It's been a busy couple of weeks for us, what with an extremely successful couple of days at the ABTT Theatre Show and prior to that the ITEAC Conference where we were global sponsors.

ABTT, the editorial board and all those who worked hard to achieve a great conference should be highly commended. With themes ranging from virtual reality to the relationship between performer and audience and how well facilitated that is by the design of theatre space (highlighted by Mark Rylance), the conference made for a stimulating and inspirational few days, with the backdrop of the IET building in Savoy place adding a large splash of grandeur and prestige to the occasion. The focus was primarily on what we do as professionals to ensure effective spaces for performance and what trends are emerging into the near future. Unusual’s objective was to facilitate a conversation on how we do what we do…

How Circular is the theatre industry? was well received, stimulating conversation on resource scarcity, the importance of education of the key principles for the next generation; and a general acceptance of the value in exploring the concept further. The talk was headed by Dr Joanna Boehnert (from Ecolabs) who outlined the concept of the Anthropocene (the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment), highlighting how vital it is for humanity to transition towards a more ecosystem ‘restorative’ approach to business (described as the Ecocene). Her talk focused on the importance of the role of design in society, how it functions to construct and reproduce social relations and economic activity and why it is necessary for us to adopt a more ‘ecologically literate’ approach.

This talk provided a macro overview of ‘where we are’ leading to a more micro analysis of how we might transform our economic activities with the framework of the circular economy (CE). This talk included examples of how the CE’s key principles of systems thinking, designing out waste and regenerating social, financial and natural capital can be deployed (and in some inspiring instances are being deployed) throughout the theatre industry.

Additional speakers included Emily Egleton (design engineer from Unusual Rigging Ltd) and David Evans (Head of Production at the National Theatre Wales). The session was moderated by Tom Harper (Unusual) and held in the Haslett room on the morning of Tuesday the 5th June.

A further workshop has been scheduled for September, to be hosted by SOLT (The society of London Theatres) and run by various industry professionals affiliated with the Sustainability in Production Alliance ( This workshop will dive deeper into the economic benefits of transitioning to a circular economy by providing specific examples currently practiced by a number of organisations in the Live production Industry.

We'd also like to thank everyone who came to see us on our stand at the ABTT Theatre Show - as always it is a fantastic show for us - an opportunity to catch up with old faces, get acquainted with new ones and showcase the variety of work that we do.

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