As U.K. “Ecovenue” Proceeds, Are U.S. Theaters Still Destroying the Atmosphere?


Some of you may recall last September’s post on an audacious project affecting small to midsize London performance venues, on which “¬£450,000 — that’s roughly equal to more than $740,000 — will be spent to provide specialist theater environmental advice and similar services for some 48 small-scale performance venues.

Now the project, directed under the aegis of the Theatres Trust, is calling for applications for participation in the project, the details of which are provided below.

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Not that American theaters are eligible, mind you; we all know that.

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But as the Clyde Fitch Report asked five months ago, is the American stage doing enough to go green?

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As we noted last September…

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True, there are more and more examples of green thinking: Shakespeare & Company recently announced an environmentally conscious initiative, for instance.

But in the U.S., how many theaters are green or looking at ways to go green? How many comprehensive surveys have there been? How much, on a national scale, would need to be spent on assessments and infrastructure and planning to determine how to make our spaces carbon-neutral?

There was, of course, a major seminar this past April 23 called Towards a Sustainable Green Theatre in NY, featuring a number of fascinating guests, including Gideon Banner of The Green Theater Initiative, arguably the finest source for information on this topic. The question is whether one event alone is really enough. Should green theater be a priority for the industry? Who would be the natural leader of such a movement?

And so the question remains — will we get it together? Or will there be an example here, an example there?

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This question, additionally, comes on the heels of the report that the legendary British producer Cameron Mackintosh is preparing to ensure that his West End houses are financially secure in perpetuity.

Here is the press release from the Theatres Trust, courtesy of Tim Atkinson, Theatre Building Services Adviser:

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The Theatres Trust announces today that applications are open for theatres in London to apply to participate in Ecovenue.

Ecovenue is a unique project developed by The Theatres Trust to provide theatre-specific environmental improvement advice to 48 small-to-medium sized theatre and performing arts venues across London. It aims to achieve quantifiable improvements in the environmental performance of London’s theatres, in support of the Mayor of London’s ‘Green Theatre’ Plan. Ecovenue is funded through the European Regional Development Fund.

The Theatres Trust has put together a dedicated Ecovenue project team to advise the selected 48 venues. Tim Atkinson and Clive Dixon were appointed in December 2009 with expert input from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

Successful theatres will receive a free environmental audit, a free Display Energy Certificate and Advisory Report and help to develop an Environmental Policy. They will each go on to receive a free second Display Energy Certificate a year later to help quantify results and promote achievements. Venues will proceed through the project in four quarterly cohorts of 12.

Tim Atkinson, Theatre Building Services Adviser for Ecovenue, said, “I am looking forward to receiving applications from the many venues that make up London’s internationally renowned and diverse performing arts community and the challenge that lies ahead in helping them achieve better sustainability.”

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust, said, “Ecovenue is an amazing opportunity for theatres across London. Climate change is a major issue for all theatres and all Londoners. Together we can work towards the Mayor’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2025 and earn the respect of theatre audiences in doing so.”

Ecovenue is accepting applications from all venues/venue managements not currently in receipt of more than €500,000 in aid from public bodies, with no more than €43m on their balance sheets, and less than 250 full-time employees.

Application forms can be obtained by emailing or by post:

Ecovenue Theatre Building Services Adviser

The Theatres Trust, 22 Charing Cross Road, LONDON, WC2H 0QL

Submissions should be made by Friday 26th February 2010.

1. Ecovenue is a theatre-specific, environmental business support project for 48 theatre and performing arts venues across London. It aims to achieve quantifiable improvements in the environmental performance of London’s theatres, renowned worldwide. Theatres will be provided with advice to develop Environmental Policies and achieve Display Energy Certificates (DECs). Savings made will help to deliver the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre Plan, which aims to help theatres achieve reductions in carbon emissions by 60% from 1990 levels by 2025. Ecovenue will be delivered by The Theatres Trust, the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres and will run until 2012.

2. European Regional Development Fund: London European Regional Development Fund 2007 to 2013: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is used to tackle regional disparities across Europe. The ERDF supports regional development through actions such as business innovation and support and regeneration. Working on behalf of the Mayor of London, the European Programmes Management Unit (EPMU) at the London Development Agency (LDA) is responsible for the administration of the 2007 to 2013 ERDF programme.

3. The Theatres Trust: The Theatres Trust is the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres. The Trust aims to protect theatres on behalf of the nation. It advises in planning, regeneration and development, architecture and design, heritage, and theatre. It enables better planning to secure, improve and achieve sustainability for new and existing theatre buildings and to protect theatre use. Its aim is to ensure that current and future generations have access to good quality theatres that reflect our rich cultural heritage and offer inspiring new environments in which to enjoy theatre.

4. Ecovenue Team: The Ecovenue team comprises Tim Atkinson as Theatre Building Services Adviser, and Clive Dixon as Finance and Monitoring Officer.

Further information on The Theatres Trust can be obtained from its website

For images and details contact Suzanne McDougall: Tel: 020 7836 8591 Email: