The Touring Network works to support, represent and develop professional live performances happening in small-scale venues across the Highlands & Islands. Across such a vast geographic area, from Shetland to Argyll and Perthshire to Skye, the carbon costs of touring to remote and varied locations can be significant – not only are distances great but transport and buildings infrastructure is also often limited.
In order to better understand the carbon impact of this vital cultural activity, we wanted to look at a range of factors that make up touring to rural locations including venues, transport, production and audiences. We worked alongside Comar on a single theatre tour playing 17 venues across the region and used a variety of calculations to look at each of these areas including audience return cards, energy meters and mileage totals.
The data collected was analysed to better understand where the most impact was and to give us a starting point for implementing solutions and approaches to reducing this in future. Based on the data collected we built a prototype tool which allows performers to plot their tours, measure distances and ensure that tour planning is as efficient as possible. We also allowed tools for calculating emissions based on vehicle type and weight.
As part of the audience feedback scheme we provided an incentive to audiences to respond, which was that for each feedback card received we would donate 50p towards planting trees in the Caledonian Forest. In total we planted a grove of 10 trees which was calculated to more than offset the total usage of the tour.
We hope to work with our members and affiliated organisation in the future to grow and develop this prototype tool and to help members to understand more about their own carbon emissions and how to better manage these.
Our short slide show gives an outline of our approach and prototype online tool that was developed. To view the live prototype version see: sustainability.thinkinform.com