Sustainable theatres – a wider view

Part of the Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities project, this webinar will provide an overview of the key successes and challenges involved when theatres try to be sustainable, with a focus on buildings, especially heritage, and resources like the Theatre Green Book, as well as a wider look at the importance of leadership and people.

We will hear from structural engineer Andrew Wylie, a partner at leading engineering consultancy Buro Happold and chief contributor to the Theatre Green Book,* a free resource helping theatres become sustainable. Andrew will discuss the broader context within which theatre sustainability initiatives sit, and share insights into some other sectors, relating it back to theatre. He will touch upon the impact of technological advances and reveal some common challenges faced by theatres across the UK. Colin Johnston, Deputy CEO at Blackpool Grand, will share his perspective on the importance of leadership when working towards sustainability, whether for influencing other sectors or getting buy in from trustees. Angela Wachner, the General Manager at Bush Theatre in London, will talk about the Bush’s sustainability journey with particular focus on the impact of and on its people, from its employees to suppliers and local communities.

With case studies and practical tips, this webinar aims to highlight the different resources theatres use to tackle the climate crisis. It will provide an introductory overview of sustainability work, and will be suitable for theatre professionals at all levels and with varying degrees of knowledge or experience of sustainability.

The webinar will be hosted and chaired by Theatres Trust Architecture Adviser, Claire Appleby.

The Theatre Green Book is a free resource developed by theatre industry experts and provides guidance, information, and practical advice to help the sector be more sustainable. The second edition, launching on 3 June, will build on theatre-makers’ experience and feedback, providing enhanced guidance and new tools. To download the Theatre Green Book and use related resources please visit the Theatre Green Book website.

 Register for your free place.


Andrew Wylie
As a Partner at Buro Happold, Andrew leads on projects in the UK’s cultural sector. These have included The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Factory (Manchester), The Centre for Music (London) and The Natural History Museum (London). He actively contributes to the cultural sector’s response to the climate and biodiversity crisis, such as leading the technical team authoring the Theatre Green Book and Arts Green Book, and being on the steering committee for both publications. Andrew has a Master’s degree in Inter-Disciplinary Design for the Built Environment from the University of Cambridge, is a Chartered Engineer, and member of the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) and a trustee of The Lowry (Salford).

Colin Johnston
Colin joined the senior management team of The Grand Theatre in Blackpool in 2010 to lead the drive to attract sponsorship, grants, and donations. He achieved Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation status for The Grand in 2011 and delivered a £1m capital project in 2015 that has provided the venue with additional rehearsal, performance and office space whilst also significantly reducing its carbon footprint. Colin has collaborated with specialists to write a conservation plan that has informed the theatre’s masterplan - a £10m project to preserve The Grand for future generations and modernise its services to make it more environmentally and financially sustainable.

Angela Wachner
Angela is General Manager at the Bush Theatre, London, and has previous experience of major projects such as developing a strategy for increasing diversity across all recruitment at the Royal Opera House and an £80 million capital project at National Theatre, London, as acting Head of Audience Experience. She began her career as an actor and director in Australia where she co-founded Core Theatre to explore women’s stories and enable women to thrive in the rehearsal room through collaborative practice. Driving a more environmentally sustainable theatre industry has been a key focus for Angela over the last decade, and she is on the Theatre Green Book buildings committee and undertaking a capital project to progress de-carbonisation at the Bush Theatre.

Blackpool Grand exterior photo credit Sean Conboy