Media Release: Theatre honoured with top award for putting environmental issues centre stage

THE Arcola Theatre has become the first theatre in the UK to achieve a gold award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

Founded in 2000 the Arcola, Hackney, East London is regarded as one of the leading arts venues in the UK. Now, it has become a leading light in the campaign to reduce London’s carbon emissions by 60 per cent before 2025 by investing in series of innovations and and an ongoing project to educate visitors on sustainability.

“We are trying to become the world’s first carbon neutral theatre.” said Dr Ben Todd, executive director with the Arcola Theatre in London.

“We are in a very old dilapidated building so we’ve done lots of work in house. That’s involved changing our suppliers, turning things off and putting in some fairly advanced technology for demonstrations.

“We are in fact the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered theatre and we’ve done some shows where we’ve run purely on hydrogen. Which in itself isn’t directly green but it helps to persuade lighting designers that they need to seriously cut the amount of lighting they use.

“We’ve managed to put on a theatre show here on five kilowatts which is about 70 per cent less than you would normally use.”

GTBS members are assessed on 145 separate measures by qualified advisers before being awarded a bronze, silver or gold grading, making it one of the most scrupulous green accreditation schemes in the world.

To achieve a gold grading from GTBS, members have to demonstrate a number of practical measures which have improved energy savings and promoted sustainability.

“The gold award for the Arcola is a strong catalyst in greening North East London, including Hackney and surrounding districts,” said Jon Proctor, technical director of the Perth-based GTBS.

“The most progressive areas for the business relate to how they communicate the green message to the community. The theatre hosts monthly green Sundays which are popular and very well-designed.

“The Arcola staff have taken a lead on Green tourism in the area having been an excellent advocate of the scheme through presentations and demonstrations and they continue to drive sustainable development through a mix of highly innovative projects such as LED lighting and hydrogen fuel cells as well as simpler products such as a vegetarian restaurant.

“There are still areas for further improvement but the business has tackled all the issues which can be tackled directly and remains an inspiration to the community and the whole industry. As the first theatre in the UK to gain a gold award, we hope further promotions will follow.”


Notes to Editors:

For further information on the GTBS scheme please visit

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Contact: Green Tourism Business Scheme
Phone: 01738 632162