Making Theatre in a Time of Climate Crisis - Launch of Resources


20 Dec 2023

News Story

Headshots of Lorne Campbell, Jackie Wylie and Rufus Norris

On the 29th September 2023, the Making Theatre in a Time of Climate Crisis event took place at the National Theatre and online; a unique gathering of Directors and Artistic Directors from across the UK.

A full set of materials from the day, including videos of all presentations, is now hosted on the Theatre Green Book website. This resource offers guidance on environmentally responsible theatre production to all theatre directors and others in the theatre industry, and beyond.

The sector wide event was hosted by Jackie Wylie (Artistic Director, National Theatre of Scotland), Lorne Campbell (Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales) and Rufus Norris (Director, National Theatre) and co-curated by Zoë Svendsen and Lesley Anne Rose with support from staff across the three National companies.

Directors and Artistic Directors from across the nations were invited to take part in an urgent UK sector-wide conversation about making theatre in the context of the climate crisis, using the principles of the Theatre Green Book, a globally-recognised industry-standard manual for sustainable theatre production. More than 300 directors and director-adjacent practitioners attended the event.

The event aimed to create a space to reflect on issues arising from the climate crisis, to explore the culture of theatre-making and theatre production practices and to respond with actionable asks and pledges to bring about change in how theatre in the UK is made going forward.

As an outcome of the event, content and responses have been compiled and published on the Theatre Green Book website, offering an ongoing resource for the UK theatre sector going forward, including a series of pledges and asks, for Directors and Artistic Directors to sign up to. Resources can be accessed here.

Jackie Wylie – Artistic Director, National Theatre of Scotland said

“It felt hopeful, energising and inspiring to take part in this important industry event and be part of a much-needed bringing together of Artistic Directors, directors and theatre-makers from across the UK. At the event we acknowledged that the climate emergency demands fundamental global systemic change and that the theatre industry needs to get its house in order to be part of that change. We have wholeheartedly committed to meeting Theatre Green Book standards at National Theatre of Scotland. We hope the information and resources that we have made available from the day, will enable and inspire other theatres to join us in changing how theatre is made going forward.”

Lorne Campbell – Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales said

"Collaboration is the way that we must face crisis. That's why it was so inspiring to have 300 directors and theatre practitioners from across the UK in one room to think about our future. In times of crisis, in this climate emergency, we have to think differently and in the long term. We've been meeting Theatre Green Book ‘baseline’ standards in our recent productions and we invite other theatres to do the same from 2024, and to share knowledge and resource through the Theatre Green Book and other collaborative means to achieve that goal, together."

Rufus Norris - Director – National Theatre said

“We are committed to developing a pathway that will see the National Theatre Net Zero by 2030. The conversations that took place at the event are integral in helping us achieve that goal, whilst also presenting a space for leaders from across the industry to discuss how to urgently respond to the Climate Crisis. The actionable pledges created will further inform the National Theatre’s Environmental Policy which recognises our responsibility to take action, improve our practise and work together as an organisation and industry to face this challenge head-on.”

Zoë Svendsen and Lesley Anne Rose - co-curators of MAKING THEATRE IN A TIME OF CLIMATE CRISIS said

“The brilliant range of directors sharing their perspective proves that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, but rather an exciting variety of aesthetics and approaches.

The point is to embed environmental care at the heart of artistic practice – evolving our sector to be fit for the century we are living in.”