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Theatres join battle to beat single-use plastic

The War Memorial Theatre in Gisborne is the first venue in New Zealand to sign up to a global initiative — BYOBottle.

Gisborne District Council has joined the international BYOBottle campaign in a commitment to reduce single-use plastic in its theatres.

The campaign engages performing artists, venues, event organisers and fans to reduce plastic waste in the entertainment industry by promoting reusable water bottles and water refill stations at events.

When attending events at the War Memorial Theatre, and the soon-to-be reopened Lawson Field Theatre, patrons and performers are encouraged to bring their own water bottle.

Cultural activities manager Pene Walsh said the response had so far been “super positive”.

“We have been communicating with our hirers and theatre users to let them know about the changes and they have all been supportive. Every piece of single- use plastic we refuse contributes to a cleaner Aotearoa.”

Bottled water is no longer sold in the theatres and all drinks come in recyclable glass bottles rather than plastic. Theatre hirers are also unable to sell bottled water and are asked to encourage their crew and artists to bring their own bottles.

Musical Theatre Gisborne is the first user group to get on board with the BYOBottle campaign during their season of Mamma Mia!

Polystyrene and single use plastic cups can no longer be brought into the venue.

Theatre staff are working with hirers to convert from disposable cups to reusable ceramic and glass cups.

Hirers have also been asked to consider alternatives to individually packaged food items or to consider recyclable or biodegradable packaging.

GDC waste minimisation facilitator Darnelle Timbs said it was exciting to see council theatres showing leadership with this initiative.

“Encouraging water refills and tap water is a great step in the right direction and we hope to see other venues around the district and country follow suit to turn the tide on plastic pollution.

“This action is particularly timely given we are now in Plastic-Free July — a global movement which has inspired millions of people around the world to refuse single-use plastic.”

NO TO PLASTIC: The cast of Mamma Mia! all have the bottle for a new campaign. BYOBottle is a global initiative in the entertainment industry to encourage performers and patrons to bring their own re-usable bottles full of water to rehearsals and performances. The War Memorial Theatre is the first in New Zealand to take up this campaign, and ban all sales of drinks in plastic containers. Picture by Stephen Jones Photography