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Lyric life

Love Green – #Lyric125

In celebration of our 125th birthday, we’re looking back at some of the people and work that have made us who we are today, so we asked of Head of Administration Chrissy Angus to tell us all about the Lyric’s long history in environmental sustainability –

 

The Lyric Hammersmith is a recognised leader in environmental sustainability and as we celebrate our 125 anniversary, it’s truly exciting to see how far we have come but we are also going to use this moment to reflect on how we might energise ourselves for the future.

Theatres have long been places where we come to examine the world – to hear stories, meet friends and socialise. Theatres are places to test a new idea or a new way of framing the world and so sustainability has – sometimes naturally, other times by sheer force of the Lyric’s green team! – found its way into our work. So much of the work we attempt (Try again. Fail again. Fail better) is about finding and then normalising a new way of working or approaching something from a different angle.

This narrative couldn’t feel more resonant as we celebrate our birthday in a global pandemic, but grappling with a new normal is what we’ve been doing at the Lyric for so long, whether on a micro and macro level.

One of my favourite things about the Lyric’s sustainability work is its reach beyond our building on Lyric Square. Often staff who no longer work at the Lyric mention to me that, on starting their new job, they are surprised by a building’s lack of focus on sustainability. I often hear “it’s so strange they print EVERYTHING” or “no one even talks about green stuff” and even “oh no, I’ve been asked to start their green team”. And whilst when working at the Lyric, lots of those green actions were, at their own admission, downright annoying, they actually became the fabric of our day to day working life. Spending time searching the building for reusable cups, looking for the ever elusive laptops to reduce printing for meetings or painstakingly sticking Lyric labels on to reusable bottles was all part of finding a new normal and sometimes it’s only when you step out of that routine, that you realise the true value of it.

We have been working to measure and reduce our environmental impact since 2010 and have enjoyed many green successes over recent years and so as we look to re-build the Lyric for another 125 years, we will take stock of the things we have achieved. From the 180,000 buckfast bees we house on our roof, to our building that is powered by 100% renewable energy, our paperless finance system, declaring a Climate Emergency and our public and staff campaigns where we challenge ourselves and our audiences to build new habits. That said, we have so much still to do and our ambition, when we re-open, is to be a net carbon zero building that is bursting with activity.

So now is the time, both because it’s our birthday and because we are living through a global pandemic, to think more closely about how we might authentically and effectively re-imagine the future with climate justice at the heart of what we do.

You can send us suggestions to @LyricHammer #LoveGreen

If you are looking for something to read have a look at our GREEN READING LIST