Environmental Principles

Theatres Trust is making five commitments to reshape our work and help influence and improve the sector’s sustainability.

Photo by Karsten Wurth via Unsplash

Theatres are vital cultural and community spaces that enable communities across the UK to enjoy live performance, contributing to wellbeing, inclusion and placemaking.

Theatres, like all public buildings, have an impact on the environment and we must ensure that we as a sector rapidly reduce the impact of our business in order to respond to the climate emergency.

For this reason the Theatres Trust has signed up to the Culture Declares Emergency campaign and we make the following five commitments to reshape our work and help to influence and improve the sector’s sustainability.

1. Considering the environmental impact in all planning responses and advice we provide

Theatres Trust has contact with almost every capital project in theatres in the UK. We will work to ensure that when our guidance is given, whether formal planning responses or through our advice services, the environmental impact is considered. We see reduction of the impact of theatre projects as key to their success.

As part of this work we will support the restoration, refurbishment and reuse of existing buildings where these can be practically converted in preference to new-build, if this proves to be a more sustainable option. We will encourage minimising of operational and embodied carbon. We will challenge the need to develop where creative reuse or refurbishment are possible.

2. Supporting projects that are low impact and regenerative through our grants programmes

Our existing grant programmes consider the environmental impact of projects in assessment. We will reshape our programmes to ensure sustainability considerations and, where possible, regenerative design and operation principles are given high priority.

3. Working with our partners to include environmental best practice in industry regulations

As co-publishers of the Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment we will work to ensure that environmental impact is considered alongside operational efficiency and safety in regulating the design of theatres.

Changes in regulation to reduce the harm of theatre buildings may affect the theatre experience and Theatres Trust will work with partners to help shift audience expectations. Examples might include acoustics or the temperature range considered acceptable in a theatre.

Further, we will lobby national governments and local authorities to implement regulations that allow theatres to be built and operated sustainably and, where possible, in a regenerative way. We will align with and support initiatives for the built environment that promote progressive policy and targets including for example removal of VAT on all refurbishment projects.

4. Disseminating case studies and knowledge to the industry from exemplar projects

We will support and where helpful work alongside aligned campaigns within the theatre, planning and construction sectors. Through our position as thought leaders in the theatre industry we will amplify the benefits of projects that are leaders in the field through our events, public profile and publications.

5. Minimising the impact of our own operations

We will continually review our policies in light of the imperative to reduce and offset our environmental impact. This will include monitoring and reporting on our carbon footprint and taking appropriate measures to further improve the sustainability of our operations.