The UK’s Live Production Industry Comes Together to Change the Foundations of Our Culture

“We have set ourselves ten challenging goals for the decade ahead. Only by working together will we be able to solve our biggest issues. These goals set the pace for the live production industry and reflect our shared aspirations and needs.” SiPA’s Craig Bennett

On 8th September, The Unicorn Theatre, the UK’s theatre for young audiences, provided a symbolic venue for the press launch of SiPA – The Sustainability in Production Alliance.

SiPA has been created by the industry to provide a central hub for collaboration and culture change. Its initiative encompasses issues around equality, well-being, education and development, waste, procurement, renewable energy, transparent reporting of environmental and social impacts, fair pay and resilient industry economics. The SiPA goals create an aspirational, active and practical framework that is common to all.

As an industry that is integral to the creative and cultural sector, we must recognise the power of culture and the cultural narrative to the delivery of change. SiPA will work with the existing networks of industry membership organisations; professional bodies and environmental sustainability organisations such as Julie’s Bicycle and Creative Carbon Scotland.

For years individuals and companies have been battling some of the 21st century’s biggest challenges alone. By 2025, the period covered by the SiPA initiative’s goals, today’s 8 year olds will be entering adulthood. As an industry, we want to ensure that we have provided the foundations for them to achieve their potential.

SiPA’s Industry Sustainability Goals will be ratified, discussed and signed at the PLASA London trade show, October 2015. Individuals, businesses and organisations can sign digitally at from 1st October 2015.

PLASA London, ExCeL Centre

Sunday 4 October 1415 – 1500 SiPA Goal Launch

Sunday 4 October 1615 – 1700 Social Sustainability Panel

Monday 5 October 1615 – 1700 Economic Sustainability Panel

Tuesday 6 October 1015 – 1100 Environmental Sustainability Panel

Matthew Griffiths, CEO Professional Lighting and Sound Association commented: “The approach to this is key because it’s about the collective. It’s about everybody’s problem – it’s about everybody’s solution. SiPA’s approach mirrors all of our experience of working in theatre and live events which is that nothing happens in isolation – anything that happens on stage can’t happen without a whole supply chain behind it.”

SiPA’s Craig Bennett said: “For 12 months, SiPA has partnered with over 70 individuals and organisations from all areas of the live production industry. SiPA has worked to identify ten goals that universally represent the issues we face as individuals and organisations. We have explored the stories of the live production industry and together we have uncovered ten major shared goals.”

Lucy Kerbel, Director, Tonic Theatre commented on the goals:

“…ensuring our industry attracts the breadth of talented individuals out there is vital but the second important thing is making sure we can keep hold of them, re-imagining how we work and how we structure our organisations – it’s about how we set the industry up for the next few decades rather than operating in a way that suited the world as it once was.”

Tom Harper, Resource and Sustainability Manager, Unusual Rigging explained:

“In our sector, there’s a really essential requirement to look at how we value resources. There’s a massive gulf between acknowledging and accepting that change needs to take place in the industry and knowing how to practically apply it. It comes down to narrative and storytelling and SiPA encourages a shift forward on a much bigger scale.”

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said:

“…people from various facets of the industry have come together to make and really interrogate what this declaration means to us all – as we’ve done that we’ve talked about the power and importance of the stories we tell through theatre – theatres are where our creativity, curiosity and understanding can be challenged. Our creativity must not be disposable.”

Juliet Hayes, Risk and Sustainability Manager, Ambassador Theatre Group stated:

“With SiPA entering the picture, it’s a very good opportunity to join these very strong, like-minded people together – all passionate about the goals SiPA has put forward. We need collective expertise in response to these challenges so I’m very much for SiPA and what it stands for.”

About SiPA:

The Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA) was formed in 2014 following a panel discussion assembled by the Association of Lighting Designers. During the debate it became apparent that sustainability had not moved forward substantially within the industry since 2008. Furthermore, it was recognised that each facet of the industry working disparately could not affect the necessary culture change. This realisation created a wave of concern and ultimately led to the creation of the cross industry initiative SiPA.

Split into three pillars of sustainability – social, environmental, and economic, the ten SiPA goals have been devised, interrogated, de-constructed, debated and agreed by a working group numbering over 70 freelancers and representatives of organisations, businesses and professional bodies including:

PLASA, ABTT, PSA, The Theatres Trust, Stage Management Association, ALD, Women in Stage Entertainment, Entertaining Sustainability, Ambassadors Theatre Group, National Theatre Wales, Tonic Theatre, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd., SOLT/UK Theatre, Julie’s Bicycle, London Theatre Consortium (13 London theatres), National Theatre, Unusual Rigging, White Light, Arts Council England, The Society of Theatre Consultants, Manchester Arts Sustainability Team, Dance Consortium, SBTD, Creu Cymru, The Audience Agency, Show Force, Creative Carbon Scotland and various training and educational institutions.

More information can be found in the goals document

SiPA is 100% unfunded but has been supported in-kind by:

  • Entertaining Sustainability – for sharing of their web space and forums
  • PLASA – for provision of space and a show stand at the PLASA trade show
  • The Association of Lighting Designers – for initiating the debate
  • The Theatres Trust – for provision of meeting space
  • White Light Ltd – for support and provision of materials

About PLASA: PLASA is the lead international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event, entertainment and installation industries. PLASA’s activities include lobbying, organising trade show events, publishing, developing industry standards and developing industry certification schemes.

About The Theatres Trust: The Theatres Trust is a statutory consultee on theatre buildings in the planning system. It provides expert advice on the sustainable development of theatres, distributes capital grants and helps to promote awareness and solutions for theatres at risk. The Theatres Trust champions all theatres, historic, contemporary and new, in theatre-use, in other uses or disused.

About Tonic Theatre: Tonic Theatre was created in 2011 as a way of supporting the theatre industry to achieve greater gender equality in its workforces and repertoires. Today, Tonic partners with leading theatre companies around the UK on a range of projects, schemes and creative works. Its goal is to equip UK theatre with the tools it needs to ensure a greater level of female talent is able to rise to the top.

About Unusual Rigging: Established in 1983, Unusual Rigging is the UK’s most experienced provider of rigging and stage engineering solutions, working across Europe, principally in the entertainment, special event, exhibition and presentation industries.

About The Ambassador Theatre Group: Founded in 1992, the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) is the world’s number one live-theatre company with 45 venues in Britain, the US and Australia. ATG is also one of the most prolific and internationally recognised award-winning theatre producers in the world.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.