Green Touring

What we're doing about our environmental impact

It's not just our narrowboat that's green...

We have had an environmental conscience since we started touring 52 years ago.

We are keen to ensure the impact that we make upon the environment is as small as it can be.

Green Touring

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are we now?

Our level of environmental ambition

Our unique way of touring means we are confident in being one of the most environmentally friendly companies in the country.
We have maintained this proud claim for the past 52 years and our ongoing ambition is to continue to keep this up and where we can, go further.

Audiences

We bring theatre to you. Our average audience journey is under 13 miles.
We tour to rural venues - meaning audience travel is much lower than 'main house' theatre visits.

Our main impacts

1. Sets props and costumes – although we are re-using or recycling at 65%

2. Road travel – although we have two hour rule for van journeys in a modern economical van that carries all cast and crew

3. Printed marketing materials – essential but heavy on paper usage. We audit every year how much we need, and try to order the right level – even if this means that we may spend slightly more money. We’ve reduced our print by 17% over the last five years from 38,000 pieces in 2017 to 31,550 in 2023

4. Audience travel – we mainly travel to venues in villages and small towns where people can get to venues by foot, public transport or very short vehicle journeys

5. LED lighting – our lighting rig (4 rechargeable LED lamps) is charged on the boat when the boat is running, and in the office when on our road tour. This means we require no power at all at shows

Environmental impact of our office

Our office has as low an impact on the environment as possible.
• We have LED ceiling lighting

• We use recycled packaging for mailing outgoing product sales

• We successfully lobbied our landlords to install recycling facilities in the building, for us, other tenants and users. A green bin was installed last year

• When paper documents are no longer required we shred them and they are recycled by a local chicken owner for livestock bedding

Solar panels and Inverter power

As the engine is moving the boat to get us to our venues it is also charging the batteries that we use for both personal use, (charging phones, laptops, fridge, boat lights), and our lighting rig which we use to light our shows for evening performances. This means a dual use for our boat engine (propulsion and battery charging) and no mains power is necessary.

Our solar panels on the boat roof extend this battery life when we're not moving, meaning we don't need to run our engine when moored up.

Our key commitments?

Reuse and recycle set props and costumes

When mounting our productions we reuse props and costumes wherever possible. We also borrow and hire from other theatre companies before making new or buying.
We are also committed to make our collection of props and costumes available to any other local companies when possible. We often reuse parts of sets from other years and do our best to locally source materials wherever possible. Our set builder is only 14 miles away.

Travel and accommodation

When touring by van, we try to be strategic when booking our venues keeping venues close together to avoid unnecessary travel. Our impact is minimal when we tour by boat in that it is both our accomodation and means of travel in the summer. Our modern van uses Adblue which reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide. The engine is efficient which mean we get optimum effiency.
Accommodation for actors can be costly and lots of nights in different hotels and B&Bs has a huge impact on the environment in terms of mileage, linen washing and peripherals.

Our home is our narrowboat so the actors often sleep very close to the venue. When we tour by van we plan our venues to be within a two hour drive so that we can get back to our accomodation each night.

We rarely use hotels and B&Bs. and during the 2023 season we didn’t use them at all.

Reduce printed marketing materials and increase digital marketing

We do our best to ensure that we don’t over-order our marketing materials. Each year we assess how much we need and refine our orders accordingly.
We have encouraged many of our friends and followers to receive information from us digitally and we are working on increasing our digital marketing and decreasing our paper marketing. We will endeavor to reduce our print list and increase our digital marketing list even further.

Next steps 2024-25

 

Object/targets Actions Deadline KPI Notes
Accommodation Less than 5% of shows require a hotel or B&B Nov 2024 Less than 6 shows a year require a hotel or B&B Ambitious but manageable
Van mileage Less than 5% of shows exceed a 2hr radius of base

(Boat /HQ)

Nov 2024 6 shows are more than a 2hrs drive from base Achievable as we book within these parameters
Marketing waste – Print Less than 10% of printed materials require recycling Nov 2024 Less than 10% of our printed materials will remain in Nov 2024 By reducing initial print run at start of 2024 season we hope this will reduce waste even further – our new printers are very competitive on price so it should not have a huge spend associated with this
Boat bio diesel To be explore the use of bio diesel on our boat Ongoing Move to biodiesel, if viable Site visit took place in Jan 2024. After lengthy discussions, it was clear that right now, biodiesel is not practical for us. Delivery is currently tanker only, often with a minimum delivery volume. Boatyards don’t reliably stock and mixing red and bio diesel is not viewed well by our boat supervisors. We will keep this under reivew
Set, costume and props Less than 80% of set, costume and props are no new June 2024 20% reused from stock, second hand or borrowed Production Manager and Producer worked on this 20% figure – again, ambitious, but achievable

Touring theatre can often have a large environmental impact, due to transporting of the set and travel of the actors and crew.  The very nature of our touring means we have to be resourceful and this in turn makes us sustainable. Our varied performance schedule has its environmental challenges, but smart booking avoids any journey that is longer than necessary.

 

Travelling by narrowboat means we are rarely, if ever, in hotels or B&Bs, our actors stay in digs in Marsden or at home if they are local, when rehearsing and touring in the north. Minimal set, props and costume and no reliance on electricity not only makes our style of theatre creative, it reduces our impact on the environment.

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