Back in September 2019, Chesham Town Council declared a Climate Emergency and committed to reducing the negative impact of council services on the environment, with an aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030. Council services include, of course, your friendly neighbourhood theatre, and while we have been implementing various changes over the last couple of years, such as switching to recycled paper and maximising the use of natural, rather than electrical, light, we’ve recently had a sudden flurry of improvements.
In a series of moves towards a more sustainable future, The Elgiva is taking centre stage with a new series of eco-friendly measures. From solar panels to vegan ice cream, we are putting the future of our planet firmly in the spotlight.
Illuminating the future with LED lights
Understandably, theatres use lots of watts. Our previous lighting system was power-hungry tungsten, so The Elgiva is shining a new light on its commitment to sustainability with a switch to energy-efficient LED lighting.
This change is part of an ongoing programme that not only reduces energy consumption but also includes motion detectors in lavatories to ensure lights are only on when needed.
This ongoing focus on saving energy, something which also helps keep our operating costs down, means we are assiduous about turning off lights and maximising the use of natural light wherever and whenever we can.
Harnessing the power of the sun
One of the most eagerly anticipated changes is the installation of solar panels, set to take place in the upcoming summer of 2024. Fitted to the theatre’s roof, the panels are set to power our entire operation, from dazzling stage lights to our cosy bar area.
To ensure a steady supply of energy even during cloudy days (in Britain, who’d have thought it…), the theatre will employ cutting-edge battery technology, meaning we can store excess energy during those occasional sun-drenched days and illuminate the stage during the darkest of winters.
Saying goodbye to plastic – one glass at a time
The theatre is also bidding farewell to plastic waste by swapping its disposable plastic glasses for polyurethane alternatives. Approximately 250 plastic glasses are used at The Elgiva every month, but the new, recyclable glasses will drastically reduce this plastic footprint. Bar staff have been trained to wash and reuse these glasses, and convenient deposit points around the theatre encourage patrons to return them, contributing to a cleaner environment. Reminders on the theatre’s website and on pre-show emails urge visitors to reuse and recycle, promoting a collective effort towards sustainability.
Recycling, Reusing and partnering today for a greener tomorrow
Recycling is a top priority at The Elgiva. All glass bottles, plastics and cans used during performances are sorted and responsibly recycled. Used tickets and paperwork is shredded and recycled.
The theatre also champions arts projects using recycled materials to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability while fostering creativity. Look out for a range of panto-inspired Cinderella Magic Slippers (and shoes!) made from packaging and paper coming to the theatre in December!
As part of our spotlight on all things eco-friendly, The Elgiva has partnered with Fairtrade Chesham to screen The Seeds of Vandana Shiva. This powerful documentary showcases the remarkable life story of eco-activist and agro-ecologist Vandana Shiva, highlighting the importance of sustainable living.
How did the wilful daughter of a Himalayan forest conservator become the world’s most powerful opponent of Monsanto? Find out in our absolutely FREE screening of the film at 2pm on Sunday 8th October.
Before the screening of Seeds, The Elgiva is delighted to be hosting Chesham’s first swishing event.
In partnership with Sustainable Chesham, this event is free to attend and aims to encourage locals to embrace eco-friendly fashion by reusing and exchanging clothing.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of swishing, it’s a fantastic and easy way to update your wardrobe. It’s guilt-free shopping with no cost to your wallet, and it’s great for the environment, too.
Swishing works like a giant clothes swap: bring your quality, clean and wearable unwanted clothes and exchange them for something new to you!
Serving up sustainability with Criterion vegan ice cream
The Elgiva isn’t just warming up to solar power – we’re also cooling down with a sustainable treat. Patrons can now enjoy Criterion’s vanilla vegan ice cream before the performance or during the interval.
Vegan ice cream is a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional dairy-based ice cream. It is the smart choice for the environmentally conscious, as it requires less water and energy to produce.
Using Criterion for all our ice creams also dovetails with our aim to to reduce single-use plastics; as well as using a wooden spoon, this ice cream range boasts tubs and lids which are made from cardboard – every scoop is a sweet step toward a greener planet!
Theatre Manager David Cooper said: “The Elgiva prides itself on being an innovative theatre, whether that’s the way we communicated with our customers during lockdown, our Parent & Baby screenings, our reward scheme or our Youth Theatre productions. Our green commitment is no different, and our staff and volunteers are always looking for ways to be greener and more environmentally friendly.
“It is wonderful to see our customers embracing etickets and online brochures. We had record numbers for our downloadable electronic Pantomime Programme last year, and our reuse-then-recycle sustainable glass endeavour has been adopted with gusto.
“The Muppet Kermit the Frog once said: ‘It’s not easy being green.’ Our staff, volunteers and customer prove it is not only easy, but vital, to be as green as we can be, every single day., and The Elgiva is proud to be contributing to Chesham Town Council’s drive towards more sustainable and eco-friendly ways of operating.“
Embracing a sustainable encore
The Elgiva’s commitment to sustainability is not just a passing act – it’s a standing ovation for the planet. As we continue to encourage online ticket purchases and e-tickets, patrons are invited to be part of this eco-conscious revolution. With our raft of initiatives, The Elgiva proves that the spotlight can shine just as brightly on sustainability as it does on the stage.
As they say in showbiz: “The show must go on,” and at The Elgiva, the show is going on with a greener, more sustainable future in mind.