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Welcome Back | We’re looking Greener than ever...

By youngviclondon 2 Jun 2021

Exterior of Young Vic with a ladder against the wall and workmen

This World Environment Day, we’re delighted to share with you an update on some of the fantastic green work taking place over the past year at the Young Vic, forming part of our mission to be as environmentally responsible as possible.  

We are the incredibly proud recipients of a 5* rating from Julie’s Bicycle (a charity working across the creative industries to nurture sustainable practice). But don’t think we are resting on our laurels: year on year, we hope to collectively reduce our impact and protect the future of our planet, as well as encouraging art that generates environmental conversation amongst theatre makers and audiences alike.  

One person instrumental to our improvements this year has been George Mills, pictured here with our sustainable LED signage which has been popping up around our building. George and our brilliant Facilities team have been reviewing, reporting and enacting change to ensure that as we reopen, we are kinder to our environment and continually looking ahead to what more we can be doing.  

One of the biggest changes in the past year has been switching our internal lighting across our spaces over to LED lightbulbs (and believe us when we say that’s A LOT of lights!). These mighty bulbs, considered to be one of the greenest forms of lighting, have a longer lifespan, waste less energy, and are non-toxic. 

George Mills:

“Our very real ambition is to ensure everything lighting our theatre is green. Crucially, this project doesn’t just reduce our impact on the environment, it also pays for itself within six months. WIN-WIN!"

A man standing in front of a LED neon light saying Box Office

For over ten years, our friends at IHS Markit have supported the Young Vic – and in particular, our Funded Ticket Scheme, which has enabled thousands of local people to experience theatre for the first time and begin a lifelong journey with us. This year, we were the grateful recipients of an additional grant from them to fund our sustainability work. This support has enabled us to implement these critical changes to our building ensuring we are more energy-efficient as we reopen. 

Environmental stewardship is a core principle at IHS Markit and includes efforts to minimise their environmental impact and identify areas for improvement in their operations and communities. We’re proud to collaborate with a business that both values the arts and strives for leadership and innovation in supporting a healthy planet. 

So without further ado, here’s some of our highlights from the last year...

🌱 ICYMI, we were over the moon to receive a 5* rating from Julie’s Bicycle for our continued commitment to reducing our carbon footprint 

🌱 Sustainability is written into our business plan, with our improvements and changes evident across our theatre; from using more ethical supplies and reducing our waste, to encouraging all departments to foster new ways of working sustainably 

🌱 Our energy audit has helped us to identify where we can make changes to dramatically cut our usage. One of these recent changes has been a major overhaul of our Building Management Software. We are now using intelligent modes to ensure we conserve energy wherever we can, particularly in our heating and cooling systems.  

🌱 We were proud to support London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Street Space for London scheme in December 2020, which saw The Cut (the road we live on) become a car-free zone, making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Great for the environment AND healthier for our audiences.  

 Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan outside the Young Vic
L-R: Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan outside the Young Vic

 🌱 Our Directors Program engaged a network of artists in conversations around sustainability, holding workshops and discussions that explore how to make work that engages with the climate crisis. This ranges from the art itself and the ways the work is made, right through to how it can connect audiences to the wider dialogue.  

Workshops over the past year have included: ‘The Crisis on Stage: How do we engage with the climate and ecological emergency in our work’; ‘Constant Growth: Upscaling & Sustainability – is bigger always better?’ and an Artist/Scientist speed networking event. 

🌱 The Cut Bar & Restaurant did some incredible work during lockdown providing daily free hot meals for people who are homeless in partnership with Webber Street Hostel and an anonymous donor. Now reopen with more outdoor seating, their fresh, seasonable dishes made from organic, free-range and sustainable sources are once again in high demand.  

🌱 As we reopen our building, our cross-organisational sustainability group will be back at full force, as will our Gardening Club (led by the wonderfully green-fingered Sophie in our Finance team, thanks Sophie!). And our annual staff recycling workshop will resume – because knowledge is power, right?