Case Study: Chichester Festival Theatre Green Guidance for Stage Management

08 March, 2024

Greenbook Guidance for Stage Management.   Chichester Festival Theatre

Working together, theatre-makers of all kinds - freelancers and venues, companies and producers - have collaborated on the Theatre Green Book. Based on widely agreed values and strategies, the result is a shared standard for making work, as a community, in the reality of the climate crisis. 

The Theatre Greenbook 2022 CFT is committed to reaching carbon net zero by 2030, and we take the climate crisis seriously. The way we make our shows, and how we advocate climate consciousness to others, showing best practice, is critical to us. Going forward all CFT shows aspire to reach the green book basic standard and CFT is part of an early adopter and trialling group of the new version 2 of the Greenbook, due for public release in July 2024. You may know all about the Greenbook, or this might be your first experience, but the advice below is intended to help and support you as well as ask you to support us in our collective goals.

The fundamental goal of the Greenbook is to turn a linear model; where things are bought from new, are used and then thrown away; into a circular model where we start with reused materials and go on to reuse them again. In so doing we massively reduce our environmental impact and in turn reduce our carbon impact. At Greenbook baseline standard the aim is that 50% of the physical production comes from a reused or recycled source, and 65% is reused after (or recycled where not possible). We need to keep an account of the physical elements of the show in order measure progress and learn how to become more circular, and we do that by item weights using a group of calculators on a spreadsheet. We will have shown you this in the prep week- but the good news is that the new version 2 of the calculator is really easy to use! We don’t want to make this onerous- but it will be an extra thing for everyone involved to contribute to… saving the planet isn’t easy! There is a whole suite of additional things an SM team can do to help make positive change on a day by day and show by show basis and these will all add up to a significant improvement on CO2 use so we need your help! We appreciate this is very much a collaborative process and not all decisions rest with you, but your understanding, guidance and influence will be crucial. 

Below is a list in no particular order: 

1. Remote working. Travel is hugely damaging to the environment. We are all used to hybrid meetings now of course and we advocate for them where possible- although we know sometimes there are additional reasons to be at a meeting in person! CFT will equip you with a Meeting Owl and computer plus instructions - please try to make sure you use this as we know it gives everyone the best experience on both sides of the screen - and that means we don’t end up with frustrated team members feeling they have to travel as the video call alternative is no good! 

2. Good scheduling really helps - please try to encourage call structures that minimise how many people have to travel to and from rehearsals and fittings. Wherever possible fittings at the rehearsal rooms are preferable as it normally means just a designer and supervisor travelling not a whole company. 

3. Travel. Please familiarise yourselves in the prep week with the most sustainable travel options and advocate for those with the cast, creative teams and visitors throughout. If you are asked about parking see if you can discourage it by highlighting the ease of public transport or bike options? 

4. Deliveries. If you need to order items on-line, please try to save them up in a basket and purchase them in bulk so they arrive together. If you can, please research your suppliers and try and get things that are ethically made, from sustainable sources and as local as possibleand pick it up if you can. If you can’t, then see if you can get them sent to a locker ideally as that saves additional travel. CFT also have a van and driver who you will meet on your prep week ( He will run a trip or 2 a week to do combined drop offs and collections to all our rehearsals - please try to plan ahead and foresee requirements so he can avoid single trips, he may be able to do extra pickups enroute. 

5. Props. There is a growing tendency for actual props to be requested for the start of rehearsals. We know that not many of them actually are actuals in the end! Please help us to encourage the use of our huge collection of props in the store first and foremost (and help encourage them to be the actual actuals!). New props, particularly newly bought, carry a huge CO2 footprint, the Greenbook is all about circular models of reuse and recycle. 

6. Timing. Late decisions always cost more to the environment. They often mean a last-minute purchase from a bulk website where the origins of an item are harder to trace and a lastminute single trip delivery. Please ask us for help when you have challenges such as- “I can’t decide that until we do it”, or “until I am in the space”- we may be able to help with encouraging a decision so that we aren’t having to fix things last minute. The more time there is to research the more likely we can find a better supplier and a better carbon footprint for “delivery”. 

7. Rehearsal Room. The venue probably has its own policies- please ask them about these and what the segregated waste opportunities are… and then set up appropriate waste bins to match in the rehearsal rooms. We will supply you with washable cups - we ask that you don’t use single use receptacles. Please also ask the company to bring their own water bottles (and hot drink cups if going out for hot drinks) and signpost where they can get fresh water from. CFT doesn’t advocate for the use of plastic bottled water and asks you don’t purchase it. Just as you probably do at home, please turn off lights, heating and devices when done with them. Don’t rely on the venue to do it as they may only do that some time after you have actually finished. 

8. Materials. There are some materials that just are bad! So we would like to try and avoid them. Consider paper packaging or packing blankets and avoid bubble wrap if you can. If you can’t please keep it after a delivery for the return. Don’t throw it away. Consider also not taping it so it isn’t destroyed when unwrapping it. We know PVC tape is the most resilient mark out tape- but wherever possible please use more eco solutions like masking tape or cloth tapes. Polystyrene, plastics and toxic paints and cleaning materials should be avoided and there are many eco options now- you will know what to recognise, we are sure! 

9. At CFT. Once into onstage rehearsals, routines and behaviours will be governed by a lot of people’s needs so we know you may have less influence over schedules. However once in to the run we would ask you to consider whether you really need lighting or sound for understudy calls, warmup and fight calls. Anything we can do to save energy is valuable. And scheduling those processes with a thought to the pre-show technical checks so those are not pushed really early is important too- equipment left on standby uses a lot of energy still. 

Please also help us to save energy by encouraging cast to layer up- heating or cooling costs a lot of energy to run for such big rooms and we would love to keep those systems off for as long as possible. Theatre is all about collaboration, and we want to work with you to make great theatre sustainably. If you have any ideas, comments or things you think we have missed in this document please don’t hesitate to email

Thank you for your help on this journey to carbon net zero, we can do this together! 

The climate crisis is an immediate threat to our safety, equity and prosperity. We urgently need to limit carbon emissions, reduce biodiversity damage; and in doing so, achieve a just transiƟon where people, places and communiƟes are supported and vulnerable groups protected. Theatre cannot solve the climate crisis alone, but it can play an urgent role in addressing it. The Theatre Greenbook 2022