The baseline of NTGent is 'The City Theatre of the Future'. This baseline is not a statement of fact, but an endeavour. We constantly reflect on what it means to be 'of the future' and how we can achieve this. Perhaps above all, we want our future - and that of the world we live in - to be sustainable. NTGent is reducing its footprint but surely not its traces.
NTGent has been making sustainability a spearhead for years. For instance, the theatre lights in our main hall have been replaced by LED lights, we encourage visitors and staff to leave their cars at home, and we invest in green energy, insulation and renovation. But there is much more:
🌎 From the 22-23 season onwards, NTGent takes part in the European STAGES-project, which stands for 'Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Enviromental Shift' and is an unprecedented theatre experiment. Fourteen theatres from all over Europe and even Taiwan, supported by the EU, are looking for an answer to the question: How can we continue our important work and at the same time reduce our ecological impact?
🌎 The focus on ecology and sustainability continues in the 23-24 season. As part of STAGES, NTGent staff formulated a series of priority actions in spring 2023. These actions form the basis for making the city theatre's operations more sustainable, both ecologically and socially. In addition, there are the performances (in Ghent and abroad) of the NTGent productions Antigone in the Amazon and Ubermens, in which sustainability is a central theme.
🌎 In order to know its ecological footprint, and where the opportunities lie to reduce it, NTGent had a baseline measurement carried out in 2022, unique in the Flemish theatre sector, by the specialised agency Ecolife. The priority actions identified by NTGent staff should reduce that footprint in the coming years. A new measurement will take place in 2025.
🌎 In November 2022, NTGent organised the sustainability forum Despair is too easy, curated by director and program-maker Lara Staal. Artists, activists and academics were invited to propose new terminology and alternative horizons, and to speak, sing, and slam about a possible future that is sustainable, ecological and inclusive. How do we fight for a fundamental transition that makes a radical cut with a system that is built on segregation, profit, extraction, and pollution?
🌎 With our production Grief & Beauty, which premiered in september 2021, NTGent was one of the first to trail the Theatre Green Book – a pioneering initiative for a green art practice, putting sustainable art production centre stage from the concept until the afterlife of all materials.
🌎 The making of our movie The New Gospel about the exploitation of migrants on the tomato fields of South Italy led to an international economical network promoting NO CAP, the fair-trade tomato products by activist and movies’ protagonist Yvan Sagnet: NO CAP products are now in the assortment of more than 100 supermarkets in four countries!
🌎 In 2021, NTGent started a long-running collaboration with the Institute of Fine Arts in Mosul, Iraq. Supported by UNESCO, a Film School is rising in the warn-torn city. The project is a continuation of the relationships tied by artistic leader Milo Rau and his team during the production of the play Orestes in Mosul in 2018 and 2019. "For NTGent, sustainability is a very important value", concludes Milo Rau. "This also means leaving something behind in the places we visit. In this case: creating new cultural opportunities in a devastated city.”