Introducing the 'STAGES Doughnut Workshop': A Holistic Sustainability Tool for Theatres Worldwide

The new tool combines social and environmental factors and brings a theatre’s entire staff together to work towards sustainable transformation.

In a move to drive sustainability within the theatre industry, the STAGES – Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Environmental Shift project today releases the transformative ‘STAGES Doughnut Workshop’

This innovative tool was devised by STAGES partner Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and the Competence Centre for Sustainability at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) in the context of Sustainable theatre?, an artistic project developed with British theatre director Katie Mitchell and French choreographer Jerôme Bel. It offers a deep and fundamentally participatory approach to developing and managing sustainable theatres. 

As the Workshop is inspired by economist Kate Raworth’s groundbreaking concept of ‘Doughnut Economics’, it is focused on both environmental and social aspects of sustainability. 

Over the course of 10-12 participatory sessions, conducted across several months, theatre staff from all departments are invited to auto-analyse their organisation’s current work on issues ranging from local biodiversity and waste to staff wellbeing, diversity and accessibility – and envision the most useful steps to address these concerns.

Access the STAGES Doughnut Workshop 

Free to access

Once users agree to the relevant terms and conditions, any theatre around the world can access and use the STAGES Doughnut Workshop, which consists of: 

  • Documents with scientific content about ecology 
  • An agenda, overview, and all the editable materials to use in each of the participatory workshop sessions 
  • Information on credits for the STAGES team, where to share the results of the process and feedback on how to improve it 

Also included are video links to the trailers for the STAGES project and ‘how to’ recordings that guide users throughout the STAGES Doughnut Workshop.  

Driving change worldwide

The STAGES Doughnut Workshop has been tested and developed within the STAGES project. Twelve partner theatres in Europe and Asia have already implemented the method, generating inspiring outcomes that showcase the potential for positive change. 

These include collaborations with local transport companies to secure discounted tickets for theatre staff and audiences on public transport, commitments to change heating systems and install beehives on theatre rooftops to support biodiversity, and even imaginative well-being initiatives like a signature theatre beer, vegan dishes at the theatre restaurant and regular head massages for employees. 

Speaking about the STAGES Doughnut Workshop, Serge Rangoni, Artistic Director and General Manager of Theatre de Liège, lead partner on the STAGES project, said:

“In a world where sustainability has never been more crucial, the STAGES Doughnut Workshop provides an inspiring roadmap for theatres to bring their team together and build a sustainable organisation. We’re excited to share the Workshop method with theatres around the world as they drive towards sustainable change in their own buildings, productions and organisations.” 

The projects managers, Caroline Barneaud and Tristan Pannatier from Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and Darious Ghavami from Competence Centre for Sustainability at the University of Lausanne:

“The STAGES Doughnut Workshop invites us to think into the Doughnut by addressing a double question and considering a double level: how can our activities contribute to people’s well-living while staying within the planetary boundaries? How can they do so both in a local and global perspective?  The STAGES Doughnut Workshop, in connection with the artistic project Sustainable theatre?, was a wonderful opportunity for the whole team of Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne to gather around these questions and stimulate everyone’s imagination, out-of-the-box thinking and action.” 

Heidi Wiley, Executive Director of ETC, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to share the STAGES Doughnut Workshop with all theatres. It’s a well-proven methodology to bring your theatre staff together, build consensus, and create a strong green team for implementing changes. The STAGES Doughnut Workshop is fun, participatory, and transformative, and complements well other sustainable activity in your organisations.” 

For more information and to access the STAGES Doughnut Workshop please visit the STAGES website.

For all press-related inquiries and further information, please contact:
Christy Romer, Communication Manager, European Theatre Convention (ETC)

About STAGES – Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Environmental Shift

STAGES (Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Environmental Shift) is an ambitious theatre experiment to challenge how the cultural sector interacts with the concept of sustainability. It is supported with co-funding from the European Union.

Fourteen influential theatre organisations, including a leading European theatre network, a theatre partner from Asia and partners in academia, have joined together with director Katie Mitchell and choreographer Jérôme Bel – two artists that are renowned for embedding sustainability in their work – to test radical responses to the biggest challenges posed by the climate crisis. These are delivered via three project strands:

SUSTAINABLE PERFORMANCES: RE-STAGINGS: Partners have developed an innovative coproduction system to tour urgent new performances on the climate crisis around Europe and as afield far as Taiwan -- without moving any people or items. The STAGES shows will be recreated entirely with local resources (a local director, local actors, local sets and even locally generated electricity). 

SUSTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION: The STAGES Doughnut Protocol, developed by Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and the Competence Center in Sustainability of the UNIL, guides partners to identify key areas for sustainable change in their organisations. This work is based on the holistic understanding of sustainability in the Doughnut Economics concept and therefore assesses buildings, waste, and wider themes such as audience travel and work-life balance.

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: An annual series of participatory Forum events and workshops bring together artists, scientists and audiences to dream of ‘desirable futures’. 

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