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:

– 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: leadmin/user_upload/tx_tevprojects/library/file_1518691260.pdf

open workshop facility:

Set sSwap Cycle :

Props List :

Stockyard :

Ready Steady Recycle :

Art Dept Prop Houses Noticeboard :


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:

Home – Envirowaste (

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