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Theatre Royal Plymouth significantly exceeds eco aims


Press Contact: Natalie Thomas
04 March 2024

Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP) has been named among Arts Council England (ACE) recipients to ‘significantly exceed’ aims of reducing their energy-related greenhouse gas and carbon emissions since 2018.

TRP was grouped together under an ACE Spotlight initiative, which included institutions with potential to improve. Other establishments included Northern Stage, the Young Vic Company and Lyric Theatre Hammersmith Limited, all of which were commended for their efforts to consistently reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and surpass their green goals.

The data was revealed in ACE’s annual environmental report, compiled in association with Julie’s Bicycle, which supports the arts sector to prioritise its net zero commitments.

TRP consistently reviews its carbon position and, since 2018, has upgraded much of its lighting from tungsten to LED and upgraded its SMART systems to monitor usage of equipment, reduce power wastage and identify ineffective equipment due for change.

Upgrading to LED lighting throughout the workshop at TR2, office space and corridors as well as installing sensor lights to escape corridors and passageways has reduced the theatre’s overall annual electrical costs by 50%. Plans are now being drafted to install LED lighting in the theatre’s main Lyric auditorium which will further drive down the carbon impact and enhance its current lighting experience.

TRP is currently progressing with the installation of 338 (425 Watt) solar panels at its TR2 Production and Learning Centre in Cattedown. The £150K investment is testament to the theatre’s commitment to driving down emissions and safeguarding TR2 for the future. Once complete, the panels will allow for electrical vehicle charging points and potential battery storage.

TRP is also working with Plymouth County Council’s District Heat Exchange to drive down gas usage. The theatre has fitted new and improved gas loggers which allow for close monitoring of the system. For its water usage, TRP utilises converted tank water in many areas and is looking at realistic methods of recycling rainwater for toilet flushing in the future.

John Spreadbridge, Head of Estates at Theatre Royal Plymouth, said: “We take our environmental position and responsibilities very seriously at TRP and are focused on making change a reality not just a conversational topic. We wish to make a positive and consistent impact on our carbon position and will continue to strive for improvement. The actions we have taken and are continuing to take, will have an impact for future generations.”

The ACE report also incorporated the results of the Beyond Carbon survey, which interviewed 562 National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) – of which 94% said they included environmental sustainability in their core business strategies, compared to 78% in 2018. 81% of respondents had prioritised eliminating single-use plastic, up from 64% in the previous report and overall, it was found that ACE-funded organisations had reduced energy-related carbon emissions by 36% since 2018.

The data showed that overall, average emissions reported across the entire portfolio was down by 50% since 2012, when reporting began.

ACE Chief Executive Darren Henley said: “It’s heartening to see how the organisations that make up our 2018-23 National Portfolio have addressed the climate and biodiversity crises. They have reduced their energy use and carbon emissions, as well as sharing inspiring and positive stories through their Beyond Carbon reporting. This is reflected in the success of the Spotlight programme. Over the last five years, those taking part in Spotlight have reduced their use of electricity by almost a fifth (19%) and gas by more than a third (36%). 

“As we applaud these successes, it is also a moment to look to the future – recognising the need for urgency in meeting the challenges we face. 

“Through their commitment to environmental responsibility, our national portfolio organisations can help us all learn more about the impact our actions have on our planet, improve our understanding of how changes in behaviour can reduce those impacts, and spur us on to do more.”

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