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Ben Simon as Robin, Siobhan Cha Cha as Red, and Nisha Anil as Nana in Little Red Riding Hood. Robin is stood at the front wearing a blue corduroy jacket and is singing to the audience whilst holding a violin. Red is kneeling on a bed and smiling whilst looking out to the audience. She is wearing light blue dungarees and a red t-shirt. Nana is in the background speaking to the audience on the side. She is wearing a blue trousers and a lilac tabard.

Celebrating One Year of Climate Emergency Commitment

Members of Team Rep are gathered in front of The Rep building holding a blue 'climate declares emergency' sign. They are all smiling.

A Remarkable Journey Towards Sustainability

Last June, The Rep declared climate emergency. Led by Executive Producer Chloe Naldrett, our initial declaration was followed by a week of programming that explored and discussed the role the arts play in the climate crisis with artists, organisations, and audiences. Now, one year on, we proudly reflect on the extraordinary strides it we have made to reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainable choices: in our building, in our productions, and in increased awareness of how to reduce the environmental harm in our work.

What is the Theatre Green Book?

The Theatre Green Book was created in the face of the climate emergency as a roadmap to create innovative and exciting theatre, while reducing the industry’s impact on the environment.

The Theatre Green Book is practical and applicable to the real-life challenges all theatres face in sourcing materials, considering energy use, and thinking about the future life of productions once the final curtain has fallen.


Where we're at...

We’re  thrilled to announce that our production of Withnail and I, written by Bruce Robinson and directed by outgoing Artistic Director Sean Foley, has easily surpassed the Theatre Green Book‘s Baseline Standard, with 69% of the materials used in the show having had a previous life – an incredible achievement for a production of this magnitude. Notably, the Props and Furniture department achieved 94% of Green Book Standard, with almost every item sourced second-hand.

Withnail and I production pictures. Adonis Siddique (Marwood/And I) and Robert Sheehan (Withnail) are driving a jaguar in the rain. They have joyous expressions.

Photography by Manuel Harlan

Siobhan Cha Cha as Red in Little Red Riding Hood. Red is standing on a bed and holding an umbrella open above her head. Leaves are cascading down around her and she is looking delighted. She is wearing light blue dungarees and a red t-shirt.

Photography by Graeme Braidwood

The dedication to sustainability also extends beyond The House and onto our smaller stages. In our 2023 Christmas production of Little Red Riding Hood, 74.5% of the materials were reused, and 79% of materials have been ensured a future life, surpassing baseline goals of 50% previous life and 65% future life. There were over 100 umbrellas featured in the production: each one sourced second hand and now rehomed. These achievements are especially important for family shows, as the children of today are the audiences of tomorrow.

Suzy Somerville, Director of Production at The Rep, said:

I am so incredibly proud of what our team has achieved by getting Withnail and I above and beyond our expectations of achieving Green Book status. We have learned many valuable lessons along the way, which we will take forward to our future productions. Our commitment to The Green Book has enforced change on both a large and small scale; from our suppliers making changes to their practices, to the way we wash our paintbrushes – every decision makes a difference.”

Around the building

Our sustainability drive has also extended beyond the stage, leading to the creation of a building-wide Green Initiative. The introduction of heating bands has reduced the building’s energy usage by 5%, and a strategic investment of £24k in LED lighting has resulted in the installation of LEDs throughout almost the entire building. The Rep’s Environmental Working Group meets every six weeks to discuss other ways to improve the organisation’s sustainability.

Outcomes of these meetings have included: eco-friendly washing liquids and cleaning products being introduced building-wide; environmental considerations incorporated into employment contracts; and the season brochure printers balancing the equivalent of 3,224kg of CO2 (aiding the World Land Trust in protecting and restoring 616m2 of threatened tropical habitat).

Photograph of the front of The Rep at night.

Photography by Kris Askey

Backstage at The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. There is a tech desk visible in the foreground and in the background the cast can be seen on stage in the Professor's house.

Photography by Kris Askey

Additionally, £20k of funding from the Theatres Trust Sustainability Grant has been secured for the installation of destratification fans in The House, further enhancing our building’s eco-friendliness. Since December 2023, The Rep has been a member of Sustainability West Midlands and has joined over 100 organisations in making the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge.

2024 and beyond

As preparations are underway for our upcoming Young Rep Festival, Love + Rebellion, which has the aim to achieve Intermediate Green Book Standard, the lessons learnt from both Withnail and I and Little Red Riding Hood will be carried forward, furthering our commitment to sustainability. The journey over the past year demonstrates that meaningful change is possible through dedication and collaboration.