Theatre Green Book PRODUCTIONS Toolkit – Designing and Making


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:

– Floors

– Flats

– 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:

Pursued By Bear, UK

Scenery Salvage Prophire, Buckinghamshire

Set Exchange, UK

Re-Set Scenery, Scotland

Set-A-Side Storage Recycling, UK

Prophire North, Manchester

Propworks, UK


CAN Arts, Glasgow

Set Swap Cycle Facebook

Stockyard Prophire, London

Ready Steady Recycle, UK

Library of Things

Inventory Tools

Theatre Inventory Database


Open Workshop Facility

Open Workshop, Edinburgh

Art Dept Prop Houses Noticeboard Facebook

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

The Restart Project

First Mile


Ki Books

Children’s S.C.R.A.P. Project – any non-hazardous materials that can be used in art and craft

Community Wood Recycling 

Community RePaint 

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