NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.


Chris Milburn Wins the NIDA Green Student Award

NIDA has awarded graduand Chris Milburn (Technical Theatre and Stage Management, 2023) the inaugural NIDA Green Student Award for his exemplary leadership in environmental sustainability on the 2023 production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Chris was presented with this award as well as a $500 cash prize at NIDA on April 24th 2024, with CEO Liz Hughes, board member and Chair Catherine West, Sustainability Manager Imogen Ross and many colleagues, teachers and fellow students in attendance to congratulate him on this achievement.

The NIDA Green Award recognises the efforts, commitment and leadership demonstrated by a NIDA student in response to the challenges of climate change. During the planning stages of Sweeney Todd, Chris, who was the Production Stage Manager, developed a bespoke version of the Theatre Green Book’s (TGB) Waste Acknowledgement form, named the WasteTracker. Utilising algorithms that respond automatically to data inputted by production supervisors, the WasteTracker generates percentages that make it simple to track each production’s sustainability measures. This comprehensive tool has allowed for the easy documentation of all materials used, their sources, and their eventual disposal methods.

Chris Milburn explains how hessian fabric was utilised by the Bachelor of Fine Art Sets and Construction students so that the flats could be reused. Photo by Phil Erbacher.

Chris has continued to develop and hone the WasteTracker, working alongside Imogen and NIDA course leaders to ensure it captures even more of the data required to hit the TGB Baseline standard in 2024. Click here to read more about the sustainable practices that were utilised by the Sweeney Todd production crew.

Since finishing his studies last year, Chris has been working with NIDA’s Head of Technical Operation Ben McPharlin to develop a sustainable and easy-to-follow assessment guideline for the disposal of outdated technical equipment from NIDA’s many theatres.

NIDA student production of Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2023. Photo by Phil Erbacher.

Embedding environmental sustainability in a thriving performing arts organisation like NIDA provides us with many challenges, but students like Chris are focused on finding solutions, and changing existing systems to keep up with our responsibility to lower our carbon footprint wherever we can. I am confident that Chris will continue to lead the way in his commitment to climate change wherever he goes next.’ Imogen Ross, Sustainability Manager at NIDA.

Europe bound with a bright future ahead, Chris will continue his work under the guidance of several lighting design luminaries, including Scott Zielinski in Paris, Tim Mitchell in London, Kasper Dauberg in Aalborg and Zoe Spurr in Newcastle, UK. While there, he hopes to connect with other practitioners who are working with the Theatre Green Book standards and share what he has been developing here at NIDA.