In 2018, New Adventures, Sadler’s Wells and Norwich Theatre Royal formed a sustainable touring consortium under Accelerator, a new strand of Arts Council England’s Environmental Programme. Their aim is to develop a blueprint for environmentally sustainable touring, building on the work of New Adventures to green the tour of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and its Green Adventures programme as well as the environmental initiatives of Sadler’s Wells and Norwich Theatre Royal.
New Adventures/Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake
New Adventures started working with Julie’s Bicycle in 2017 to better understand the impacts of its touring productions and develop its environmental policy and practice. In 2018 the company worked with Julie’s Bicycle to pilot a new Creative Green certification for touring. In 2019, New Adventures achieved the first ever Creative Green touring certification– scoring 4 out of 5 stars for its Swan Lake UK tour.
Sadler’s Wells started out on its environmental journey about five years ago with a focus on reducing building energy use. Sustainability initiatives are spearheaded by its Green Team, who lead on the implementation of a comprehensive green action plan, and developed ‘Green Riders’ for both visiting companies and their own touring productions. Sadler’s Wells is part of both Accelerator and Spotlight, another strand of Arts Council England’s Environmental Programme focused on building energy and carbon reduction. Creative Green certified for a number of years already, Sadler’s Wells achieved a 5-star Creative Green Certification for the second year running in 2019.
Norwich Theatre Royal has been demonstrating its environmental commitment for over 10 years, achieving impressive reductions such as a 77% reduction in energy use per performance and a 79% reduction in waste to landfill. Beyond their building and operations, they also have a range of internal and external engagement measures, from an environmental Open Day for visitors to commissioning a local artist to create an art installation made from recycled and reused materials. In 2019 they produced a video on their collaboration with New Adventures, featuring the New Adventures Green Champions. The theatre has been Creative Green certified for the last nine years. They won the 2019 Creative Green Award for Best Improvement, and went on to achieve a five-star Creative Green rating for the first time.
All three organisations saw the potential for greater co-operation across receiving houses and touring companies and are taking the opportunity of the Accelerator programme to exchange best practice and get to grips with what more can be done by them as a group but also for touring more broadly.
Images courtesy of the Norwich Theatre Royal, Sadler’s Wells and New Adventures