Planting Ideas

Welcome to Ecostage: a go-to place for practical guidelines, ecological values and the exchange of knowledge helping place ecological thinking at the heart of creative practice for a fair, flourishing greener future in the performing arts.

What is Ecostage?

Ecostage is a grassroots initiative for the performing arts that embeds ecological thinking at the centre of the creative process, from start to finish.

Ecostage provides an exciting model for new ways of working and creating. It highlights the importance of taking united action, rather than disconnected steps, and looks to support the performing arts sector in radically repositioning itself for the sustainable journey ahead.

Ecostage believes in a holistic sustainability where everything is interconnected. It acknowledges that there can be no environmental justice without social justice by advocating Wellbeing, Nature Connection and Social Justice as interconnected values. It is about sustainability in the performing arts and the relationship between ourselves, others and Nature.

Ecostage is a multi-layered tool to help bring ecological thinking to your practice with practical, cohesive steps towards ecological regeneration. At its heart is a pledge: a public act of commitment to a set of ecological principles. It encompasses a set of guiding principles to apply to your production, an online pledge with a downloadable logo to use on documentation as a declaration of intent, and a library of inspirational resources, including case studies incorporating diverse and global practices. These not only provide individuals and organizations with an intellectual and practical  framework for a greener practice but also help create the necessary collective momentum for sector-wide transformation.

Material for the site has been drawn from the diverse experiences of the team in creative practice, research and academia, as well as from wider ecological movements, and the work of a great many practitioners and thinkers.

We believe that knowledge should be free so the website content is freely available to read online, contributing to the creative commons.

A place for exchange, shared learning and mutual support.

Who is it for?

Everyone in the performing arts sector and beyond. All scales. All stages.

Ecostage is for all individuals, all sizes of company, all types of production needs and stages of career, wherever you are in your sustainability journey.

The site presents the diversity of its work in an accessible form, including case studies from people working all over the world in the creative sector. It welcomes and is enriched by a broad range of backgrounds, races and cultures, ages, genders and orientations, and mindsets. We all learn from each other.

Why is Ecostage needed?

Ecostage answers a need for shared principles and joint objectives to use from the outset amongst the whole production team. The creative industry contributes to a country’s economy and creates links between communities, and it is distressing to acknowledge that the climate crisis undermines this by widening the inequality gap between the Global North/South due to inaction.

In our research survey conducted in 2020, we found many individuals who did not know how to start implementing changes and feltl that there is a lack of unified thinking across the sector, with a need for “a clear value statement”, “public recognition of your values” and “practical knowledge from case studies exchange”.

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.

Ecostage is about commitment and values. With a conscious set of shared principles we have a greater capacity to take action for ecological regeneration, helping us to facilitate and develop more sustainable practices for ourselves, groups, organizations and communities. This, we believe, is one of the fundamental steps in building a movement of ecologically aware performance makers.

Why take a pledge?

By taking the pledge and adding your or your company’s name to the Ecostage site, your values become visible as part of the global Ecostage community. After taking the pledge, you can use the downloadable Ecostage pledge stamp on your documentation, e.g. website, email signature, drawings and social media. By using the stamp you automatically help raise awareness of ecologically conscious practices.

Ecostage is proud to be part of a broader movement towards sustainable practice and social justice in the performing arts sector.

Exploring Ecostage in practice

Ecostage will be offering online and in-person workshops and consultancies to explore the principles and help put them into practice tailoring them to production needs.

Meet the Team

Andrea Carr Profile
Andrea Carr

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

The Ecostage Journey

Ecostage was created by a core team of UK based eco-designers with a joint passion for enabling transformation: Andrea Carr, Mona Kastell, Paul Burgess and Ruth Stringer. It is built on Ecostage Pledge, which was originally co-founded in 2015 by eco-scenographers Tanja Beer, Andrea Carr and Alice Hoult, who set out to open up conversations about sustainability in the performing arts sector. Ecostage has since been re-envisioned substantially to address the climate emergencies, and has grown into a comprehensive online tool.

In 2019, Andrea and Mona began discussions about their shared passion for the relaunch of Ecostage. This led to a session on Future Thinking in Design at Prague Quadrennial, facilitated by Andrea and hosted by The Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD), which introduced Ecostage ethos to international practitioners. In 2020, at SBTDs’s V&A Staging Places exhibition, an animated roundtable discussion on sustainability led by designers, provided the catalyst for a number of new initiatives. Ecostage was a big part of that discussion; Ruth and Paul joined the team as a result. Later, Hannah Myers and Laura Sedgwick, joined to assist with developing the website content and social media.

The team is based around the UK, in England, Scotland and Wales, and is connected with communities and networks at local and national scales, as well participating in, instigating and facilitating conversations on the global sustainability scene.

Ecostage is run by volunteers; the website development was made possible thanks to the generous donations to the crowdfunding campaign. The website is designed by Stefano Terranova who worked with the team to create the website’s colour tone look and accessible reach.

Ecostage’s guiding principles have been peer reviewed by an advisory group including independent performing arts practitioners, sustainability groups and organisations. Thank you to Tanja Beer (Ecoscenography), Andrew Evans (ASE consulting), David Evans (National Theatre Wales), Saras Feijo (Playfulness Festival), Ian Garret (CSPA), Stuart Graham, Archana Kumar, Hamish Muir, and Jono Chant Stevens.

Ecostage launched at COP26 People’s Summit for Climate Justice in November 2021 alongside many other activists working tenaciously towards system change, especially recognizing accountability from the Global North impact in the climate crises.

Now live, Ecostage becomes the people’s resource for a fair and sustainable performing arts industry, constantly evolving as we learn together.

Ecostage supports: