LOS ANGELES/EDINBURGH — The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) announces the 2011 Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August. The CSPA Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production is designed to reward ecologically sustainable practice in the production of a fringe show. The winner will be announced Monday, the 22nd of August. The winner will receive a plaque and a feature article in an upcoming edition of the CSPA Quarterly, the CSPA’s print publication highlighting the most exciting work being done in sustainability and the arts.
The award, which debuted last year at the inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival will be adjudicated by the CSPA Directors, Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright, along with a number of CSPA affiliates. It will be looking at public communication/education, resource use, and transportation in support of presenting a fringe show based on methodology developed by the CSPA itself and San Diego’s Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, who have created a comprehensive Green Theater Choices Toolkit with a generous grant from the Theater Communications Group.
For the Edinburgh Fringe, Mhora Samuel and Tim Atkinson from The Theatres Trust’s European Regional Development Fund-backed Ecovenue project have helped the CSPA adapt the criteria for a UK audience, providing guidance on UK equivalents to US name brands, as well as providing insight on measuring conventions and policy. The award simply would not have been complete with out their assistance.
Last year’s winner was The Pantry Shelf a satirical comedy that takes place in any ordinary pantry shelf, was produced by Team M&M at Sweet Grassmarket, . Characters are food items most of us have readily available. The story follows the addition of a revolutionary new snack to the shelf: Queenie, a quinoa, date and bark bar. Queenie discovers that her healthy branding doesn’t accurately represent what’s actually inside. The comedy explores branding, consumerism and the corporate control of our diets. It’s also a “love story between a quinoa bar, a bag of Scottish porridge and a sexy block of dark chocolate,” about staying true to yourself.
“We chose The Pantry Shelf as the award winner based on its comprehensiveness,” comments Ian Garrett, Executive Director of the CSPA. “The show raised valid questions that are relevant to everyone’s daily lives, without being heavy handed. Team M&M took great care to ensure the production was produced as environmentally sustainable as possible, and the content of the play was both entertaining and informative.”
“We’ve been working since we started the CSPA on how to provide resources and guidelines for sustainable production to the theatrical community. Both Miranda and myself come from theatrical backgrounds and it is important to us. The fringe festival model provides an ideal platform to introduce these ideas and the award due to the expectations and scale of the shows. It is easier to start the conversation at a fringe level of production than Broadway. By starting with the Hollywood Fringe, our local and the newest fringe festival, and immediately moving to the Edinburgh Fringe, the largest and oldest fringe in the world, we are looking to create the greatest visibility and excitement around the introduction of ideas of sustainability to the largest number of theatre artists at home and away,” says Executive Director Ian Garrett.
To be considered for the award, a production fills out an online questionnaire. Questions range from an inventory of materials used, to what public transportation lines run close to venues, to how themes about sustainability are addressed in their shows. To accommodate the widest variety of productions, sections of the questionnaire that are not applicable to a show, will be omitted from consideration. Shows are encouraged, but not required to provide a CSPA affiliate with tickets to their production to allow a trained eye to look at shows and projects as they exist in the real world.
“Even more so thanwe want someone to score perfectly on the questionnaire we use to evaluate shows, we want theatre artists to look at the questions and think about how it helps to guide their thinking about sustainability in the their art. There may be questions asked in ways they hadn’t thought, and we hope they ask these questions of their next project and the project after that.”
To apply, fringe show producers can head over to the CSPA’s website at http://www.sustainablepractice.org/fringe or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for evaluation will be taken up until the end of the festival, though it is encouraged to apply while it is still possible for a CSPA affiliate to view the show. All questions regarding the award by also be be directed to email@example.com.
The CSPA was founded by Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright in early 2008 after individually working on each of the programs that now make up the multi-faceted approach to sustainability separately. It provides a network of resources to arts organisations, which enables them to be ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence. We support the infrastructure of this network by supplying artists with the information, education and intellectual community they need to make the best choices for their sustainability. We do this through three independent programs: CSPA Online Resources, annual CSPA convergence and the CSPA Institute’s curriculum building. We extend these efforts with key partnerships with like minded organisations. Past and Present partnerships have included the University of Oregon, Ashden Directory, Arcola Theatre, Diverseworks Artspace, Indy Convergence, York University, LA Stage Alliance and others. Under the umbrella of the CSPA, each program and partnership uses different tactics with their own mission to create a comprehensive and cooperative synthesis in artistic sustainability.