ETC TGB: This Tool Can Help You Motivate Colleagues to Change

Národní divadlo - National Theatre Prague

The National Theatre of Prague is big. Very big. It’s four huge venues, all of which are historically protected. There are more than 1000 staff. And as with most publicly funded theatres, we rely on the government for additional funding to make any changes, and those processes require patience. On top of this, alongside my artistic partner Lukáš Trpišovský, I am the Artistic Director of the drama department, but we have separate directors for Ballet and Opera.

It’s therefore very complicated to even start to think about sustainability. We often need third parties to help us take big steps forwards.

Inspiration is key

We are lucky that we have had help before. In the early 2000s, our technical director started monitoring all the energy used on site and found out a way to transfer the heat from the audience to elsewhere across the building. He fought for wide-ranging infrastructure changes, which have continued with actions like putting solar panels across the rooves. This is just a small part
of the solution but is a challenge in a historic building.

We learned how important it is to inspire people if you want them to change. It’s rare to receive the answer “yes, go ahead.” There are always questions, concerns that the activities will take money away from something more important… You just have to keep going and working.

ETC TGB is the inspiration

When we started with the ETC Theatre Green Book (ETC TGB), we knew we wanted to make more changes to productions and operations. But we knew we would have to inspire everyone around us from the bottom up – including colleagues in ballet, opera, and workshops.

The ETC TGB itself has become our third-party source of inspiration. It gives you the structure. Normally you would be afraid of where to start, and it gives you the little points for productions or operations and then you can focus on the bigger projects. It makes you think about the things you would never normally consider.

It’s been an intense year, but I can say that it’s now working. We have established a green committee for the whole theatre, and we’re discussing sustainability across the theatre as a whole. Because of our previous work, the buildings are at ‘Intermediate’ level in the ETC TGB.

So our major advice would be: don’t be scared. There’s always something you can do. There are many people in your organisation who want to be involved in doing things greener. Find someone who is very enthusiastic and who can inspire people, and work with them and this sustainable tool. When people in your theatre start to find out that sustainable transformation is possible, they start to be proud too.

Vision for 2030

It’s hard to be truly confident that we can fulfil everything by 2030. But we already do some things that are great and can be proud of. I also think it’s not just the act of reaching the 2030 date that is important – it is important to try.

By Martin Kukučka, Co-Artistic Director, Drama at Národní divadlo - National Theatre Prague/Czech Republic

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