For Global Recycling Day (18 March) here are some of the ways we're recycling and reusing materials for our shows.

We are working hard to source items and materials for our shows responsibly, and reuse and recycle wherever possible. This is part of our commitment to work towards the Theatre Green Book, which aims to make the whole theatre industry more sustainable.

It sets standards for making the productions themselves, the theatre buildings, and other areas such as catering and front of house all more sustainable. 

For our recent Much Ado About Nothing we reused and recycled household items and costumes from past productions to make the show's unique Afrofuturistic look. 

Woman wearing  light clothing and a headscarf, man with arm around her wearing a crown and a light coloured heavily embroidered robe with a cream tie at the waist
Arabian Nights, 2009
Photo by Keith Pattison © RSC Browse and license our images
Man with hand clasped in front of him wearing an ornate gold embroidered robe
Much Ado About Nothing, 2022
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

Reusing costumes

Our Costume Hire reuses and recycles costumes that have been used in previous shows, both outside the RSC for TV, film and fancy dress, but also for our own shows.

Much Ado About Nothing used several costumes from previous shows. The costumes were adapted for their new use by the skilled team of costume makers in our Stratford-upon-Avon workshops, so they look quite different but side by side you can see the differences and similarities.

Being able to use the costumes again like this ensures we are being environmental with our choices and promoting sustainability, as well as saving money on buying new materials.


Man holding his index finger in the air wearing an orange and yellow cotton robe
Dido, Queen of Carthage, 2017
Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC Browse and license our images
Man wearing an orange and yellow robe with silver embroidery on the shoulders
Much Ado About Nothing, 2022
Photo by Ellie Kurttz © RSC Browse and license our images

Recycling scenery and props

The props team were given the challenge to create foliage for Much Ado About Nothing that achieved the Afrofuturistic look created by the designer. We didn’t want to buy raw plastic materials so instead retrieved a box of old records from our Prop Store and and manipulated them with heat into flower shapes.

The team also collected plastic bottles from around the company to create garlands. The bottles were cut up, manipulated, painted and hung for the wedding scene. Elsewhere, recycled bottles are also finding a new life through our sourcing of recycled plastics for materials including underlay and the plastic used in 3D printers.

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