Yearly Archives: 2008

Ecodrama Playwrights Festival & Symposium Update

The Ecodrama Playwrights Festival & Symposium On Theatre and Ecology is now closed to play submissions, and have reissued their call for proposals for the symposium. The CSPA sesions are also still open, and are linked at the top of the column on the right. We hope that you’ll apply to one or both and foresee some overlap and sharing in the final symposium. We, the CSPA, will be concentrated on the more scientific research side of the symposium, but are very excited to see everything everyone has to offer!

The Revised Call:

May 21~ 31, 2009 ~ University of Oregon

Ecology is at the heart of burgeoning creativity and interdisciplinary scholarship across the arts and humanities. This Festival, together with a concurrent Symposium, invites artists, scholars and activists to share their work, ideas, and passions with one another and with the larger community.  

CALL FOR PROPOSALS for Artist Workshops and Scholarly Papers.  FEB. 1 2009 DEADLINE

We welcome creative and innovative proposals for workshops, round-tables, panels, papers, working sessions, installations, or participatory community gatherings that explore, examine, challenge, articulate, or nourish the possibilities of theatrical or performance responses to the environmental crisis in particular, and our ecological relationship in general.

The form and format is wide-open and we will schedule and shape the Symposium around the types of proposals received and selected. We especially encourage artists who have performance work they would like to present to develop a workshop in which they present all or part of their work, and then use it as the basis for involving others in exploration. We encourage proposals that go beyond a recitation of ideas or positions, and instead bring presenters and participants together as they engage the driving question of how theatre has or might function as part of our reciprocal relationship with ecological communities.

Possible topics include: 

  •  land and body in performance;
  •  representations of bioregionalism; 
  •  eco-literacy and performance;
  •  representation of/and environmental justice; 
  •  green theatre production; sustainable theatre;
  •  design and technology developments towards green practice;
  •  old cultural narratives/new stories;
  • indigenous performance; 
  •  community-based performance/ecological communities; 
  •  sensing place/staging place; 
  •  the ecologies of theatrical form and/or space; 
  •  animal representation; 
  •  application of ecocriticism to plays, performance and culture.

    Send a one-page proposal and/or abstract by 1 February, 2009 to: 

    Earth Matters Symposium 2009, Theresa May, Director, 

    Theater Arts, VIL 216, University of Oregon
    Eugene, OR 97403. 

    Please include: type of session & title; time-length (60 min; 90 min; 2+ hours; half-day); bio or cv. 

    We encourage proposals that include more than one presenter; however, single person proposals are accepted and will be combined with others as themes and formats allow.

    Obama Cites Michael Pollan’s Sun Food Agenda

    by Jeff Nield

    In a recent National Public Radio interview, Michael Pollan talks about how he was approached by a Democratic party staffer about his New York Times article, Farmer in Chief. The article is an open letter to the next president concerning U.S. agriculture policy. The staffer wanted Pollan’s consent to summarize the article into a page or two to get it into the hands of Barack Obama. Pollan declined, saying that if he could have said everything that needed to be said in two pages, he wouldn’t have written 8000 words.

    Despite the snub, it looks like the article created enough of a buzz that it made it into Obama’s stack of pre-election reading material. In an interview with Joe Klein, Obama refers to the article, explaining how Pollan’s ideas fit into the concept of a new energy economy.  We’ve received no word on whether John McCain has read Pollan’s article.

    Here’s the portion of the interview where Obama addresses the issue:
    “The biggest problem with our energy policy has been to lurch from crisis to trance. And what we need is a sustained, serious effort. Now, I actually think the biggest opportunity right now is not just gas prices at the pump but the fact that the engine for economic growth for the last 20 years is not going to be there for the next 20, and that was consumer spending. I mean, basically, we turbo-charged this economy based on cheap credit. Whatever else we think is going to happen over the next certainly 5 years, one thing we know, the days of easy credit are going to be over because there is just too much de-leveraging taking place, too much debt both at the government level, corporate level and consumer level. And what that means is that just from a purely economic perspective, finding the new driver of our economy is going to be critical. There is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy.

    “I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they’re contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That’s just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.

    For us to say we are just going to completely revamp how we use energy in a way that deals with climate change, deals with national security and drives our economy, that’s going to be my number one priority when I get into office, assuming, obviously, that we have done enough to just stabilize the immediate economic situation. In conversations with folks like Warren Buffet, Larry Summers, and the other people that I’ve been spending time with on this, I described it as we’ve got a boat with a lot of leaks and we need to get it into port. That’s what the financial rescue package is about. But once we get it into port, once the credit markets are functioning effectively, then it’s time for us to go back to the fundamentals of this economy. Now, the one other point I want to make about this, though, we can’t divorce the energy issue from what I believe has to be the dominant political theme underlying everything — the economy, healthcare, you name it. And that is restoring a sense that we’re growing the economy from the bottom up and not the top down. 

    “That’s the overarching philosophical change that we’ve got to have. It’s the attitude that Henry Ford had when he paid his workers a decent wage. That means they’re going to be able to buy their cars. The irony of McCain trying to make this whole Joe the Plumber thing as his sort of mantra over the last few days, if you look at the transcript of my conversation with him, the point I was making was two-fold. Number one, I want to give you a tax cut sooner so you can save sooner to start your business sooner because the average plumber starting off sure isn’t making $250,000 a year.”

    This article originally appeared in Treehugger.com, but I found it on Bioneers

    Welcome Arcola Energy

    We are now syndicating the Arcola Energy Blog. Arcola, a brilliant theater on the East Side of London, is also one of the most progressive arts organizations in the world in terms of their sustainable efforts. Their modest home with 2 spaces is also home to a 5kw hydrogen fuel cell. We welcome Anna Beech, Arcola’s Sustainability Projects Manager and Secretariat for The Green Theatre Plan.

    Waste Wood as a Bio Fuel

    There are significant issues with widespread adoption of bio-fuels from energy crops (i.e. growing wood or oil seed specifically to burn it). See for example the Friends of the Earth campiagn (www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/biodiversity/press_for_change/biofuels/index.html).

    However this does not mean that we cannot make better use of waste materials. Effectively we are considering incineration of selected wastes to produce useful heat.

    There is some excellent information on this subject at: www.biomassenergycentre.org.uk

    We are specifically interested in using:

    Note that there have been changes made to the categorisation of Waste to allow the use of untreated timber and SOME wood composites as bio fuels. In preparation for using redundant set materials (which cannot be re-used) we need to consider elimination of materials which cannot be cleanly burnt (ply is probably one of these).

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    Dalston Creative Futures II – Report

    The second meeting Dalston Creative Futures has been held on Wednesday, 23rd at Arcola.

    Topic’ for this meeting was the Olympics.

    Hardian Garrard, the Culture Lead for the 5 Host Boroughs (for the Cultural Olympiad) has given an informal presentation on visions and emerging plans for a major cultural festival in East London (incl. the 5 host boroughs). The idea is that it will develop during the 4 year Cultural Olympiad and leave an internationally recognised annual festival as a legacy.

    For more information please download the meeting notes and a description of the Cultural Olympiad.

    The next meeting will take place end of August. The date should be shortly announced.

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    Greening London Theatres Plan Launched

    At PLASA 2008 the Greening London Theatres Plan was finally launched, with all important endorsement from Mayor Boris Johnson. We at Arcola are delighted to see the plan launched and look forward to working with all involved to drive delivery. Full press release below.

    Download the plan and carbon calculator here:

    Plan is also hosted on:

    • London website
    • Theatres Trust Website

    Press Coverage:

    Mayor’s Press Release:

    Mayor and theatre industry launch Green Theatre action plan
    9-9-2008
    The Mayor of London’s ‘Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change’ plan was launched today (Tuesday, 9th September) in partnership with industry leaders at the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) annual conference.

    ‘Green Theatre’, an action plan for the theatre industry, outlines the most practical and effective measures that can be taken to reduce energy use in buildings while also saving money in energy bills. The plan identifies how London’s theatre industry creates 50,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year – the equivalent of emissions from 9,000 homes. It concludes that if all actions recommended in the plan were taken, the industry could reduce carbon emissions by almost 60 per cent by 2025 – the equivalent of converting over 5,000 London homes to zero-carbon.

    Climate change is one of the Mayor’s key priorities and today’s announcement builds on his commitment to reducing London’s carbon emission by 60 per cent by 2025. The Plan, compiled in close collaboration with a range of key stakeholders, offers practical advice to the industry on how emissions can be cut and includes a carbon calculator that can be used to identify areas of production that create the largest amount of emissions. Advice outlined in the plan includes identifying where changes need to be made, designating ‘green’ responsibilities to staff, and writing ‘green’ policies into contracts to ensure that suppliers are also helping to cut emissions.

    The Plan also details a number of successful case studies such as a battery recycling scheme launched by the Mayor in partnership with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), which helps London’s theatres start recycling their waste batteries.

    Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London’s theatres make a vital contribution to the capital’s economy and its productions and venues are renowned worldwide. The power of the theatre industry to set an example in the fight against climate change is immense. I have been impressed with the genuine leadership and commitment shown by the industry bodies we have worked with in developing this Plan. I am fully committed to reducing the capital’s emissions by 60 per cent by 2025 and forward-thinking contributions such as ‘Green Theatre’ will inspire many industries to help us meet this target together.”

    Mhora Samuel, Director, The Theatres Trust said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the launch of the Mayor’s Green Theatre Programme at PLASA08. As the national advisory public body for theatres, The Theatres Trust is playing its part by helping to disseminate the report’s recommendations and raise awareness of the actions that theatres can take to reduce their carbon footprint. This report represents a major milestone for the theatre sector in London and demonstrates how much is possible through theatres, suppliers and manufacturers all working together to address climate change and reduce energy use.

    “For their support in working with us to make the Launch a truly special event, I’d like to extend my special thanks to PLASA, the Sponsors of the Green Theatre Exhibition – Arup, ETC, Martin Professional, Philips, PixelRange and White Light, and all the Seminar contributors including ABTT, Ambassador Theatre Group, Arcola, the National Theatre, and Selecon.”

    Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, Arts Council England said: “Arts Council England is delighted to be a partner in the Greening London’s Theatres initiative, recognising the importance of this work in helping theatres to increase the efficiency of their business processes thereby reducing the industry’s carbon footprint while saving money and continuing to attract artists and audiences.

    “A programme such as this demonstrates that the arts in England can lead internationally in responding to the pressures of climate change, moving beyond a duty of compliance with issues such as energy management, to a role of inspiration and influence much greater than that due to the industry’s size alone. That this leadership should emerge from London is of great encouragement to those artists and audiences that are drawn to this world city for its ability to innovate.”

    Nica Burns, Chief Executive of Nimax Theatres and President of the Society of London Theatre said: “As a high-profile and economically important British industry, London theatre is determined to lead from the front in minimizing our environmental impact. That’s why we support the Green Theatres initiative.”

    Ends


    Notes to Editors
    1. Green Theatre applies to anyone and any organisation working in the London theatre industry, from small independent production companies and arts venues to large groups of commercial theatres. The full list of organisations involved in the work are Autograph Sound Recording, AEAT, Alistair McGowan, WWF, Ambassador Theatre Group, Association of Lighting Designers, Arcola Theatre, Arts Council, Arup, ATG, BECTU, Carbon Trust, Central School of Speech & Drama, Delfont Macintosh, Dewynters, ETC, Equity, ITC, Live Nation, London Remade, Martin Professional, National Theatre, Orbital Sound, Philips, PixelRange, PLASA, PMA, Really Useful Group, Roundhouse, Royal Court, SOLT, The Theatres Trust, Tipping Point, TMA, Vari-Lite, White Light, WRAP, and Young Vic.

    2. Copies of “Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change” are available from www.london.gov.uk

    3. PLASA is the lead professional body for those who supply technologies and services to the entertainment and performance industries. The organisation actively campaigns to bring advantages to the sector and plays a high level role in the development of industry skills. PLASA Show – a major event for the creative and technical industries, with over 300 exhibitors and 13,000 visitors. The most significant market sector for the exhibition is the Theatre and Performing Arts sector, with 19% of its visitor audience citing Theatre and Performing Arts as their market sector.

    4. For more information on the batteries recycling scheme please contact G & P Batteries Ltd. on 0121 568 3200

    5. Arup, the design, engineer and business consultancy firm behind the British Standard for sustainable event management, BS 8901, has been involved in the development of the Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change”. Arup’s sustainability consultants have contributed to the user-friendly and informative guidelines, which will enable theatres to significantly cut their carbon footprint. Practical case studies demonstrate the quantifiable results that can be achieved. From pre-production and production activities, to the energy use at the venue itself and even influencing how the audience travels to the theatre, the Plan enables theatres to take action.

    http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=18741

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    New 42nd Street Hosts Hearing on Green Initiatives

    Excerpted from Lighting & Sound America Online, October 30, 2008:

    New York City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., chairman of the New York City Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations, hosted a hearing this week at The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street to examine the green initiatives of cultural organizations. Cora Cahan, president of The New 42nd Street, the independent, nonprofit organization charged with long-term responsibility for The New Victory Theatre as well as six other historic theatres on 42nd Street, greeted Councilman Recchia and guests.

    On why his office chose The New Victory Theatre as the location for the hearing, Recchia replied, “The New Victory Theatre is a prime example of how to go green. It’s the oldest theatre in New York, and it’s landmarked, but they worked within those confines to instate various energy-saving programs, including an overhaul of the lighting and HVAC systems.”

    Recchia provided a proclamation from the City of New York to The New 42nd Street for its “extraordinary contributions to New York City,” and Ms. Cahan accepted the honor on the organization’s behalf. “The New 42nd Street is committed to environmental conservation and has already reduced its carbon footprint considerably, making the organization a leader in green efforts in the theatre industry. The New 42 is continually finding new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle and is currently working toward LEED EB Silver certification,” Ms. Cahan said.

    According to Benno van Noort, director of facilities at The New 42nd Street, the organization has already implemented many of the measures that some nonprofit cultural institutions are now just discussing. “We’re in a good position to provide guidance to our friends in the theater,” van Noort added.

    In his testimony, van Noort suggested that organizations just beginning to undertake green efforts should address low-hanging fruit first: Upgrade light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs, implement a green cleaning program, use low VOC paints, and start a comprehensive recycling program. Then, organizations should conduct a building audit, a LEED assessment, obtain a LEED reference guide to identify specific measures to implement, and lastly, create an internal group that develops and engenders support for green activities within the organization and sustains all internal and external efforts.

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    Ecodrama Festival Calls for Submissions

    Earth Matters on Stage, an organization whose mission is to “nurture connection and collaboration among artists who share an ecological sensibility,” will be hosting the Ecodrama Playwrights Festival & Symposium in late May of 2009 in Eugene, Oregon, and has posted a call for submissions.

    The Playwrights Festival will award prizes and workshop productions to several new works that relate to the environment and ecology, and will be chosen by a panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada, including Martha Lavey, Timothy Bond, José Cruz Gonzaléz, Olga Sanchez, Diane Glancy, Marie Clements, David Diamond. The concurrent Symposium, to be keynoted by Una Chaudhuri, author of Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama, will “explore, examine, challenge, articulate, or nourish the possibilities of theatrical and performative responses to the environmental crisis in particular, and our ecological situatedness in general.”

    The Festival is the creation of Larry Fried and Theresa May, authors of the pioneering text Greening Up Our Houses: A Guide to a More Ecologically Sound Theatre.  This is the second iteration of the Festival: the original took place in  2004 at Humboldt State University in California.  The full call for proposals is below; visit the website for more details, particularly a article by Teresa May defining “ecodrama”.

    Ecology is at the heart of burgeoning creativity and interdisciplinary scholarship across the arts and humanities. This Symposium, together with the concurrent Festival, invites artists, scholars and activists to share their work, ideas, and passions with one another and with the larger community who attend the Festival.

    CALL FOR PROPOSALS (artist workshops/scholar papers)

    We welcome creative and innovative proposals for workshops, round-tables, panels, working sessions, installations, or participatory community gatherings that explore, examine, challenge, articulate, or nourish the possibilities of theatrical and performative responses to the environmental crisis in particular, and our ecological relationships in general.

    The form and format is wide-open and we will schedule and shape the Symposium around the types of proposals received and selected. We encourage proposals that go beyond a recitation of ideas or positions, and instead bring presenters and participants together as they engage the driving question of how theatre has or might function as part of our reciprocal relationship with ecological communities.

    Possible topics include: land and body in performance; representations of bioregionalism; eco-literacy; representation of/and environmental justice; green theatre production; old cultural narratives/new stories; indigenous performance; community-based performance/ecological communities; sensing place/staging place; the ecologies of theatrical form and/or space; animal representation; and application of ecocriticism to plays, performance and culture.

    Send a one-page proposal and/or abstract by 1 February, 2009 to: Earth Matters On Stage ~ Symposium 2009, Theresa May, Director, Theater Arts, VIL 216, U of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. Please include: type of session & title; time-length (60 min; 90 min; 2+ hours; half-day); bio or cv. We encourage proposals that include more than one presenter; however, single person proposals are accepted and will be combined with others as themes and formats allow.

    NEW PLAY CONTEST – CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

    1st place: $2,000 & workshop production; 2nd place: $500 & workshop production; honorable mentions: staged readings.

    The winning plays will be chosen by a panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada, including Martha Lavey, Timothy Bond, José Cruz Gonzaléz, Olga Sanchez, Diane Glancy, Marie Clements, David Diamond.

    Submission Deadline: Postmarked by Nov. 1, 2008.

    Early submission encouraged. / Electronic submissions will not be accepted. Submit cover page with: Play Title, Author Name, Contact Information; and two blind copies of the script with synopsis and cast requirements (Please do not put author name on the script, only on the title page) TO: Ecodrama Festival, c/o Theresa May, Theatre Arts, VIL 216, U of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1231.

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