Green theatre

A couple of great posts recently at American theatre artist Mike Lawler’s ecoTheatre blog:

“The ecoTheater project is concerned with how as theater artists we can strive to create theater without sacrificing the environment and the long term health of our communities. I believe this can be done without making compromises in our process . . .”

Notable of late are two entries in his How to series:

What do you think of all this?

How much of a responsibility do independent theatre makers have to consider the environmental implications of their work? What are the costs involved? What’s being done currently?

2 thoughts on “Green theatre

  1. this is super interesting stuff.. It’s obviously an issue that leaders in EVERY industry, not just theatre, are going to have to address.

    i think it’s great that the PM of New York Theatre Workshop, widely viewed as one of the coolest theatres in NYC, is already addressing these concerns with his designers. that sort of thing will push designers to think about environmental issues if they want to work.

    here in the t dot, Necessary Angel (widely viewed as one of, okay probably the best, theatre company in Toronto) is putting together The Eco Show, a piece of theatre that addresses:

    Over-population, energy depletion, drought, mass extinction: these and other problems have arrived, or are on their way. People die, families die out, and entire civilizations end. Change on an enormous scale is inevitable.”

    It opens at Buddies in the middle of May. So maybe downtown indie types are focusing on this issue…

    The thing is, what about the environmental cost of getting people to and from the theatre. What if that theatre is say, a 2-3 hour drive for most patrons. What if there not any reasonably convenient alternative modes of transportation to these unnamed, but potentially major festivals that would comprise a large potion of our regional theatre economy? If that was true, it would throw a wrench in all of my optimism…

  2. Hey Mike,

    I didn’t know about that Necessary Angel “The Eco Show” production – awesome!

    As for the environmental cost of getting people to and from theatres, there’s a relatively simple solve for this: more local theatres!

    People shouldn’t have to commute 2-3 hours to see theatre, and if they are commuting that far, chances are the theatre in question is not going to be representative of their lives. I thought the whole promise of regional theatre is that it’s local, and able to tell local stories – or at least tell stories in a way that is relevant to the local community.

    In Toronto, for example – which is, in my experience, among the most pedestrian-friendly major cities in North America – there is more than enough population density from which to pull healthy patron bases. And there are plenty of sustainable ways to get to them to the theatres once they are interested.

    I think I’ve slammed my hand against this bible before: Theatre has a vital role to play in the localization of economies, which in turn goes toward making those economies greener and more sustainable.

    The Stratford, Ontario tour bus model is one thing, and I’m not dumping on it. But to me, it’s not really “regional” theatre, nor does it play to theatre’s core strengths.

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