Freelancers make theatre work

The Climate Crisis

If theatre is to be part of the most vital conversation humanity faces, then it has to change its practice.

“The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.” -6th IPCC report on climate change

Planet Earth

Freelancers Make Theatre Work are adding our voices to the campaign for urgent action on the climate emergency – in recognition that it is one of the biggest and most pressing challenges facing humanity today.

Theatre brings people together to create a physical living thing on stage, a thing that has a lifespan of weeks, possibly months and occasionally years. We require people to travel to see this thing, and we require buildings and spaces in which this engagement occurs.

All parts of this process cause harm via emissions and resource use. As an industry we need to acknowledge this, and find ways to respond to it which reduce the harm caused. We also need to acknowledge that even at a reduced rate, harm will still be caused, and we need to find ways to support activities and organisations that are replenishing nature and drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere.

We need to do this not (purely) out of benevolence or because it is the morally right thing to do, we also need to do this to be an integral part of shifting normal from consumptive to regenerative. For to fail to do so risks famine and displacement on large scale, food shortages and ever more intense extreme weather events, all of which will ultimately undermine the balance upon which society, and consequently theatre exists.

The transformation required needs to be top down and bottom up. It requires that those who lead organisations fully understand the crisis, and the necessity and urgency to transform that which we think of as normal.

FMTW will work collaboratively and proactively towards this goal, and to ensure that our own practices support and prioritise it.

Our asks, commitments & acknowledgements

12 asks of the industry and ourselves to help us on our journey. From sharing knowledge with each other to offering freelancer training.


Links to free, subsidised and paid for Carbon Literacy Training for those in culture and the arts.

The Theatre Green Book

The Green Book is an initiative by the whole of theatre – working with sustainability experts Buro Happold – to work more sustainably. It sets standards for making productions sustainably, for making theatre buildings sustainable, and for improving operations like catering and front of house.

Useful websites and networks

Websites, networks, organisations and innitiatives already created by cultural freelancers and theatres.

Studies & reports

Studies and reports on theatre/the arts and the climate crisis.

Reading list & podcasts

A collection of books and podcasts around climate change and the arts.


Campaigns freelancers can support, take part in and be aware of.