Cardboard Boxes

Sustainable Theatre Competition Winner Presentations at WSD2013

Sun 8 Sept 16.30 – 18.00

The Willow Theatre


The Sustainable Theatre competition winner will showcase their winning designs.

World Stage Design 2013 opened up a unique opportunity to design a temporal alternative sustainable theatre. The competition was open to professionals and emerging practitioners from across all related disciplines and received over 100 entries from 26 countries.

The Willow Theatre, designed by architect Tim Lai and theatre designer Brad Steinmetz, both of Columbus, Ohio, USA was voted as the winning design and has been built for the event.

Ian Evans, WSD2013’s technical director and a senior lecturer at RWCMD, said: “The design brief was a tough one. We asked for a venue that was eco-conscious, could seat up to 150 people, host a variety of events and be self-built, all for an outlay of less than £20,000. Yet the response has been magnificent, many using highly original approaches and suggesting a wide variety of materials, including hay bales, cardboard boxes and packing crates. The entry from Brad and Tim was everyone’s favourite, though, because as well as meeting the technical brief, it is going to look and feel very interesting – an innovative blueprint that can be copied for other settings.”

The building’s strength will come from hired and returnable industrial scaffolding while the decorative fronds and interior walls will be made from UK-produced horticultural fleece, a re-usable material which can also be recycled to make more of the same fabric.

Internal fittings, including the floor and wooden seating will also be re-usable, recyclable and/or reclaimed and the roof will be retractable to take advantage of natural light and ventilation.

Volunteers will build the temporary venue in time for a full programme of events which will see a series of talks, workshops, debates and shows exploring environmental sustainability and the arts.  The programme is titled People, Profit, Planet and you can read about it in full here.

You can follow the build of the theatre with the live webcam here.



This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance


  1. Always design with greener lighting in mind.

  2. Always rehearse under energy-efficient lighting (exceptions for tech and dress rehearsals).

  3. Keep all dimmers, instruments and control gear clean and dust-free.

  4. Shut down all dimming gear at the source at the end of rehearsal/performance day.

  5. Power down moving heads & LED power supplies if they won’t be in use for more than one hour.

  6. Make sure all back-of-house, dressing room, and corridor lighting is energy-efficient (LED recommended) and operated by motion sensors.

  7. All running and marker lights should be LED.

  8. Install dimmable energy efficient sources for all of your front-of-house areas.

  9. Use the BGA’s Gel Project for donating and reusing lighting gels where feasible.

  10. Join the Broadway Green Alliance!



  1. Create a greener studio: For model-making, choose cardboard over foam core, pulp board over illustration board, white glue over Twin Tak or other adhesive sheets.

  2. Printing: Ink cartridges are often over-packaged with plastic. Choose a printer that uses less or no plastic packaging for their inks. Recycle all ink cartridges. Use recycled paper, print front and back, or review documents digitally and don’t print at all!

  3. Build models out of packing materials like cereal boxes, pulp board & cardboard inserts, plastic packaging and cardboard boxes.

  4. Recycle all paper & cardboard used in the studio. Break down old models and reuse materials. Save models that can’t be broken down to be used as base structures for new models.

  5. Designing Greener: When approaching a project, think of the type of materials you want to use. Is there a more sustainable option for this material? What is the sheet-size of this material? Choose sizes that more closely resemble size of sheet goods so as to produce less waste.

  6. Spend some time researching sustainable material options. There are lots of options out there, so this will be an ongoing adventure. Start with one material and build your references slowly as greening can be an ongoing process as opposed to a major overhaul. This will help you incorporate sustainability into your current working process & schedule.

  7. Try to incorporate used materials into your designs. Look through shop stock materials, search groups like Artcube and Craig’s List for materials, shop at places like Build-It-Green and Film Biz Recycling. Include a visit to Materials-for-the-Arts if you are working with a not-for-profit organization. (see the BGA’s website for all of these resources and more or you can “Ask the BGA” @

  8. Recycle your set. When your show is struck you can post it on the Artcube list serve for others to claim. Or donate directly to Film Biz Recycling. Other productions, particularly off-off Broadway shows with limited budgets, could really use these materials. Reuse encourages creativity. The BGA can help you facilitate this.

  9. Reach out to others. Sustainability in theatrical design is a new & ongoing area of exploration. We can all learn from each other. Share your experiences with friends, colleagues and students. Twitter, Facebook and blogs are a great way to share greening tips.

  10. Join the Broadway Green Alliance! You will learn new ways you can improve your greening efforts. Attend workshops and meet others who have a passion for theater and a passion for the environment!


The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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