Theatres must make a difference
"Theatres have to matter to the world we live in and make a difference." That was what Erica Whyman, Chief Executive of Northern Stage told delegates to the Theatre Trust Conference last week which, as well as bringing up to date developments in environmental sustainability, this year was considering much wider sustainability issues.
A packed theatre, with delegates from overseas as well as from all over Britain, heard some pretty inspirational speeches from the speakers which focused its attention on how we are going to deliver sustainable theatres both now and in the future. But this was not just a matter of fine words; it was a day for sharing hard won experience and practical information.
Ably chaired by journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed, contributors ranged from CEOs and artistic directors of theatre companies from the head of Britain's largest theatre group to the chairman of an amateur theatre in the middle of a redevelopment project, the Project Manager at the National Theatre to a community worker. Others among the platform speakers were a leading architect, a consulting engineer, a cultural academics, a local government cultural head, providing a spectrum of the theatre world from the Creative Producer for the Cultural Olympiad and the Chair of Arts Council England to blogger Jake Orr, founder and editor of A YoungerTheatre.com.
Those were just the platform voices but those attending included representatives responsible for the running of theatres and theatre groups large and small from the Royal Opera House to the Little Angel, makers and suppliers of theatre equipment and a whole phalanx of theatre consultants. It is not by accident that the conference was timed to take place the day before the Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Show where so much technology would be on display.