Greening the Performing Arts

​Many performing arts companies and individual artists are doing their bit to ensure that we have a 'greener' environment. They see this as essential in creating a better future for all Australia and they believe in leading by example.

Greening the Performing Arts


New Sustainable Event Standard launched

A new international standard for Event Sustainability Management Systems(ISO20121) has recently been launched and is likely to be adopted in Australia.

Standards Australia appointed representatives of the Australian event industry, including Live Performance Australia, to a national committee to look into the issues. The committee has recommended ISO20121 be adopted as an Australian Standard.

ISO20121 requires strategies and actions to be in place that support and manage event sustainability issues more effectively.

An organisation's top management must be committed to sustainable development principles for the standard to succeed.

The team producing and running the event also need skills and knowledge in sustainability and how it can be applied in event production.

What is event sustainability?

According to the International Standards Organisation, sustainability is about delivering events that not only have a minimal environmental footprint, but which exceed clients and attendee expectations, contribute to stronger communities and networks, build capability and generate a good return on the resources invested.

Green innovations that can be adopted include paperless ticketing, LED lighting, digital marketing materials, waste recycling, carbon offsetting of travel, digital scripts and sheet music, green power.

Green Shoot Pacific, sustainability consultants for Sydney Festival, has produced a 4-part webcast on implementing ISO 20121 which includes a live case study from the 2012 Sydney Festival. Follow this link to watch it online:Webcast on Implementing ISO 20121 by Sydney Festival.

Finding out more about the standard

Copies of the standard can be purchased through SAI Global. Search for 'ISO 20121' on their site or go directly to thislink.

Live Performance Australia is also developing Greener Live Performances activities and resources. It will deliver its first training sessions in Queensland in early 2013, and hopes to take the sessions around the country.

What our companies are doing

Our member companies are finding ways to reduce their paper consumption with subscriber letters replaced by emails and Annual Reports often available on-line rather than mailed out as a glossy brochure.

Sydney Theatre Company

Sydney Theatre Company took out the top award at The 2010 Green Globe Awards winning the Premier's Award for Sustainability Excellence for their "Greening the Wharf" project. STC was also awarded the Community Sustainability Award for it.

The project transformed the beautiful, heritage-listed wharf building into an inspirational example of environmental leadership. Completed in 2011, the award-winning project is widely considered to be an exemplar in its scale and comprehensive approach. Read more.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra is making their concert programs available on-line in the week after performances - reducing carbon footprint by limiting the production of glossy booklets.

Malthouse Theatre

The Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne has implemented a number of operational initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. For example it has fitted its security system with Solar charged batteries and has installed a state of the art dimmer system in the Beckett Theatre to reduce heat discharge from the theatre lights, which in turn has reduced the (high energy consuming) air-conditioning requirements of the theatre. In addition 50 cents from each ticket sold to Malthouse Theatre productions has been invested in renewable technologies.

Queensland Theatre Company

In 2008 URS, a global engineering and environmental services firm, and The Queensland Theatre Company joined forces to establish the'Green Theatre Initiative'. URS and Queensland Theatre Company forged a collaborative partnership focused on improving sustainability practices across both organisations.

The Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet is changing the behind-the-scenes behaviour of staff and dancers, including reducing paper-use, introducing a new bin system to minimise land fill and installing efficient light bulbs in the car park that last 25,000 instead of only 8,000 hours. The Ballet estimates that the introduction of green policies is saving it approximately $10,000 a year.


Greening the Performing Arts, MPA Activities