Theatre Green Book One Toolkit – Wigs Hair and Makeup (WHAM)


27. Wigs Hair and Makeup


    1. Sustainability ethos and ambitions to be embedded into all creative and technical processes. 
      1. Foreground and focus on the rich contribution of our specialists
      2. Innovate in collaboration with other specialisms
    2. Reduce physical waste 
    3. Reduce equipment energy consumption
    4. Reduce/ eliminate wasteful practices
    5. Build on sustainability successes incrementally and share these to industry via ABTT WHAM 


    1. Departments to implement a dedicated WHAM Production Sustainability Champion, and as a moving role if possible. Person must be included in the wider production effort at each stage of the creative process.
    2. Education and awareness of sustainability, use of carbon calculators and their importance facilitated and time for this specifically scheduled in as standard. 
    3. Use digital systems and displays for communications and information sharing where possible if a carbon saving can be ensured. (Invest in developing digital skillsets.)
    4. Production schedules and changes to be approved by WHAM with a sustainability mindset as primary influence.
    5. Use of eco-friendly stationery 
    6. Sustainability measures and performance reviews/ statistics to be included in show bibles 

DESIGN (Creation)

    1. WHAM to be included in the early conversations and decisions of the creative process in order to have real and meaningful impact.
    2. Whilst our work allows us to be immediately responsive to design changes in many ways, designers need to collaborate effectively and consider all making changes with caution. In most cases we can advise on what changes would be possible without impacting sustainability. Our work can remain fluid and is live throughout the lifecycle of a production.
    3. Designers to start their creative process by collaborating with WHAM on what is in stock and how/if it could be utilised creatively for their vision.


    1. Choose natural products where possible. The hierarchy of needs for our product choices can be driven by many elements including speed, strength, texture, colour, effectiveness, hygiene, and compatibility
    2. Ethical considerations also concern animal cruelty-free choices, especially for cosmetics and hair products.
    3. Opt for professional make-up brands with refillable palletes and refillable products over fashion make-up brands as they often place more emphasis on trendy branding and have more packaging for presentation and marketability purposes
    4. Buy bulk and de-pot into biodegradable or environmentally friendly reusable containers where possible. 
    5. Most make-up products are consumables and consideration for use-by-date due to skin and hygiene concerns must be included. Often ‘just-in-time’ shopping, rather than bulk buying stock is preferable for freshness. 
    6. Use products made with recyclable/biodegradable or without unnecessary packaging.
    7. Choose suppliers who use recycled packaging and ethical postal services where possible. (Encourage industry partners/suppliers to change their practices if they are not already doing so.)
    8. When considering sponsorships, investigate and consider the sponsor’s sustainability credits and their products’ performance in regards to this. 
    9. Collaborate with other departments for reuse/exchange of materials; could be facilitated via a digital space where offers and requests can be actively communicated internally. (For example, old cotton t-shirts from the costume department may be ideal for use as rag in the workshops, or small material offcuts from the props store may be useful for the creation of headdresses.)
    10. A well-balanced stock of wigs and hair pieces is a truly sustainable asset, as it can be infinitely reused, restyled, and repaired. 
    11. Digital wigs and hair stock cataloguing systems should be kept and constantly updated to maximise use of items already in existence.
    12. Global wig hire/exchange systems could be useful and do get talked about within the Opera Europa forum for example. However, this can present additional workload and logistics challenges and is not necessarily the go to solution for sustainability. 
    13. For co-productions it would always be useful to be included in the producers’ conversations around the hire of wigs and related contractual agreements. 
    14. Wigs and make-up work may need to be adapted in terms of material choices when a production is filmed or broadcast. Early conversations with the WHAM professionals are essential in addressing sustainability factors and efficiencies.
    15. For touring or performances in external venues, liaise with producers to negotiate use of already present kit and equipment to be accessible for use, so as to reduce use of transport. 

Material principles:

  • Cruelty free, vegan
  • Made with eco-friendly natural ingredients
  • Biodegradable, non-toxic
  • Locally made
  • Locally shopped
  • Hand made
  • No unnecessary (recyclable) packaging for transit or presentation
  • Refillable


    1. Efficiency and effectiveness in our practice go a long way in reducing waste
    2. Waste separation/ disposal for consumables in all workshop and production settings (for example including quick change booths on stage)
    3. Hazardous waste minimised and disposed of responsibly
    4. Local Exhaust Ventilation to be filtration based instead of disposal to atmosphere system.
    5. Prosthetics and special effects such as bald caps are not yet replaceable with eco-friendly options; this is an area that is transitioning towards a digital revolution that can contribute towards the transformation of how work is constructed and made. It is important that WHAM colleagues are given access and support in being at the forefront of digital innovations, as it is not part of our core skillsets.
    6. Where possible choose eco-friendly construction and materials and keep abreast of developments across the industry.
    7. Suitable well-built shelving and wood, metal, or cardboard as material for storage systems instead of plastics which can easily break and add to departmental waste. (When designing new spaces, choose quality over quantity and do so with longevity in mind.)
    8. Flight cases and make-up bags to be well built and purchased with longevity in mind; avoid plastic if possible.
    9. Develop a clear and easily followed in-house framework of practice that can be passed on to freelance crew when they are hired in. 
    10. Electrical equipment to be on timers and sensors where possible, as well as new kit purchases to consider energy efficiency.
    11. Strive to maintain and repair equipment, fittings and furniture where feasible. 
    12. If PAT testing shows a fail, seek help from electrical department or equipment makers to repair as identified.)
    13. Liaise with other technical departments on disposal of e-waste



ABTT WHAM Linktree

With thanks to Anette Ollerearnshaw and the ABTT Wigs, Hair and Makeup Group