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.

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NIDA and NAISDA staff and students gathering around NAISDA fire circle on first morning of the 2024 Collaboration.

Leading Arts Training Organisations Come Together in Cultural and Creative Collaboration

In the vibrant world of arts and entertainment, NIDA is setting a new standard with our groundbreaking NIDA Green initiative. This ambitious strategy aims not only to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 but also to equip students with the skills and practices necessary to champion sustainability in their future careers as creative leaders.

Central to NIDA Green’s efforts is the early adoption of the Theatre Green Book (TGB) as a guiding framework. In 2023, NIDA set out to ensure that one in four productions met the TGB 'Baseline' standard, a clearly defined set of criteria aimed at minimising environmental impact. For the company of "Sweeney Todd" (2023) achieving this standard was an important challenge and a celebration of teamwork.

From conception to curtain call, "Sweeney Todd" epitomised NIDA's dedication to environmentally friendly practices. The 18-week-long journey saw students experiment with new technologies and materials, rethink common methodologies, and document every aspect of the production with guidance from teaching staff and seasoned mentors.

The TGB Baseline standard encompasses key principles such as the reuse of materials, reduction of harmful chemicals, and responsible waste management. Sustainability considerations were woven into the fabric of the production process, with directors spearheading discussions on environmental impact early on. Production teams were equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to embrace sustainability as both an individual and collective commitment.

The production teams diligently tracked their progress using a bespoke version of the Theatre Green Book’s Waste Acknowledgement form, named the WasteTracker. This spreadsheet was developed by 3rd-year NIDA Technical and Stage Management student and the production stage manager, Chris Milburn. By utilising a series of hidden algorithms that responded automatically to the data inputted by production supervisors, the spreadsheet generated percentages that made it simple to track sustainability measures. This comprehensive approach allowed for the meticulous documentation of materials used, their sources, and their eventual disposal methods.

Chris has continued to develop and hone the WasteTracker document and is currently working with NIDA’s Sustainability Manager, Imogen Ross, to ensure it captures even more of the data required to hit the TGB Baseline standard in 2024.

Sustainability goes beyond just materials; it's about understanding the broader environmental footprint of each production. In addition to meeting TGB Baseline targets, NIDA undertook an external quantitative calculation of "Sweeney Todd's" carbon footprint. The results confirmed that "Sweeney Todd" had achieved a 66% reduction in its carbon footprint compared to if all items were sourced new! Procurement efforts resulted in an impressive 62% of materials being reused and a further 4% being recycled. At the end of its run, 65% of materials found new life through reuse or recycling, reflecting a commitment to responsible end-of-life handling.

The success of "Sweeney Todd" serves as an inspiration for the wider theatre community. It demonstrates that artistic excellence and environmental consciousness can go hand in hand, paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future in the performing arts. By embracing the principles of the Theatre Green Book and going above and beyond in their sustainability efforts, NIDA students are becoming equipped to create a brighter future for the arts industry and the planet alike.

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