you’re still in early stages. 

During performance days, switch off show lighting until thirty minutes before a performance to save energy, and don’t leave equipment running when it’s not needed. 

Additionally, do some research into renewable energy sources like cycle power or solar power. While it may be pricey upfront, you’ll see an ROI in terms of lower energy bills. 


Expand your resource network

Creating positive working relationships with community partners and area businesses can be a great way to enhance your sustainability efforts. Expand collaborations and develop new partnerships with local universities, high schools, and other theatre/arts organizations to share resources and further your recycling of production materials. Sharing is caring!


Rework costumes

According to a 2016 report by the Environmental Protection Agency, leather and textile waste makes up at least 10% of the solid waste making its way to landfills. Be part of the change as it relates to that waste by pulling existing pieces from costume stock instead of going out to buy new pieces for productions.

If you absolutely need to buy new costuming pieces, head to thrift stores or second-hand shops before buying from a big box store – this way you aren’t creating new textile waste. 


Get smart with set design and construction

Much like with costuming, it will just require a little out-of-the-box thinking to reduce, reuse, and recycle scenic elements for your next production. 

Make sure to invest in stock platforming that can be adjusted to fit any production design. This eliminates the need to build new, custom sets or waste lumber. You can also incorporate elements from previous productions into scenic design for a new show – it’s all about creative thinking! 


Go paperless 

Limiting paper production on your next show is one of the simplest ways to become a more sustainable program. Instead of printing out a variety of tangible items, consider going paperless on:

  • Tickets and programs – Digital ticketing can be seamless, inexpensive, and reliable. While programs are great fun, digital options exist. Patrons can enjoy viewing them on their phones before a production, and you can sell digital ad spots. 
  • Scripts – Before your team is off-book, consider emailing scripts to your cast instead of printing off pages and pages worth of dialogue. If that’s not an option, only print a small amount of scripts and encourage your cast and crew to share. 
  • Communications – Whether you’re attempting to spread the word about your production, requesting donations from patrons, or communication with your cast and crew, stay digital. 
  • Customer receipts – Alongside digital ticketing software, send ticket receipts directly to patron’s emails instead of printing them out. 


Do your research

There are a variety of resources online that offer information on sustainable theatre materials. For example, Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company’s Green Theater Choices Toolkit, published by CSPA, presents a helpful infographic on theatre materials and their ratings on a scale of eco-friendliness. You can also track materials and their eco-friendliness ratings using the Green Exhibit Checklist, or source your materials through PGA’s Green Vendors map.


Use rechargeable batteries

Some would see this as a no-brainer, but rechargeable batteries help the environment drastically. They are 32 times less harmful to the environment than disposables, and they save you money in the long run. A variety of on- and off-stage equipment require batteries, so you’ll see the savings accrue quickly. 


Reduce transport

If you’re unable to recycle all your materials, try to source them locally and combine deliveries, reducing transport and subsequent emissions. 

If your show is mobile, create set pieces that can break down/fit into economical spaces. If your cast is traveling together – whether to a competition, bonding event, or rehearsals – encourage carpooling to bring down carbon emissions. 


Devote time to equipment maintenance

A simple yet crucial practice, working hard to maintain your theatre equipment, props, set pieces, and costumes will increase sustainability. If you keep up maintenance, you increase efficiency, reduce costs on replacement, reduce waste and reduce the emission of fossil fuels. 


Monitor your environmental impact

Remember, data is power. If you’re looking to get serious about your environmental impact, monitor your energy use, carbon emissions, and other environmental emissions. Through diligent research and data, you can pinpoint areas of concern and places where savings can be made. Resources like production calendars and sustainable production guides can aid you on that journey.  


 Ask for help

Research and a passion for the cause can only take you so far, and there are experts in your area that have answers. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from local or national sustainability groups. Their greatest passion, after all, is helping others go green and guiding them through that process. 


Collaborate and gamify

People love working together towards a common goal, especially if there’s a reward at the end. Consider hosting a sustainability contest or an ongoing “green” challenge for your cast and crew. Create teams, and have them come up with additional ways to support your sustainability goals. With more people passionate about the cause, your objectives will be met faster. 

On The Stage is passionate about sustainability in the theatre. The company’s all-in-one technology platform takes everything digital, meaning less waste coming from your theatre. From digital ticketing software to best-in-class marketing efforts and fundraising reporting, On The Stage can assist with your eco-conscious goals. Book a personalized demo now to get started.

Related products and solutions