Norwich Theatre Royal
Norwich Theatre Royal is a vibrant 1300 seat receiving theatre and registered charity, serving their local community for 250 years. The theatre provides ticketing and marketing services to local arts organisations, manages the Norwich Playhouse on behalf of the Playhouse Trust and was a founding partner of The Garage, an innovative organisation that provides arts-based training for young people. They also run an extensive education programme and by measuring their social impact they have demonstrated their commitment to social sustainability. Since the venue’s modernisation in 2007 they have been making strides towards reducing their environmental impact too.
MEASUREMENT, ACTION AND IMPROVEMENT
Norwich Theatre Royal have been monitoring their energy for several years, producing two energy efficiency surveys of their own, and in June 2011 they extended their commitment by developing an environmental policy and creating a formal Environmental Champion role. The appointed Environmental Champion tracks the venue’s progress, provides reports to senior management, actively encourages recycling, and is putting together an action plan for future improvements. Norwich Theatre Royal has been certified 2 star Industry Green in their first assessment year.
Norwich Theatre Royal has had an overall reduction in total emissions per performance per seat by 4% from 2009/10 and 2010/11, and the largest contributor to this achievement has been a reduction of 10% in energy-related emissions during the same time. This reduction in energy emissions can be put down to the venue’s natural ventilation, very low heating needs in public areas, and an improved timer system for heating and cooling in the main auditorium. Norwich Theatre Royal has also installed movement sensors for lighting in remote parts of the building, increased the amounts of lighting states available to the front of house areas and uses low energy bulbs in a number of areas.
The theatre runs a comprehensive recycling programme, with 60% of their waste being recycled. As part of infrastructural improvements, any old equipment replaced such as the auditorium seats were recycled. They use only recycled paper and printing is monitored. Other operational efforts in place are situated in the bars and restaurants - local food producers are used as much as possible, as well as a local brewery with high ecological standards, and all tea and coffee is Fairtrade.
From 2009/10 to 2010/11 ticket sales have risen from 369,054 to 376,750, a success given that they managed to reduce emissions during the same period. Given the theatre’s rural location, however, a big challenge is audience travel. Norwich Theatre Royal has good relationships with the local transport companies, working with the venue’s large but sparsely populated catchment area to ensure a safe, efficient and reliable service.
TOWARDS THE FUTURE
Following the results of their energy efficiency surveys the venue aims to improve the boiler room, reduce heat loss in the foyer and continue to reduce energy consumption across the building. They are also aiming to replace all light bulbs with low energy alternatives, introduce composting for food waste and purchase rechargeable batteries for radio mics.
Helen Tully from Norwich Theatre Royal tells us what they got out of the Industry Green report process.
"We initially started the the IG process so we could record our current environmental impact and have a base to improve on but we also found the process helped us to celebrate what we already do and highlighted areas we can work on in the future. We were delighted to be awarded a 2 star for our efforts so far and with the support from Julies Bicycle feel confident we can carry on minimising the impact we have on the environment."