Royal Court Theatre Sustainability Policy

The Royal Court is the Writers’ Theatre. It is the leading force in world theatre for energetically cultivating writers – undiscovered, new and established. Through the writers, the Royal Court is at the forefront of creating restless, alert, provocative theatre about now, inspiring audiences and influencing future writers. Through the writers, the Royal Court strives to constantly reinvent the theatre’s ecology, creating theatre for everyone.

We invite and enable conversation and debate, allowing writers and their ideas to reach and resonate beyond the stage and the public to share in the thinking.

Over 200,000 people visit the Royal Court each year and many thousands more see our work elsewhere through transfers to the West End and New York, national and international tours, residencies across London and site specific work.

Policy Framework 2018-22

As a leader in the arts and creative and cultural sectors, we are aware of our leadership and impact on the environment and recognise the need to be responsible for this impact. Executive Producer Lucy Davies is a Creative Climate Leader, and as part of LTC we have been part of a long-term, London-wide carbon and energy reduction programme that has seen a collective reduction of 15% over five years to 2016.

In 2018-22 we have re-articulated our policy and scope through the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Of the 17 goals our work touches 12, and we feel this gives us a global framework for examining and placing our activity and impact.

The relevant UN sustainability goals:

  • Good Health and Wellbeing
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Partnership for the Goals

(The missing but far from irrelevant five are: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Clean Water and Sanitation, Life Below Water, and Life on Land).

The areas of our work that we feel are a consideration of the goals, and through which our action plan will grow are as follows:

Good Health and Wellbeing

  •  Staff and freelance artists.

Quality Education

  • Young Court, direct school partnerships and curriculum support.

Gender Equality

  • Ongoing success on stage and off, monitoring.

Affordable and Clean Energy

  • Energy supplier, generating our own?

Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Staff and freelance artists, massive challenge for us in financial context; imagination and innovation needed here. Is our financial sustainability linked to environmental sustainability? (Scale of production).

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

  • Physical production, innovation partnerships, resource sharing, the building, ticketing / Spektrix, carbon offsetting for audiences, carbon budgets.

Reduced Inequalities

  • Creative Case, equality action plan, disability.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Greater engagement with local council, join committees, clean air, embed and evaluate sustainability in Beyond the Court.

Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Recycling sets is still a throwaway consumption culture, international travel, scripts and paper, food waste, local suppliers, BMS, transport and taxis, international and slow travel priorities, green taxis, printing and playtexts.

Climate action

  • The plays the writers write, our responsibility to communicating and enabling climate action, public actions – measuring the work the trees in Sloane Sq do and air quality, Green Season, Tipping Point commission, online audience notes, messaging on the print about why we’ve printed (audience development case).

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  • Organisational culture and structure, looking after each other, social justice, deep and active listening.

Partnership for the Goals

  • Sustainable criteria for co-production partners, ethical funding and conversations with individual donors, who from the non-arts Eco world could we partner with, carbon offsetting, LTC and JB next steps towards the Mayor’s 60% carbon reduction by 2025 target, pensions provider, auditor, investment fund, production innovations e.g. New Material Award, ufa Fabrik Berlin, Green Spark Canada, generating energy? The Site as a soil lab…

Our policy framework also recognises the Bioregional One Planet Living principles. Of the 10, our work touches 8, and we sign up to these values.

The relevant One Planet principles:

  • Health and Happiness
  • Equity and Local Economy
  • Culture and Community
  • Local and Sustainable food
  • Sustainable Materials
  • Sustainable transport
  • Zero waste
  • Zero carbon

(The missing but far from irrelevant two are: Land Use and Wildlife, and Clean Water.)

Our Commitments

  • Comply with all environmental legislation and regularly review our policy and actions.
  • Discuss environmental issues at the highest level of the company and enshrine sustainability at the heart of the company policy and practice.
  • Engage artists and audiences with environmental issues through our artistic
  • Invest in technology to enable our designers to use low energy lighting on our stages and encourage sustainable practices throughout the production process.
  • Increase employee awareness of environmental policies and encourage a culture of shared responsibility.
  • Communicate our initiatives and progress to audiences and partners.
  • Reduce wastage, preserve resources and recycle across all areas of the company.


  • This approach to sustainable business practice is supported and endorsed by the Board and the Artistic Director, who is Chief Executive of the company.
  • It is communicated to employees at regular staff and management meetings and in the Staff handbook which is given to all new employees.
  • Any employee may become part of the Environmental Sustainability Steering Group which meets quarterly to review progress and discuss new initiatives.
  • This policy and the Action Plan are reviewed regularly by the Steering Group and we will encourage meaningful debate and consideration of our commitments and priorities.
  • All employees are encouraged to engage with the policy, contribute to the action plan and attend industry wide briefings and workshops around the subject, fostering a culture of shared responsibility across the company for achieving our objectives.
  • The Executive team report progress and developments to the Board on a quarterly basis.
  • We will report to ACE and Julie’s Bicycle on an annual basis and participate in external accreditation schemes.
  • We will develop partnerships and collaborations, within the theatre sector and beyond, which will help us to achieve our targets.


  • The management team will also review and evaluate our performance internally on an annual basis and update the action plan accordingly, identifying new initiatives and setting measurable targets for future progress.
  • Specific initiatives will be evaluated at Steering Group meetings, using the Action Plan as a starting point.
  • We will use wider surveys to gather data from audiences, artists and staff when appropriate.