Behind the Scenes: Journal of Theatre Production Practice

Document Type



Contemporary ecological concerns bring with them an opportunity for innovation; to

rethink traditional practices and forge new approaches that not only strive for

sustainability, but also push intellectual and creative boundaries. Despite this, current

notions of sustainability are still dominated by suppositions of creative limitations; the

perception that sustainability and theatre do not mix is a common assumption. This

paper explores the possibilities of sustainable production practices within the

parameters of conventional theatre. Using a practice-led research project, Helicopter

(Melbourne Theatre Company, 2012), the investigation examines the designer’s

journey of integrating creative processes with eco-efficiency, aesthetics,

organisational considerations and director’s expectations. In this context, the

designer considers how sustainable strategies might drive the creative process and

aesthetics, given altered constraints, requirements and opportunities. While there are

challenges and barriers to implementing sustainable approaches in conventional

theatre productions, the paper reveals how thinking about environmental

considerations creates exciting new avenues for exploration—including new ways of

thinking about how scenographies are designed, constructed and distributed for a

sustainable paradigm.