Planting and Growing Ideas

Ecostage is for everyone in the performing arts sector and beyond. Wherever you are on your sustainability journey. A go-to place for a fair, flourishing, greener future.

Ecostage is a grassroots initiative and website that provides a framework, tools and resources for embedding practice-based ecological thinking at all stages of personal practice and scales of production. It is part of a broader movement towards social and environmental justice in the performing arts sector that recognizes accountability for the Global North’s impact on the climate crisis.

At the heart of Ecostage are the 7 Intersecting Guiding Principles and the Ecostage Pledge. The Ecostage website offers inspirational case studies, resources, a glossary and a reading list, as well as hosting an industry-wide network of international practitioners. The Ecostage team offers online and in-person workshops, talks and consultancies to explore and apply the principles in practice.

Ecostage answers a need for shared principles and joint objectives that can be applied from the outset by the whole production team. It highlights the importance of taking collective action to radically reposition the performing arts sector for our ongoing sustainable journey.

Mission Statement

Whether or not we are making work about climate change or participating in plays that have an environmental theme or social agenda, our work is still situated in the rapidly transforming age of the Anthropocene. The stories that we tell – through the making and presentation of performance – are part of this overarching ecological narrative. Constructing a paradigm that acknowledges and engages with the more-than-human world is an exciting prospect.

Drawing on ecology, models of sustainability, well-being practices, imagination, indigenous wisdom, permaculture, ecoscenography and social activism, Ecostage aims to:

  • Embed ecological thinking at the heart of creative practice,  inspire and deliver change, and foster ecological regeneration.
  • Cultivate a holistic approach to making work sustainably in the performing arts sector that recognizes the interconnectivity between creativity, sustainability, social justice and wellbeing 
  • Nurture and demystify ecological thinking, which acknowledges the profound connections within and between living systems, and provides meaningful, holistic context for our creative work.
  • Empower people to engage with advocacy and activism, demonstrating how accessible it can be to take small steps and longer leaps, whilst holding the bigger vision.
  • Encourage practical application of Ecostage’s 7 Intersecting Guiding Principles as a framework for a greener practice, to be used as part of production planning, from inception to legacy. 
  • Promote the power of the Ecostage Pledge to generate collective momentum.
  • Facilitate a place for exchange and shared learning through resources, case studies and workshops.
  • Build the Ecostagers community to foster mutual support, collective activism and creative collaboration.
  • Challenge current measures of success to include, not only the aesthetic outcome and audience numbers but the way in which work is created – from calculating our footprint to incorporating the ‘cradle to cradle’ model and beyond. Importantly,  Sustainable productions are not about one aesthetic, they can look many ways.

Power of pledging

Anyone can pledge to Ecostage’s 7 Intersecting Guiding Principles and help generate the necessary collective momentum for sector-wide transformation. Once you’ve pledged you become an Ecostager and can have a profile on our community page. You will also receive the Ecostage Pledge Stamp for use on websites, documentation and correspondence as a declaration of intent and to encourage others to do the same. Ecostage Pledgers are also invited to write case studies, contributing to a growing online archive of inspiring and informative stories. 

Take action. Help to build a movement of ecologically aware performance makers.

Meet the Team

Andrea Carr Profile
Andrea Carr

Ecostage Pledge (2015) and Ecostage (2020) co-founder and director

Mona Kastell Profile
Mona Kastell

Ecostage (2020) co-founder and director

Paul Burgess Profile
Paul Burgess

Ecostage (2020) co-founder and director

Ruth Stringer Profile
Ruth Stringer

Ecostage (2020) co-founder and director

Hannah Myers

Associate

Laura Sedgwick Profile
Laura Sedgwick

Associate

Serena Treppiedi

Associate

The Ecostage Journey

Ecostage is built on the pioneering 2015 Ecostage Pledge, co-founded by Tanja Beer, Andrea Carr and Alice Hoult at a time when talking about sustainable practice within the performing arts sector was still fairly radical. 

In 2020 Ecostage was re-envisioned to address the accelerating climate crisis. It has developed into a wide-ranging initiative, playing a significant role in global conversations about ecological thinking in the performing arts. It continues to evolve as we learn together.

Ecostage launched at COP26 People’s Summit for Climate Justice, hosted by CCA in Glasgow, November 2021 alongside many other activists working tenaciously towards system change.

Growing Ecostage  

One thing led to another; in 2019 Andrea and Mona reconnected over their passion for the relaunch of Ecostage. Inspired by this, Andrea facilitated a session on Future Thinking in Design at Prague Quadrennial, hosted by The Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD), which introduced Ecostage’s ethos to international practitioners. Spurred on by concerns that the performing arts sector was slow in responding to the climate crisis, an animated, designer-led roundtable discussion on sustainability took place in 2020 at SBTD’s V&A Staging Places exhibition. This provided the catalyst for a number of new collaborations and initiatives. Ecostage and its offer of shared objectives was a central part of that discussion; Ruth and Paul joined the team. Later, Hannah Myers, Laura Sedgwick and Serena Treppiedi joined to assist with developing the website content and social media.

Acknowledgements and Supporters   

Ecostage is grateful to our advisory group of peer reviewers, which included independent performing arts practitioners, who gave feedback on the 7 Intersecting Guiding Principles, access and usability of the site. 

Special thanks to: the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) Sustainability Group (including Hamish Muir, Simon Daw, Alison Neighbour and Blue Bradfield), Tanja Beer (Ecoscenography), Andrew Evans (ASE consulting), David Evans (National Theatre Wales), Saras Feijo (Playfulness Festival), Ian Garret (CSPA), Stuart Graham, Archana Kumar and Jono Chant Stevens.

Ecostage is run by volunteers; the website development was made possible thanks to the generous donations to our crowdfunding campaign. The website is designed by Stefano Terranova, who worked with the team to create its lively presence and accessible reach. 

Our site is hosted by Kualo and powered by 100% green energy. In line with our ethos, all marketing material has been produced using FSC paper or biodegradable seed paper, which can be planted and will grow.