Theatre Green Book One Toolkit – Designing and Making
14. Reuse and Recycling
Reuse and Recycling within Theatre
• Theatre and performance already has a strong hire & reuse model for technical and other equipment, as well as for costumes and some props.
• Sets and scenery are more challenging, because every set is bespoke, and set design involves Intellectual Property rights.
• The following generic set components should always be reclaimed and reused:
– Generic architectural components such as generic doors, windows, stairs.
Resources for Reuse and Recycling within Theatre
Some materials and components can be reused and recycled within theatre:
• Theatre stores are an obvious resource.
• Networks of theatre-makers (production managers, set builders, store managers, costume supervisors etc) have a wealth of expertise about productions and materials being used across towns and cities, and may be able to set up connections between shows.
• Theatre and performance already has a strong hire model for technical and other equipment, and a developing infrastructure of organisations for reuse and recycling, that include:
open workshop facility: https://www.edinburghopenworkshop.co.uk
Set sSwap Cycle : https://www.facebook.com/groups/731154647000790/
Props List : https://thepropslist.co.uk/
Stockyard : https://www.prophire-backdrophire.com/
Ready Steady Recycle : https://www.readysetrecycle.com/
Art Dept Prop Houses Noticeboard : https://www.facebook.com/groups/1107096229369709
Open Reuse and Recycling
However, it is hard to establish effective reuse and recycling if networks are limited to a small industry like theatre. In addition, the aim for materials should be not only for a single reuse, but to have a number of lives:
• A piece of set might get reused as it is.
• It might be modified & reduced in size.
• It might be modified again by a smaller company, or someone outside theatre.
• It might be broken into constituent good-sized, good-quality materials and reused for something completely different.
• Eventually, it might be so battered and small that the only use for it is to be chipped – but it will have had a long, useful life first.
Wider reuse and recycling resources include:
• Online materials sharing – networks like Freecycle, GumTree, local Facebook groups etc
• Second-hand shops and antique fairs stock and take a wide range of materials
• Donated materials available through local charities, schools and events networks
The following may also give useful information:
WEEE Recycling Information: www.hse.gov.uk/waste/waste-electrical.htm
The Restart Project: therestartproject.org
Home – Envirowaste (envirowastemanagement.com)
OPAL – general ‘stuff’ – tarpaulin, pallets, bricks, tyres etc
Children’s S.C.R.A.P. Project – any non-hazardous materials that can be used in art and craft
Community Wood Recycling – wood
Community RePaint – paint
Making for Reuse and Recycling
• Reuse and Recycling are much easier if everything on a stage is designed and made in such a way that it can be easily disassembled for reuse