To be eco-friendly, or not to be eco-friendly?

Ken Livingstone has announced that he is working with London's theatres to help them reduce their carbon emissions and become more energy efficient.

London’s mayor said the theatres, like every other part of life in the capital, had a part to play in the fight against climate change.

Organisations including the London office of Arts Council England, the Theatres Trust, Ambassador Theatre Group, the Independent Theatre Council and the actors’ union Equity will work with Mr Livingstone to draw up a Climate Change Action Plan for London Theatre.

The first stage of work will involve theatres undergoing an energy audit to establish the carbon footprint of the sector.

Assessments will then be made to decide the most appropriate energy efficiency measures to reduce theatres’ carbon emissions, such as energy-efficient lighting, improving insulation, and encouraging theatre-goers to travel to shows using public transport.

Mr Livingstone said: “Tackling climate change doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying ourselves, but it does mean that every sector of London life has to consider its impact on global warming.

“It is extremely encouraging to see the key players from across the theatre sector showing real leadership and commitment to reduce emissions and tackle climate change by coming together to produce the first ever Climate Change Action Plan for London Theatre, so that theatres across the capital can go green.”

Sara Weir, executive director of the London office of Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to be working with the mayor’s office and our other partners to help theatres across the capital take this forward.”

Actor and WWF ambassador Alistair McGowan, who is also involved in the project, said: “Every actor wants their name in lights. It’s great to think those lights will be energy efficient.

“I’m thrilled by this news and hope other industries – high profile or not – will follow suit.”

Kate Martin

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