Royal Exchange Theatre
Situated in the heart of Manchester, the Royal Exchange Theatre contains some of the most unusual and attractive performance and public space in the North West producing a varied programme of plays as well as hosting concerts and other special events. Situated in a former Cotton Exchange the Royal Exchange Theatre is an award-winning theatre space - a seven-sided steel and glass module that squats within the Great Hall of the old Manchester cotton trading Exchange. It is a theatre in the round where the stage area is surrounded on all sides and above by seating for 760 people, making it the largest theatre in the round in Britain.
Staff across all departments are engaged in implementing the Royal Exchange Theatre’s sustainability strategy. The Royal Exchange Theatre is finding ways to talk about its sustainability work with its staff, patrons and funders, and has recently created a short film to help communicate this as well as discussing it’s environmental work in programmes, posters and ultimately it’s website. They are also exploring electronic programmes for tablet computers.
All dressing room lighting have been changed to low energy CFL lamps, 30% of the dichroic lights in the foyer are now LEDs, as are all of the Display Boards and more efficient low energy light bulbs are being used throughout the offices. The remaining 70% front of house dichoric lamps will be changed to LED in summer 2012, and funding to change the foyer lighting from the present high energy tungsten lights to LED has been successful and works have been completed in May 2012 to a substantial part of this areas. LED lighting solutions are also being explored and used for some performances.
The main sustainability challenge is the reducing the use of over 90kW of power required to light the Great Hall for over 15 hours a day. We are exploring replacing the remaining tungsten units with low energy ones, as well as sensor operated lighting which will allow less frequently used areas to save on lighting spend.
The Royal Exchange Theatre uses Set-Exchange.co.uk and Freecycle to dispose of unwanted items on a project by project basis, and locally recycling offcuts for Royal Exchange since 2008. Timber used for set construction and design is now 90% FSC sourced. Metal, wood, cardboard, glass, aluminium and plastic is recycled. Water waste has been reduced by changing cisterns in the public toilets to a smaller size and putting gel packs in cisterns to reduce water waste by a further 1 litre per flush.
These impacts are being monitored using the IG Tools to gather intelligence on where improvements could be made, and to track CO2e reductions.
The theatre’s caterers of choice, BaxterStorey, are an exemplary green caterer, operating an environmental management system accredited to ISO14001. They source 70% of their food locally and organic where possible, use wood and biodegradable disposable cutlery and run their vans on waste vegetable biodiesel. We are now composting from all our catering areas in the organisation.
Next steps for Royal Exchange Theatre include cutting energy use by 20% overnight by effectively timing the heating and cooling system, and we are exploring installing a voltage optimiser. Office energy use will be reduced by replacing old, less efficient computer screens, using time switches and using Endo cubes in our refrigeration. Bar fridges and other equipment are now on timer switches.
The Royal Exchange Theatre is exploring the replacement of elements of its plant with ones that are considerably more energy efficient. There are ambitions to create a local, green production-focussed group to take forward some of the above production-related initiatives and encourage other organisations and freelance practitioners to contribute to the process.
The Royal Exchange is a member of The Manchester Cultural Leaders’ Environmental Forum, which grew out of a desire to promote and share good environmental practice, and the recognition that good practice can be significantly enabled by working collaboratively. Read more >