We, the Theater der Welt 2023 team, endeavor to operate in a manner that is as sustainable and resource-efficient as possible for an international festival programmed by international directors. We attempt to integrate (above all ecological) sustainability in all aspects of our work to plan and stage the festival and to incorporate it within the structures of our operations. In doing so, we not only consider the most sustainable and resource-efficient methods of planning and implementation internally, we also include the public, the artists and all our co-operation partners in order to encourage and share ideas, raise awareness and invite them to think and talk about these issues with us.
To do this, we have taken expert advice from the Institut für Zukunftskultur (Tabea Leukhardt, Rebecca Heinzelmann) and jointly developed a sustainability strategy that focuses on mobility, procurement, communications, paper/print and catering.
The most substantial environmental impact of an international theater festival is generally caused by travel for research when programming the festival, and the travel of artists from all around the world, audiences and other participants in attending the festival itself. We have made it the core principle of the festival to avoid air travel wherever possible: our contracts explicitly specify that journeys under six hours must be made by train. We have also sought to combine invitations to groups with other presenters in Germany/Europe, not only to facilitate tours for the groups themselves, but to ensure that longer, in some cases intercontinental, journeys bring benefits that are more widely shared. Within the region, we use the public transport system for airport/station transfers and travel within the festival cities. Taxi costs are only reimbursed in exceptional circumstances. Through a co-operation agreement with nextbike, we are also able to offer the use a certain number of rental bikes to visitors and artists at rental stations at our venues as well as free rides (using a discount code).
For product procurement, we have introduced our own award certificate – a means of documenting the choice of a particular provider – which includes sustainability as one of its criteria. In doing so, we have made the criterion of ecological sustainability an integral part of calls for tenders. This is intended to remind all those involved in delivering the festival that ecological sustainability is a goal that must be taken seriously. In realizing several productions, stage designs have been constructed from existing materials (e.g. from the stocks of Schauspiel Frankfurt and other co-operation partners), in order to save additional transport and new purchases. In addition, we have also taken care to work as paperlessly as possible; to sign contracts digitally, to publish printed matter in small print runs with clearly targeted distribution while avoiding heavy printed items entirely – where necessary providing or making these available in openly accessible, digital form. Unfortunately it is not possible at the present time to use only ecologically-sourced electricity. The various venues currently have individual energy supply contracts whose terms do not permit changes at short notice. However, we are pleased that some of our venues are already run on green energy.
The festival venues where we are able to influence the catering menu will offer a range that is vegetarian/vegan. Single-use tableware and giveaways will be avoided and, where there is no other option, priority will be given to sustainable versions.
Despite all our efforts, it is clear that an international theater festival can only conserve resources to a certain degree. Nevertheless, we have endeavored to do what we can while delivering the festival – and hope that this will encourage all our visitors and other participants to want to join in and contribute themselves.