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Act Green survey showcases audience concern over climate issues 

Indigo and EPoS (electric point of sale) supplier pointOne have released the results from Act Green, a joint piece of research that was created to gain a wider understanding of audience attitudes towards the role of cultural organisations in tackling the climate emergency.

Consultancy Indigo introduced the survey in May after two years of working on cultural audience sentiment tracking on attitudes around returning to the theatre after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responses came from 11,682 audience members and show that 86% of cultural audiences are worried about the impact of the climate crisis. This is 10% higher than the general population when compared with results from a recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey.

Some 94% said they had made changes to their lifestyle in a bid to reduce environmental impact, compared to 79% of the general population.

When it comes to the role of cultural organisations in tackling the climate emergency, 77% of respondents believe that these groups have a responsibility to influence society to make radical changes.

Only 17% think that cultural organisations place ‘great importance’ on playing an active role in tackling climate changes, though 57% think they place ‘some importance’ on it.

More than 90% of audiences expect cultural organisations to ensure buildings are as energy-efficient as possible, avoid single-use plastics and use materials from reused or recycled sources when building sets.

A further three in four audience members said they would be open to suggestions of more sustainable food choices at cultural venues, while 65% would consider utilising public transport to access a reduced ticket price.

More than half of audience members say they would be ‘quite likely’ to support fundraising initiatives to improve biodiversity at venues, and almost a third would support the development of artistic work exploring climate issues.

Indigo chief executive Katy Raines said: “It is really encouraging to see the level of importance that cultural audiences are placing on the climate emergency. The results from Act Green clearly show that audiences expect the cultural organisations they attend and support to lead the way when it comes to sustainability, managing buildings more efficiently, making changes to front of house operations and challenging people to think differently by tackling climate themes on their stages.

“And audiences are willing to play their part too, getting involved in audience-focused initiatives from travel to food choices. The responses from younger audiences in particular offer a real opportunity for cultural organisations to build relationships with a new generation of theatre goers who are passionate about climate activism. I hope this signals the beginning of a new wave of supporters, advocates and volunteers to support organisations to meet sustainability goals.”

PointOne CEO Steven Rolfe added: “In supporting the Act Green research, we were hopeful that it would signal an active interest and commitment from audiences around the subject of climate change and climate activism. Thankfully, it would seem that the pandemic years have not dulled the momentum for climate activism nor lessened its appeal to audiences; both young and old want to see their cultural organisations leading the way with practical changes, operationally as well as on stage.

“As EPoS suppliers to the cultural sector, we are always striving to improve our sustainability credentials and keen to work with like-minded operators to meet their sustainability goals. We hope this research will prompt organisations to reflect on their own operations and utilise the excellent resources available (such as the Theatre Green Book and Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Tools) to support their own journey towards a sustainable future.”

Image: Denise Jans on Unsplash