Without Walls Green Production Lab

Exploring the challenges and opportunities for reducing the environmental impacts of outdoor festivals, events, and touring productions

The Without Walls Green Production Lab programme brings together production management professionals working across the Without Walls network and wider Outdoor Arts sector to explore the challenges and opportunities for reducing the environmental impacts of outdoor festivals, events, and touring productions. The Green Production Lab was conceived as a response to a perceived lack of opportunity for production management professionals to connect on the environmental sustainability agenda, recognising the key role of production managers as changemakers and influencers in live events.

As this work is predominately carried out by independent freelancers operating across a wide range of events and artists, by engaging and supporting the development of this group it is also hoped that this learning can have a wide-reaching impact across the sector as participants embed learning into their working practices for current and future roles.

Through facilitated workshops and discussions, the Green Production Lab has created a forum for production managers to connect with peers, share knowledge and examples of best practice, and feel inspired and empowered to take positive and proactive steps to address the climate emergency through their work.

Image: Acrojou, The Wheel House (c) Steve Edwin Photography

Programme Overview

Without Walls partnered with outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank to develop and deliver the first event, an online four-week programme in Spring 2021 – addressing several key topics on environmental sustainability and imagining a greener, more inclusive return to outdoor arts production following the challenges faced by the events industry in 2020-21.

Building on the success of this first online event, a 3-day residential in November 2021 hosted at 101 Outdoor Arts, offered a chance to spend time with peers from across the sector to explore leadership in relationship to environmental work, how to build sustainability practice into the heart of outdoor arts work, and promote sharing and re-use across festival networks.

Insights from the first edition of the Green Production Lab, created in partnership with Walk the Plank

Insights from November 2021 Green Production Lab, hosted at 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Centre

April 2021 Participants

  • Aileen Ging – Production Manager, Wild Rumpus
  • Andrew Hammond – Production Manager, Motionhouse and various independent projects
  • Andrew Stock – Technical Manager, Norfolk & Norwich Festival
  • Audrey Leonard – Independent Production Coordinator/Site Manager, currently working with Stockton International Riverside Festival, Durham Lumiere and Artichoke
  • Ben Stephen – Head of Production & Operations, The Albany
  • Beth Piggott – Producer, ArtReach
  • Cordelia Ashwell – Director, Decordia
  • Dan Lake – Production Manager, Brighton Festival and Same Sky Festival
  • Danielle Harris – Production & Stage Manager, Middle Child Theatre and various independent projects
  • Gareth Green – Production Manager, Wired Aerial Theatre
  • Gareth Hughes – Event Production Lead, Stockton Borough Council
  • Joey Valiunas – Head of Production, FESTIVAL.ORG
  • Judy Connor – Production Manager, Cecil Green Arts
  • Mat Ort – Independent Production Manager working for: Milton Keynes International Festival, Winchester Hat Fair, Inside Out Dorset Festival, Salisbury Festival and various artist companies including the 2021 Without Walls programme
  • Matt Evans – Production Coordinator, Birmingham Hippodrome
  • May McQuade – Programme and Community Coordinator, Bradford 2025
  • Mia Harris – Independent Production Manager/Producer working with various festivals and outdoor touring shows including Boomtown Festival, Mandinga Arts, London School of Samba, Wild N Beets, Punchdrunk and Theatre Temoin
  • Paula Birtwistle – Independent Production Manager and Green Champion for Culture Weston, currently working with Theatre Orchard and Extraordinary Bodies
  • Priti Paintal – Director, ShivaNova/Equator Festival
  • Rachel Candler – Project Manager, Quays Culture
  • Suzette Farrier – Technical Manager / Event Manager for Outdoor Events, Watermans Arts Centre and Bell Square, Hounslow

November 2021 Participants

  • Aileen Ging – Production Manager, Wild Rumpus
  • Anya Fox – Independent Production Manager, Inside Out Festival Dorset and various projects including Oxford City Council events
  • Benjamin Turner – Independent Production Manager, Sideshow Productions
  • Beth Piggott – Producer, ArtReach
  • Dan Lake – Production Manager, Brighton Festival and Same Sky
  • Lucy Marriott – ArtWorks South Yorkshire
  • Isla Telford – Co-Director, Urban Wilderness
  • James Burgess – Independent Production Manager, Out There Arts, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and various projects
  • Jude Wright – Freelance Producer and Director, Bent Architect Theatre Company
  • Loz Samuels –  Artistic Director, Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts
  • Matt Evans – Festivals Production Manager, Birmingham Hippodrome
  • Natalie Chan – General Manager, Creative Youth and the International Youth Arts Festival
  • Nathan Jackson – Head of Production, Walk the Plank
  • Pablo Cattermole – Production Manager, Emergency Exit Arts
  • Paula Birtwistle – Independent Production Manager and Green Champion for Culture Weston, currently working with Theatre Orchard and Extraordinary Bodies

“The most useful part of the experience for me was hearing examples of best practice, formal approaches to measuring/tracking carbon costs and so on… But also hearing from real life examples of people working in the sector. I’ve been piping up far more often in different roles, where I’m not necessarily there in a sustainable role but now I feel empowered to speak up. I feel empowered to be the person pushing for change and it’s great knowing that people are doing it all over the country.”

Paula Birtwistle, Participant


Walk the Plank

Walk the Plank is one of the UK’s leading outdoor arts specialists with nearly 30 years’ experience working with artists and communities to create amazing work in the public realm.

From festivals to immersive installations, parades to podcasts, Walk the Plank’s portfolio is diverse, spectacular and award-winning. The company has just undertaken R&D for Festival 2022, and for a new installation, BODY and is leading a Creative Europe project building the capacity of creative practitioners in 11 EU Capitals of Culture. National and international work sits alongside ongoing projects in Salford: working with schools and the Salford Culture and Place partnership.

Walk the Plank is a keen advocate for sustainable practice in the outdoor arts sector and is committed to a wide range of initiatives that maximise positive social and economic impact and minimise negative environmental impact. The company approaches sustainability like its health and safety responsibilities – crucial, non-negotiable and at the forefront of all planning. Walk the Plank produces Manchester Day, a parade that is pushed, pulled, cycled and recycled and won a 4* Creative Green award from Julie’s Bicycle in 2019. As an active member of the Manchester Arts Sustainability Team (MAST) they work collectively to pursue best sustainable practices.

101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space

101 Outdoor Arts Creation space is Corn Exchange Newbury’s dedicated creation space for outdoor arts.Based on the former USAF Greenham Common cruise missile base, this 20,000sq ft warehouse space with on-site fabrication, accommodation and rehearsal facilities is a major centre for artistic residencies, creation of new work for public spaces and innovation in site-specific and outdoor performance.

101 hosts approximately 50 residencies throughout the year. We work to support these residencies in any way that we can, if that be with space, building facilities, production advice, administration advice, performance sharing, hosting workshops just to name a few. In some cases we support companies further with our supported residency programme. 101 has recently developed and doubled in size, and we have new en-suite accommodation.

Interested in Green Production Lab?

If you are interested in the Green Production Lab programme, please check upcoming email newsletters and social media to be the first to hear about future opportunities.

You can also contact the team at [email protected]