Slung Low: creating a culture of sustainability

Posted Case study, News, Press

This week’s blog highlight’s some of the great work of one of our member organisations, Slung Low. Founded in 2000, Slung Low is an award-winning theatre company specialising in making epic productions in non-theatre spaces, often with large community performance companies at their heart.

Slung Low is currently based at the oldest social club in Britain, The Holbeck, which is used as an open development space for artists. Other companies, who may not have been seen in Leeds, are also invited to come and present their work as part of Slung Low’s programming, and support is provided to artists through lending equipment and vehicles.

Slung Low also have a second campus in the form of a 16-acre ancient semi-ancient natural woodland in Kirklees. Open to the public, the woodland has a canopied outdoor classroom and plenty of space to explore and learn in. To improve access to performances all work presented at The Holbeck, and the woodland is offered on a ‘pay what you decide’ basis.

We spoke to Community Director Ruth Saxton who spoke about the company’s values:

We believe that access to culture is a fundamental part of a happy life. We believe that actions, however small, can have a big impact. We believe that culture can change our world for the better. Our commitment is to represent, across everything we do, the city we are a part of, to include and celebrate the full diversity of our brilliant city.’

Slung Low collaborated with sustainability consultants to review the environmental impact of activity at The Holbeck, as well as create a detailed building services proposal with recommendations for improvements. Slung Low are looking to move to a new premises at the end of the year and will use this learning as a foundation to help them to minimise the environmental impact of a new space.

Alongside this, a number of short-term pledges were also made to enable an immediate difference and improvement on the organisations impact. The pledges looked at the club’s resource use as well as staff behaviour and habits. A significant pledge is to become a vegetarian company, combatting the negative environmental impacts associated with animal agriculture.

“The sharing of resources is integral to the way we run the company. Reusing, recycling, sharing equipment, time and resources with other artists and companies is at the heart of what we do”

There is a great focus at Slung Low of creating a greater appreciation for and accessibility to nature in the local community. Outdoor space surrounding The Holbeck was transformed to provide more greenery and attract more wildlife. The 16-acre semi-ancient natural woodland that Slung Low manage made up a large part of this work, with courses held to help encourage natural wildlife including building bat boxes and carrying out wildlife surveys.

The natural environment is also considered in their community arts projects which have included a painted rock gallery to brighten the local environment and encourage families to explore the outdoors, as well as designing a walking adventure story for children. Working with the local community is a large part of Slung Low’s work, including working with the local primary school helping to create outdoor events and a festival with the children with a focus on the natural environment, passing on an enthusiasm and appreciation of nature to younger generations.

Ruth also highlighted how simple actions can be very impactful when they become an essential part of the core of an organisation.

‘We are very aware and concerned about the effects and impact our work can have on the environment. The sharing of resources is integral to the way we run the company. Reusing, recycling, sharing equipment, time and resources with other artists and companies is at the heart of what we do.’

Slung Low demonstrate how simple changes which don’t need a lot of funding can be very impactful to protecting the natural environment and supporting the local community. It’s great to have such inspirational examples of creative environmental work to showcase in Leeds!

Facebook – @SlunglowTheatre

Twitter – @SlungLow

Instagram – Slung_Low

Website –


From hosting enlightening workshops to rehoming unused resources, from equipping individuals with Carbon Literacy Training to partnering with local organisations for greener events, SAIL is taking the lead in West Yorkshire’s creative and cultural scene. But we’re not doing it alone. Our strength lies in our community, in the passionate and dedicated individuals and organisations committed to fostering a more sustainable future.

We’ve made a significant impact, but there’s still much to be done. We need you to join us on this journey. As a member of SAIL, you’ll not only gain access to our network and resources, but you’ll also play a vital role in driving the sustainability movement in our local creative and cultural industries.