Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Greening the Stage

Among the kind sponsors of the Live Design Scenic Masterclass (thanks Rose Brand!) was the Broadway Green Alliance.

They have a worthy goal - to make theater less ecologically wasteful.  Green the Stage!

Charm at Kitchen Dog Theater - I couldn't resist using this "green" stage.

Here are some suggestions they made to us as set designers:

1) Run a greener studio: use recycled paper, print on both sides, use inks with less packing materials, and, when possible, view information on a screen and not print it at all.  When building models, up-cycle packing cardboard, choose cardboard instead of foam-core board or pulp-board instead of illustration board.  Use plain ol' white glue instead of fancy sprays and other chemical compounds.  Recycle used paper and cardboard - even old models when you can.

ADDENDUM:  I'd add in general good-green-housekeeping stuff: use LED or fluorescent lighting instead of incandescent; keep your thermostat setting sane; cut back on chemical cleaners and insect sprays etc.; recycle plastic and metal trash too; waste less water; all the good stuff, right?

2) Design green: plan using recycled and upcycled materials in your sets.  Design around material sizes (like 4' x 8' plywood) so there's less cutting and waste.  Research materials - what's the greenest choice?  Many factors come into "greenness", like shipping distance and sustainable sourcing etc., so pace yourself; research as you have time rather than pushing to reform your practice overnight.  Check places like Craig's List for what you need.  

(If you happen to be in the NYC area, they suggest shopping at Build-It-Green, Film Biz Recycling, or Materials-For-The Arts. Around the DFW area, Habitat for Humanity Restores sell "excess" building products.  And building salvage places, of course.)

3) Build green:  use stock pieces and save things from this set for the next one.  Use that recycled and upcycled material!  (As much as possible, I suggest encouraging sustainable paints and building methods.)

4)  Green-cycle old sets!  Don't just trash it - give it away or give the broken-down materials away. Poorer theaters would be glad of a lot of your stuff.  Recycle what can be recycled.  

5)  Talk green.  Reach out to others about sustainable theater.  Let's make "green" the new standard practice!  Join Broadway Green Alliance.

Much of this we (in those poorer theaters) are already doing for reasons of, um, poverty, but it's a good idea to think through your usual practices.  (My studio needs to recycle more paper.)  See where you can be a better global-green steward... right, citizen?

Public domain image

Well, that's today's news.  Last thought...

"We do not get the news from poetry
yet people die everyday for lack of what is found there."
William Carlos Williams

(Thanks to poet John Siddique for this quote.)

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