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New Year Resolutions

15 January 2021

New Year Resolutions


Happy New Year! 

It’s a tough time, but one of the few good things to come out of all the awfulness of Covid-19 is a chance to do things better when we return to work. The SBTD Sustainable Design Group has been using this time to look at many aspects of theatre design practice in an effort to find ways for us to be more sustainable. We have some exciting stuff lined up for the coming months. In the meantime, members of the group have shared some of their green new year’s resolutions, so we made a video:

We also wanted to provide a little more info on some of the resolutions, so here’s the list with some additional notes.

  • Use an airbrush and water-based paint instead of aerosol spray paints. Not only is it greener, there’s no more having to spray outside in the wind and rain!
  • Shop second hand or look for alternatives to fast fashion outlets. Please share your favourite shops with us!
  • Ask for green strategy meetings with production teams to discuss sustainability. There’s a lot of information out there to support greener decision-making, which we’re in the process of compiling; get in touch with us to find out more.
  • Try using recycled paper and sketchbooks. Let us know your favourite brands!
  • Minimise your travel and make journeys efficient. One thing about the lockdown is that pretty much everyone is used to using Zoom!
  • Avoid using Amazon. Shop locally. Shop directly from the manufacturer. Gathering information about local resources is one of our priorities for the first part of this year, so we’ll have more on this soon.
  • Always check the prop and costume store first. There’s often stuff already in the building you can use.
  • Switch to Ecosia as your search engine for research purposes. Ecosia is carbon neutral and uses its ad revenue form search to plant trees.
  • Share modelboxes with other designers. For example, use Max Dorey’s fantastic modelbox library project. Here’s a link to Max’s blog about it.
  • Don’t print your scripts unless you need to.
  • Reuse as much as possible, eg use paint sources from community paint initiatives and brace model box walls with wood offcuts. One of our members was telling us that she’d created a modular model-box bracing system from offcuts. Let’s see more of that kind of thing!
  • Take the Ecostage pledge. Ecostage is a designer-led initiative to put ecological thinking at the heart of creative practice, through a set of shared underlying principles and a global network for sharing knowledge and experience. Here’s the website.
  • Collaborate with other designers to share set elements on multiple productions and plan how they could be used once the project is over. This last idea is crucial if we’re really going to make our industry green: ideally every set would be designed with its future reuse or recycling in mind.
  • Use chalk pens/paper based tape rather than PVC LX tape when marking up a set.
  • Find eco alternatives to foamboard, toxic glues and paints (no VOCs). We’re doing some research into alternative materials so will have more on this soon but in the meantime consider switching to biodegradable foam board as a first step.

There’s a bit more about us here. If you’d like to join us, please drop us a line:

All the best for 2021 and a happy, healthy and sustainable return to work!


Video credits:

Resolutions by members of the SBTD’s Sustainable Design Group

Animations: Alison Neighbour, Adele Keeley, Hannah Harding, Jess Curtis, Paul Burgess and Simon Daw

Music: Birds by Corbyn Kites

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