Being green at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Lauren McCrostie

So you’re going to the fringe!? YIPEE! You should well and truly break a leg, but lets not break the planet whilst performing and touring, eh?

Whether you are performing in one of the Big Four or in a little highland pub - a production of any scale has the ability to ensue harm and toil on our environment. With climate change posing as great a threat as ever, taking responsibility for your work and footprint is vital!

Becoming more conscientious and sustainable in your habits taps into your natural inventiveness and passion as creatives, so I ensure you it will much easier than you first think… Here are some handy tips to get you and your troop prepared for the Fringe!

Create a list of sustainability goals

Try to put a green filter on everything your production does, from your choice of rehearsal space, costume, lighting, set, props, travel to method of advertisement and think of how it could possibly be made ‘greener’. Maybe you find a central rehearsal space, which involves the least about of travelling for your actors? Maybe you source all props and costume from charity shops? Maybe you opt for minimal lighting? Find a way of ensuring the least amount of harm possible, whilst still managing to stay on top of your piece and its message.

Green Guard

Designate a ‘green guard’ in your company. This could be the producer, lighting designer, costumier, prop master, actor, directer, writer…anyone! Appointing someone to lead and check you are being as environmentally conscious as possible means that you will be more successful in achieving your sustainability goals!


Now the fringe is renowned OVERLY flocked with flyers. Everywhere. It is beyond excessive, but it has become a tradition. Try leading the way with a new type of advertisement. Perhaps opt for stamps out of your logo with your production title, performance and name of venue? Or go wild with the online world and build up your social media following? Or pair up with other, similar shows to give one another shoutouts after their performance. Become more sparing with their printouts - only giving them to people and place where they will be used and not thrown away! Check out our green flyering tips here.

Packing and travelling

A great but often forgotten side to the fringe! How are you getting there? Carpooling? Train? Busing? Flying? Cycling? Walking? Swimming?! Using an aeroplane usually produces the largest footprint out of all these methods, so if possible opt for a train or bus. These can work out a lot cheaper if booked in advance (remember to use your railcards if appropriate!) and cause a lot less CO2 emissions.

In regards to packing - do so resourcefully! Chances are you will spend most of your time in Edinburgh in the same clothes, so you needn’t bring that many spares... don’t worry every accepts that B-O is a byproduct of the Fringe, so you will get minimal judgement, plus everyone will probably be too drunk to pick up on it anyway!

But something that you should most definitely pack is your REUSABLE TOOLKIT! Reusable cup, lunchbox, shopping bag, water bottle, cutlery set, straw! Check out our recommended list of reusables here.

When in Edinburgh

So you’re here! You’ve made it! It's the Fringe! Learn the ins and outs of your venue - what are their sustainability methods? Ask them these five questions about their sustainable practice. Find out as soon as possible to avoid any possible wasteful mishaps, then do the same for your accommodation. Know what goes where and how you can achieve your sustainability goals throughout your run. If neither of these locations offer proper recycling stations, then

create your own and find nearby points of disposal (e.g. the residential street bins). It may seem lengthy, but once done you will feel far greater and greener in your ways!

Other resources

Get clued up on Edinburgh's sustainability infrastructure, including how to recycle in residential areas. Find the best ways of traveling around the city on the Walk It and CycleStreets websites.

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