APDGreen Conversations – Winter 2023

In this Quarter’s newsletter, Imogen Ross shares links and information about what is happening in the enviro- sphere, for both stage and screen peeps. Sustainable Theatres Australia and Sustainable Screens Australia have all recently launched new projects that promote environmental awareness and encourage designers, producers and makers to focus on reducing their carbon emissions on projects. IF Magazine has dedicated the July issue to environmental issues on screen, Iphigenia Taxopoulou’s new book profiles the Sydney Theatre Company and the CSPA invites you to join in on a monthly late night meet-up with international theatre makers.


Sustainable Theatres Australia (STA) is the brainchild of Clemence Williams, who brought together a small group of theatre makers united by the mission to make the Australian theatre industry more sustainable. Founded on the cusp of the pandemic, they soon realised that the rupture and changes created by COVID were perfect for framing sustainability as an opportunity for the future that can be planned and budgeted now.

Since the outset, the focus  of STA has been on making sustainability accessible as a mindset and framework across the independent and mainstage sectors. This started with introductory Green Guides, released in November 2021 and recently updated, with workshops and training sessions in Melbourne.

These guides target independent artists and are designed to kickstart their theatrical sustainability journey. Each of the guides target a different stage or department in the production process and are full of tips, provocations and frameworks to encourage thinking around reducing a project’s environmental footprint. The guides are ever-growing and the STA’s team work hard to collect and consolidate industry-relevant knowledge so they remain easily accessible. They have compiled lists of nationwide eco-friendly suppliers, sustainable disposal sites and sustainable material options on their website

“Optimism is one of STA’s core values. We choose to believe that change can happen. Every recycled set, every cable tie that isn’t used, every tram ride to rehearsal – every single one of these is a sustainable action. Our best piece of advice is to try out what you can and see what works for you. It all counts.”

Sustainability in practice is an opportunity and a starting point for creativity.


Sustainable Screens Australia [SSA] launched itself at the Sydney Film Festival in June, introduced their new CEO Maree Cochrane as its inaugural executive director and will begin offering a series of Carbon Calculation and Sustainability on Set training seminars from July onwards.

“With our ability to reach and influence huge numbers of people, our film industry is uniquely placed to take a leadership role in promoting solutions to the climate crisis.”

SSA was founded on a vision to change the climate of screen production in Australia through collaboration, education, tools and resources, with the goal of transforming the industry into one which integrates sustainability into everyday practices. As Australia commits to a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, the screen industry is expected to reduce its environmental impact along with all other industries.

According to SSA the local screen production industry contributes over $5.34b in value-add to the economy and over 31,000 full-time equivalent jobs, but SSA believes creating screen content should not be at the expense of the planet. With the Australian screen industry contributing a large ecological footprint, primarily through electricity and fuel consumption that lead to greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change, SSA is committed to addressing this by:

  • creating an online hub for best practice checklists and toolkits,
  • industry specific carbon literacy training,
  • a vendor/services database,
  • bespoke carbon footprint calculator, and
  • social impact partnerships to support our local screen industry in establishing a standardised approach to sustainable production.

SSA’s goal is to create and embed standardised practices that bring Australia in line with frameworks that have been widely adopted in North America, the UK, and Europe. They are adapting the pre-existing model developed by We Are Albert in the UK to fast track Australia’s commitment. Ultimately, SSA’s goal is to create a behavioural shift across the industry towards more environmentally responsible practices that align with science-based targets. Click here for more information. To read further please see Sandy George’s article in IF magazine about STA’s partner deal with UK’s albert.


HEADS UP – IF Magazine is publishing a standalone digital magazine in July, written by Sandy George, that explores where the Australian film and television industry is at on sustainability. It will be a comprehensive overview of what is happening in our industry at the moment in the environmental arena. Check here to find the link as it was not yet published at the time of our newsletter release.

Just in case you missed it the first time around – Environmental Manager Sarah Tosone wrote a detailed introduction to reducing carbon on set as the COVID19 pandemic receded. These lessons learnt from overseas are still relevant to us today as we move towards slowing the climate crisis.


Every month, Dr. Ian Garrett, Toronto-based lighting designer and director of  The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts  hosts a 90min meet-up online for theatre and film designers around the world who are interested in discussing all things sustainable. It is a rather late night chat for those of us based in the southern hemisphere but is a great way to meet other designers and performance-makers who are interested in the changing world.

The next meet-up will be Monday July 10 from Toronto (12:00am Tuesday July 11 AEST). To receive the zoom link invitation every month, contact Ian directly at ian@sustainablepractice.org and ask to go on the list.


Ausfilm has just released two amazingly detailed Career Guides for people wanting to work in film/tv/animation/VFX. A huge amount of work has been done on these – they are a useful resource in terms of educating people about roles within those industries and writing job descriptions for different departments.

The guides can be accessed here as downloadable PDFs. Ausfilm encourages designers and art departments  to use and share – a great way to help mum and dad understand what exactly it is that you do on set!


English/Greek writer Iphigenia Taxopoulou has recently published Sustainable Theatre: Theory, Context, Practice. (Link to book here).

Spanning almost three decades, her well-researched book approaches the topic of sustainable thinking and theatre practice from multiple angles and through an international perspective. It records how climate and environmental concerns have been expressed in cultural policy, arts leadership and organizational ethics; in the greening of infrastructure and daily operations; in the individual and institutional practice of sustainable theatre-making; in performing arts education; and in touring practices and international collaboration. It investigates, too, how the climate crisis influences theatre as a story-teller – on stage and beyond.

Iphigenia has used the National Theatre (NT) in London and Sydney Theatre Company (STC), as her two main case studies and the study features many theatre and performing arts organizations from across the globe, including Malthouse Theatre, Queensland Theatre Company, Arts House Melbourne (Australia); Toxic Dreams (Austria); Kaaitheater (Belgium); TOHU Cultural Centre, Cirque du Soleil (Canada); Opéra de Lyon, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France); Staatsshauspiel Dresden (Germany); Onassis Stegi (Greece); Teatre Lliure (Spain); Göteborg Opera (Sweden); Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (Switzerland); Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, HOME Manchester, Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic, Matthew Bourne New Adventures, Glyndebourne Opera, Arcola Theatre (UK); American Repertory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Theatre, Portland Center Stage (USA).


You know that post-production feeling when you have worked for months and then suddenly it is all over? You need to make room for new projects, but what to do with all the stuff?

SHIFTIT  is a digital marketplace for exchanging props, scenography, costumes, materials, technical equipment and instruments – from the entire cultural field. Things that are either used or take up valuable storage space. It was launched for use in the Nordic Countries on the 21st March 2023 and is a trial system to set up digital lending libraries of sets, costumes and props..

At SHIFTIT you can do two things:

  • Search for buy and collect items you need for your next production
  • Register, list, sell or give-way items you no longer need

These can be materials, scenography, technical equipment, instruments, costumes, props and more.

We are watching it closely to see how it goes as we have much to gain from learning how to do something like this here in Australia.

Is there anyone in the APDG membership who might like to help get this started?


If you are interested in adding your professional design voice and suggestions to an APDG Sustainability Protocols group or promoting green initiatives in future Green Conversations, please send an email to Imogen Ross or Rebecca Whittington to offer assistance, suggest topics of research and point us towards members who are doing great things in the field of sustainable design.