“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
Troilus and Cressida, Act 3, Scene 3

As an outdoor Shakespeare Festival located in Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park, Bard on the Beach knows how important it is to not only honour the history of this land, but to protect it for future generations. We recognize the urgency of our current climate crisis, and we are committed to working with our sustainability partners to reduce the environmental impact of our Festival.

For almost ten years, we’ve partnered with Recycling Alternative, our official Waste Diversion Sponsor, to improve our sustainability practices. Their 2014 waste audit led to us adopting a new waste reduction strategy that included new on-site composting options, more ways to collect and sort recyclables on site, water refilling stations in the Bard Village, and the use of more reusable and recyclable materials in our Festival’s day-to-day operations. Our commitment to these sustainability initiatives means that we are now able to successfully divert between 70-80% of the waste produced by the Festival, with 8.92 tons of waste diverted from landfills during our 2023 Season. Plus, we always try to reuse last year’s set pieces in our Village displays, so when you’re at the Festival next Season, see if you can spot your favourite set pieces from this summer’s productions!

With this heightened focus on sustainability, we were also able to identify that the majority of single-use plastics generated by the Festival came from one of our concession bestsellers: wine! After learning this, we partnered with ShareWares to offer reusable wine cups at our concession. Over the past two Seasons, this collaboration has prevented an astonishing 24,420 single-use cups from ending up in landfills. That’s a total of 0.85 tons of waste, 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions, and 80,000 litres of water saved!

To hear more about our partnership with ShareWares, check out their video below, featuring our wonderful Operations Manager, Max Forsyth.

In addition to committing to sustainable practices in our day-to-day Festival operations, sustainability is also front-of-mind for our Site and Production teams. For example, all of the burlap used for the set of last Season’s Henry V was made entirely from upcycled coffee bean bags sourced from local coffee roasters. After the production closed, the burlap was then donated to various individuals and companies for use in rigging for live events and boating, ensuring no bags went to waste.

Coffee bags and other Burlap draped in the Douglas Campbell Tent for the set of Henry V (2023). Set Design by Amir Ofek.

Bard is also proud to work closely with like-minded companies that have a similar focus on sustainability. Our ticketing system, Spektrix, is a certified B-corp, while 90-95% of the paper purchased by our Brochure and House Program printers, Mitchell Press, is FSC-certified and sustainably sourced.

House Program Press Check with two large pages of printing prior to being cut to size

2023 House Program being printed at the Mitchell Press facility.

We are thrilled with the success of these initiatives, but we also know that our commitment to sustainability is an ongoing one. With the help of our sustainability partners, we can continue to look for new ways to reduce the environmental impact of our Festival and to be champions for environmental stewardship. After all, the sweeping views of Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park are what make Bard so magical, and we want to do our part to ensure that future generations can continue to be inspired by the natural beauty of this area – and the long legacy of storytelling on this land.