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Working Groups

Sustainable Design Working Group

Our aim is to make sure designers' voices are heard in industry–wide conversations around best practices, to explore creative ways to make performance design more environmentally sustainable and to make sure designers have access to the resources, knowledge and tools necessary. We believe ecologically-minded design is not just about reducing the environmental harm done by our sector but also a chance to push the performing arts in exciting new directions. 

Sustainable Design Working Group
Stuck, Hoax Productions, Design by Andrea Carr, Photograph by Kasia Rucinska

The group is currently focused on these main areas:

  • Research

We have been researching and testing sustainable materials to provide practical information to help designers find greener alternatives that work for them creatively and ecologically. To consolidate this work, we are asking designers to focus on a material that interests them and report back. We aim to collate all this research in book form. We are also exploring ideas around shared costume storage and creating a collaborative ‘green map’ of sustainable resources and initiatives in the UK.

  • Carbon Literacy

We have created a carbon literacy course aimed at theatre designers and those working alongside them, including directors. It is accredited by the Carbon Literacy Project and was piloted at the National Theatre. It is now being delivered in collaboration with various venues around the UK. Most courses have places for members of our sister organisations and unaffiliated practitioners, as well as SBTD members.

  • Sustainable Scenes Studios

These are online meetings for SBTD members and their colleagues in which we hear from guest speakers or look at past and current projects to see what lessons can be learned, help solve problems and visualise future solutions. 

  • Building networks

We have provided speakers for many industry events, including World Stage Design, the ABTT Theatre Show, OISTAT World Congress and The National Theatre’s Making Theatre Green event. We contributed to The Theatre Green Book and have been part of many industry-wide conversations, ensuring the designers’ voices are heard.

  • Global Voices video archive

This collaboration with Ecostage is a video archive that showcases how performing arts practitioners and their communities have been affected by different aspects of the current environmental crises, including changes to the socio-political and economic landscape. New entries are welcome.

  • Ecostage

We support the work of our sister project, Ecostage. A re-envisioning of the 2015 ‘Ecostage Pledge’, Ecostage is an initiative founded by theatre designers that offers practical, creative ideas to green up practices in the performing arts, including the Ecostage Guiding Principles, the Ecostage Pledge, case studies, resources and a growing global community. 

Do please sign up to our mailing list, to hear about upcoming carbon literacy training, meetings, projects and events, or contact us using the form below if you’d like to know more or get involved.

Sustainable Design Working Group
Rust Textile by Hannah Myers,


For a constantly updated library of useful links, we recommend the Ecostage resources library.

The Theatre Green Book – a practical guide for sustainable theatre

Julies Bicycle – the leading organisation for promoting sustainable arts and culture in the UK.

Ecostage – placing ecological thinking at the heart of creative practice – especially useful for individual practitioners, see above for more info

Global Voices – a video archive we’ve created in collaboration with Ecostage

SiPA – The Sustainability in Production Alliance

Ecoscenography – a website edited by leading ecoscenographer Tanja Beer

Contact us to find out more about the Sustainable Design Working Group

If you would like further information on this group please send us a message here: