Current problems we need to solve:

*A large amount of tax-funded subsidy goes to renting assets from the private sector i.e. lighting/sound/AV/stage equipment. These companies charge extortionate rates, are set up mainly for corporate events, and run a system of rapid stock turnover which funds a the global manufacturing model and resultant climate change.

*Lots of theatres, educational spaces and individuals pool resources which they seldom use. These are effectively carbon sinks and cost money to store/maintain.

*Nationally, technical theatre is re-inventing the wheel for bespoke effects which may only happen once for a particular company but happen multiple times a year nationally – i.e. rain effects, revolves, specialist playback

Found a large, charitable, subsidised library of things for technical theatre equipment which can give well-prepped, safe, appropriate items to theatre companies for free or paid for directly by a funder.
Does this need to have a large infrastructure?
Who does it exist for?

Where is the stuff sourced from?

What stuff should it stock?

Key learning points from discussion:

*Props/set/costume don’t work in hire models like this and would work better as a database of who-has-what which could be centrally managed.

*Conversely stuff-with-a-plug-on or things which can be quantised are in more identifiable and frequent need and can be much more easily warehoused,
managed transported etc. – this is where initial infrastructure should be focussed.

*Larger organisations who do have access to a lot of technical stock, some of which unused are talking about what solutions to use to solve problems like this and are looking for infrastructure of this kind.

*A subscription or membership model is very popular

*The idea of a credit system for donating/lending equipment or credits as part of grant funding from funders is also very popular.

*It makes a lot of sense to team up with large public institutions who have space to begin this idea. They could benefit as well as Contribute.

*Could organistations donate equipment in return for a tax break? – Great financial incentive.

*How are potential users/customers identified – are there (or should there) be barriers e.g. not-for-profit, grant funded etc.

*It is time pressure that causes us all to default to non-ecological and non-ecological practices/purchasing decisions – can a model like this step in early in the production model to support shows better than current private sector provision?

*Is Intellectual Property rights or health and safety concerns about passed on sets/equipment a big barrier – more research to be done here with larger producing organisations.

*CURRENTLY CAPITAL GRANTS CANT BE USED TO BUY USED EQUIPMENT – why are funders pushing people to buy new? Is it because of H&S concerns – can a library of things absorb the dearth of used equipment in the UK?

*notably, many large organisations are focussing on being asset-light/financially-nimble e.g. BBC closing all props storage – where does this drive come from – it is advantageous to the private sector, highly disadvantageous to the public sector and anti-ecological.

*A national library of things, should be truly national with multiple sites nationally.

Ethan to message those involved with further detail from discussion
Ethan to meet with NT and Artscouncil regarding the model.

Referenced Other Projects within discussion:
Other libraries of things – local libraries in London and across UK
Froom L.O.T.
The Attic (now closed) run by Sara J Booth
NT resource management department