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The Theatres Trust Conference 12: Delivering Sustainable Theatres

The Theatres Trust, The National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, has launched its sixth annual conference, ‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’ -the challenge of achieving the triple bottom line.

Taking place on 12 June 2012 at Stratford Circus in London, next to the Olympic Parkin East London, the Conference will explore how theatre buildings are managing their building’s resources and addressing their future sustainability.

With its timing scheduled to take place the day before the ABTT Theatre Show, Conference attendees and sponsors will be able to take advantage of these co-located events, and network with the UK’s theatre sector as they congregate in London.

The 2012 Theatres Trust Conference will address the question of‘ Delivering Sustainable Theatres’looking athow theatres are addressingthe sustainability agenda in theserapidly changing times, and how they are providing a catalyst for social and economic recovery in the communities they serve. Conference speakers, sponsors and delegates will explore how UKtheatres arecoveringthe cornerstones of sustainability and merging green building principles whilst offering unique cultural experiences.The Conference will look at how theatre design, engineering, IT infrastructure and the use of space is changing to help navigate economic pressures, provide space for hospitality and social activity, and meet the challenges of environmental change.

With rising costs of buildings management, cuts to public subsidy and a massive change in the public ownership of theatres-what does it mean to be a sustainable theatre?Is the first rule of sustainability simply to stay in business? And significantly, what of the role of the theatre in sustaining our cultural and spiritual lives?

Four years on from when The Theatres Trust Conference addressed how theatres could become ‘greener’, it is time to explore what has been achieved in terms of sustainable development given the challenges of rising energy costs, tougher building regulations, and even more difficult economic times. A key feature of Conference 12 will be the case studies from the 48 London theatres on The Theatres Trust ERDF funded ECOVENUE project.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said, “With theatres facing challenging times ahead, our conference next year will be a really important event for anyone trying to maximise the value oftheir theatre building through redesign or adaptation. As a sector we’ve come so far since our Building Sustainable Theatres Conference in 2008 and I’m delighted that we’ll be looking at some of the success stories since that time. What we clearly and urgently need to do now is establish how we take the three pillars of sustainable development -economic, social and environmental -and relate these to a theatre’s ability to sell a unique cultural experience and make sure our theatre buildings have the capacity to deliver what’s needed for today, and into the future. I’m delighted that we are offering a platform to address this topical issue head on in 2012.”

During the day, up to 250 delegates, sponsors and speakers will debate the subjects raised and in the evening, participants will have the chance to informally unwind at the Conference Reception, drawing together both ABTT exhibitors and ‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’contributors, sponsors, delegates, and invited guests.

‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’, presented by The Theatres Trustwill providea high profile platform for companies and individuals in the theatre community to support the better protection of theatresanddemonstrate the industry’s commitment to the sustainable development and cultural influence of theatre in our society today, and into the future.

Community Energy and Efficiency

In these times of rising gas and electricity costs, and concern about the impact of our lifestyles on the planet, there is growing interest in local renewable energy generation and efficiency.

DECC have launched a new fund for communities in England and Wales who are playing an active role in the development of a low carbon society. They want to fund projects that increase understanding of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. This is really interesting for Arcola Energy with our research in hydrogen power and long-term involvement in our local community.

There’s also very encouraging news from Germany, where as TreeHugger reports over half of the renewable energy produced is owned by citizens and farmers, and not utility companies. Perhaps the same situation will start happening in the UK…

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Arcola Energy for Schools is Project of the Week for London Sustainable Schools Forum

Arcola Energy is a member of Project Dirt ; London’s largest and most active green network. It’s a social network of people / organisations doing tangible green projects. The London Sustainable Schools Forum is a group trying to make London’s schools more sustainable places. We’re really excited that Arcola Energy for Schools has been listed as their project of the week – for our workshops where pupils use renewable energy technologies to design, build and test possibilities for a low-carbon future. For more information about the LSSF – check HERE

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Scientific evidence from Cambridge University!

We, at Arcola Theatre were thinking about getting an “air curtain” for our front door. An “air curtain” is when you have hot air blowing from above the door frame, to maintain the temperature inside although the door to the outside is open. Now we decided to close the door instead, after reading that this would cut 10 tonnes of our annual CO2 emissions. For more information about this research, look up “Close the Door” Campaign.

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Feeding the 5000! – Trafalgar Square 18 November

free lunch was served to over 5,000 people in Trafalgar Square. All the ingredients used for the lunch are fresh and would otherwise be wasted – wonky carrots, mis-shapen potatoes and other fresh surplus produce.

There were live cooking demonstrations and plenty of other activities to get stuck into, all of which involved enjoying delicious food rather than throwing it away. Feeding the 5,000 invited citizens and businesses to all join in a pledge to reduce food waste. For more information please check this website http://www.feeding5k.org , or you can find it on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Feeding5k/141410032625501) and Twitter (Twitter @Feeding5k).

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Scientific evidence from Cambridge University!

We, at Arcola Theatre were thinking about getting an “air curtain” for our front door. An “air curtain” is when you have hot air blowing from above the door frame, to maintain the temperature inside although the door to the outside is open. Now we decided to close the door instead, after reading that this would cut 10 tonnes of our annual CO2 emissions. For more information about this research, look up “Close the Door” Campaign.

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UN COP17 Climate Negotiations kick off in Durban

The 17th UN negotiations to try and limit the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions and potentially catastrophic climate change began on 28th November, in Durban South Africa. Since the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1995, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC have been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change.

With the slogan “Working Together; Saving Tomorrow Today”, it seems as though there is plenty of optimism and a will to achieve. However, recent COP meetings, in Copenhagen and Cancun, were felt by some to have failed to deliver lasting commitments from countries to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s an update from the UKYCC delegation in Durban on Monday 5 December:

“It’s the first day of the second week and the pressure’s started to build. This is the make or break week for the negotiations and I’ll be  honest – I’m afraid it’s going to be break time. There are some really important issues on the table – the one a lot of people are talking

about is the Kyoto Protocol. It’s the only legally binding treaty we have to reduce carbon emissions but it runs out in 2012. If we want to have emissions reduction targets (which we do), then we need action now.  The KP (as it’s called) only applies to developed countries. The US never signed up to it (they just don’t like playing fair or acknowledging that they’re part of the world) and now Canada is actively trying to kill it so it can sell highly polluting tar sand oil to every other country in the world for maximum profits. Japan and Russia are being lame too.

It’s not often I’m proud to be British but the EU, and the UK within it, are doing their best to keep it alive – I’m 100% of the way behind them. Say it loud and say it proud: ‘I heart KP!

Other important issues are having a broader mandate for a universal treaty that will cover both developed and developing countries come out of Durban. That, and money. Always with the money! But the UNFCCC want to create a Green Climate Fund to manage the money that will support mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The big question is, who’s going to take care of the money and where’s it going to come from?

For a more in-depth insight, check out the second UKYCC hand puppet video. If talking hands can’t explain what’s going on, nothing can!”

Websites to keep up to date with progress of the talks:

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Green Theatre Network Meeting held at Arcola Theatre and Tent on 24th November

The event was an opportunity for members of the Green Theatre Network to meet up, share progress, discuss issues and find new ways to improve sustainable practices within theatres. The morning consisted of discussions and updates, particularly from members of the network who gave brief summaries on their latest sustainability initiatives. There were also discussions on the future of greening theatre and what we can ideally achieve by 2025.

The variety in projects ranged from new LED lighting techniques, introducing Green Riders into contracts, energy monitoring and measuring, Climate Week 2012 progress and more. It was inspiring and exciting to see how each theatre or company is using different initiatives to be more sustainable.

The event was organised by Julie’s Bicycle, an organisation working to integrate sustainability into the arts.

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Designing out Waste – panel discussion at the Royal College of Art

On Monday 7 November, Arcola participated in an exciting discussion about designing out waste in the art and design sector. It was organised by the London Community Resource Network with speakers from TRAID  and the East London Furniture Project; it was an exploration of how artists and designers can ensure sustainability in the first place by Designing Out Waste.

The talk was part of the Sustain series of talks at the RCA. For more information, see HERE

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TEDx Youth @Thames Event – 20 November – ZSL London Zoo

If the voices of young people alive today were heard in parliaments, councils,
courtrooms and corridors of power, what would we do differently? If future
generations not yet born could speak to us now, what would they say about the
world we hand down to them?

With speakers who have innovative ideas and creative solutions to the challenges intergenerational justice poses for topics such as climate change and sustainability, democracy, law, and economics, its certain to be a fascinating afternoon. For more information including how to book tickets, see HERE

The event is part of a global network of independently organised TED events.

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