London's Royal Court to hit net-zero carbon emissions in 2020

Posted on 25 October 2019

At a time when the dastardly Donald Trump wishes to pull the US from the Paris Climate Accord while the burning of Notre Dame gets more media coverage than the burning of the Amazon Rainforest, it can understandably be difficult to remain optimistic about the future of the climate crisis. But as Greta Thunberg continues to bring attention to the anthropogenic apocalypse, so does the West End and the London theatre scene. After Nimax Theatre Group set the "greenprint" for climate action last year thanks to their Last Straw campaign in which they said no to the use of plastic straws, more and more theatres are stepping up to the plate to take action against climate change and total ecological collapse.

The Royal Court Theatre commits to net-zero carbon emissions next year

London's Royal Court Theatre recently announced that they have officially committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions within the next 12 months or so. The Off-West End theatre venue said that it would be reviewing its entire operation, right down to the nitty-gritty details from the what materials the theatre uses and the type of waste it produces to its air quality, working hours, and transportation in an effort to slash carbon emissions to net-zero in 2020.

The green transformation will start in the Site, which is the Royal Court Theatre's third performance space used for experimental pieces. The venue's goal is to turn the site into a net-zero emissions space by March 2020. This month of action will compensate for another climate emergency programme that was planned at the same time. The organisation hopes that the transition made during the Open Court: Climate Emergency campaign will extend across the entire theatre.

Artistic Director of the Royal Court Vicky Featherstone had this to say, "Lucy [Davies, Executive Producer] had already given us the challenge of turning the Site into a net-zero space for March and then asked the obvious question: why aren’t we doing it across the whole building and what are we waiting for? Let’s just get on with it. We will make mistakes, we will move fast and change as the technology and information changes. We will use the time in March to take stock, to hear from people we do not normally hear from in the cultural discussion and to work our new structures and ways of functioning to enable this to happen.

Vicky Featherstone later added that all visitors to the Royal Court in March will help contribute to the organisation's new commitment to tackling climate change, hopefully setting an example for the West End.

The Royal Court Theatre in London was one of the first performing arts organisations to declare a climate change emergency earlier this year. Lucy Davies argued that the venue should play a larger role in the urgency of solving climate change.

Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre also announced this month that they would be terminating their long-standing cooperation and sponsorship deals with BP and Shell after receiving pressure from climate change activists.

The National Theatre has also recently committed to becoming a carbon-neutral venue.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

What's on at the future carbon-neutral Royal Court Theatre?

The Royal Court Theatre is currently showing On Bear Ridge, which stars Harry Potter actor Rhys Ifans and Black Mirror actress Rakie Ayola. Be sure to catch On Bear Ridge before it closes on 23 November 2019.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.