Staging

Considering Sustainble Design @ PQ 2011

Historically, the Prague Quadrennial has been an international exhibition of scenography (stage design), where countries come together to display the best of their theater work and the spirit of their design methodologies. It’s a mass of gatherings. It’s discussions and performances and lectures and guerilla moments in the streets (is that a performance or a conversation? Is she injured or just creating an interesting shape? Is that a flamboyant dress or a costume?). It’s also Scenofest, the educational arm of the Quadrennial, featuring a series of workshops and organized talks.

At DAMU, the Czech Academy of Dramatic Arts, CSPA Executive Director Ian Garrett gathered with Nick Moran of the Central School of Speech & Drama and myself to discuss sustainability in design on a panel led by William Mackwood of York University (best known for hosting the Staging Sustainability conference earlier this year). While no one walked in with a paper dress or noisemaking speakers, some fascinating discourse ensued regarding the nature of performance.

Ian Garrett started off with a powerpoint overview of green practices in the arts. He’s extensively acquainted with the overall carbon impact of the average theater production: length of run, power consumption, material. In the years that he’s been building the CSPA, he’s also been gathering a mass of information on the complexity of the arts’ environmental impact. Garrett brings into the discussion issue of audience transportation (a huge factor in carbon footprint) vs. the potential impact of audiences if they had just stayed at home that night. He also discussed the work of groups like Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company and the Broadway Green Alliance.

Following him was Nick Moran, who focused on the resources on the site Julie’s Bicycle and the need within the green movement to make changes on a small (and totally unsexy) level, like type of toilet paper, while continuously pressing for systematic change in arts production culture. He discussed everything from tungsten lamps to fuel cells from the standpoint of a lighting designer who fiercely believes in sustainability.

I stepped up and discussed my obsession of the past several years—ecologically restorative art, including works from Xavier Cortada and Mierle Ukeles, and some of my own work.

Then Mackwood wrapped up presentations with examples of his current work and research at York and Out of the Box Productions, including a greening of “Opera Erotique,” which used all-LED lighting. He discussed design qualities unique to the famously energy-efficient lighting, including cut-lines on dancers, strobe capabilities, and the ability to fit an entire lighting rig in the trunk of a car. What followed was an interesting and brief discussion of LED design. Nick Moran brought up the fact that, unlike tungsten, LED color properties don’t change as they fade. “Imagine that you’re in a world where, for the first time, your lights change color as they fade out. WHAT?! What have you done? Change it!”

In the roundtable following, balance was a key issue in discussion: between medium and message, between creative and financial needs, between work and decompression.“You’ve gotta make good work, otherwise there’s no point: worthy, dull, theatre does not change anyone’s mind,” said Moran. The audience was a point of debate. Are we trying to change their minds, or just give them more sustainable spectacle? Are we trying to address the needs of their transportation, or just present eco-theater? In a field of limited resources it’s all about priorities, and needs are complex. As performances exploded all over the streets of Prague, a very grounding discourse took place at DAMU. Like every conversation about sustainability, it leads to more questions, more conversations, and a grab-bag of actionable items. Regardless, it’s refreshing to be in a room with sharp minds that are focused on this issue, and there is potential for a wider impact at the next PQ.

Ashden Directory & Ashdenizen launch new project to find metaphors for sustainabilty

This post comes to you from Cultura21

By Another Name: New Metaphors for Sustainability from Wallace Heim on Vimeo.

To launch the Ashden Directory and Ashdenizen’s major new project on metaphors for sustainability, a new DVD was just released, devised and directed by Wallace Heim.

“Sustainability is a concept without strong or imaginative metaphors. Over the next months, we’ll ask artists, scientists, activists and cultural commentators to suggest a metaphor for sustainability.”

The first four responses are presented in the embedded video. (The film was shown at the Staging Sustainability conference, York University, Toronto, 20 – 22 April 2011.) Updates from the project will be posted on the Ashden directory: http://www.ashdendirectory.org.uk/news.asp

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)

– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)

– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)

– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Bunker forms part of the network entitled Imagine 2020 – Arts and Climate Change

Bunker forms part of the network entitled Imagine 2020 – Arts and Climate Change, which tackles the issue of environmental challenges through the prism of artistic actions and by means of certain other instruments of production.

The aforementioned initiative precipitated production of performance by Betontanc Ltd: SO FAR AWAY introduction to ego-logy in 2010 and also gave rise to a grass-made installation by the British artistic tandem Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey entitled On the field, which had been featured on the platform next to the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in the framework of The Mladi levi Festival. Both works of art illustrate our specific approach to the issue in question, namely flexibility as to genre and theme, since our understanding of art defines the latter as the field of arising questions instead of that of already laid-down answers.

We are opening a call for production of artistic works, predominantly addressed to young artists coming from the fields of performing arts (this, however, is not a necessary requirement) to submit their projects, which in one way or another tackle the issue of contemporary environmental challenges in the widest sense possible.

Bunker will choose one or more projects applied and support it/them in terms of production, promotion and finance as well as by arranging their guest-staging or its/their introduction to the international sphere.

We kindly invite all interested parties to send a short outline of the project proposed (one page), a reference list and a budget estimate to info@bunker.si by February 28th. Any further information may be obtained at info@bunker.si or 031 694 559. Applicants will be notified of their application results by 31st March.

Theater on the green: Staging eco-minded productions in SD – SignOnSanDiego.com

A great article ont he inspiring work being done by Mo-olelo Performing Arts down in San Diego…

K.C. ALFRED / UNION-TRIBUNE  Seema Sueko (shown at Miramar Recycling Center) and her theater company Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company have been at the forefront of developing strategies to reduce waste and other environmental impacts from the construction and disposal of used theater scenery

Green is the shade of the heroine’s skin in the massive Broadway hit “Wicked.” Green is also the color of the currency “Wicked” continues to haul in — some $1.3 million a week, more than six years after the show’s New York premiere.

But green also has come to mean something more than cold cash to the people behind that showbiz phenom and other hot-ticket Broadway shows. And at least a bit of the credit can go to a San Diego theater whose $168,000 yearly budget doesn’t match what “Wicked” makes in a day.

Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company puts on just two productions a year, each focusing on a specific social issue, from gun violence to racism to brain injury. Besides rolling out a wide array of educational efforts with every show, the community-minded company also has embraced the idea of reducing live theater’s environmental impact in general, devoting special attention to how sets are designed and discarded.

Read the full article here: Theater on the green: Staging eco-minded productions in SD – SignOnSanDiego.com.

Squatting for Sustainability

Reprinted from Seattle Metblogs: “Sustainable Theatre at SU” by Zee Grega, March 4, 2010

Seattle University’s greenSquat program in a new way of producing theater – two or more productions share a stage – the second production “squats” on the set and production design of the first, reducing materials used, and reducing the environmental impact of the shows, which can often be substantial.

The first greenSquat production is a new play called WRITER 1272, a comedy by local playwright Vincent Delaney about plagiarism, ghost writing, and the complex conditions of college admissions. WRITER 1272 is “squatting” on SU’s recent staging of Island of Slaves, reusing the set, production materials and even posters from the previous play to create an eco-friendly production. Any added materials are themselves found, recycled, or repurposed – nothing new. greenSquat creator Steve Galatro says says, “Theatre is wasteful. In terms of time, money, energy, and physical resources, we have not yet done our best as a theatre community to embrace the trend of sustainability that is now present all around us. In greenSquat, we are challenging students to examine their responsibility as eco-conscious artists: examining the wide array of materials that make a production and imagining their potential to make another production entirely.”

SU hopes that greenSquat will inspire other theater artists to reduce their environmental impact as well and has partnered with a number of local businesses to promote the idea and will offer raffles and green product giveaways at all shows.

WRITER 1272 runs through March 13 at SU’s Lee Center for the Arts; tickets are available at the door or in advance through the box office which is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1:30 to 6:00 pm; call 206.296.2244 for ticket details.

Go to the Green Theater Initiative

Green Touring

IndianaJonesTravelMontage
The Elephant in the room for many arts organisations. For the record we are not against touring, any more than we are against having babies.

Arcola does not do much touring nationally or internationally, however we do have a sister theatre in Istanbul and we have plans to increase our own touring and our staging of international shows soon, so we are starting to think hard about this matter.

First thoughts…

Why are we touring:
1. Is a tour genuinely beneficial e.g. for artistic, cultural, financial reasons
2. Can similar outcomes be achieved in a lower carbon manner e.g. by a different artistic approach, alternative cultural intervention or different business model
3. Are we going to the otherside of the world simply because we met a producer from there – can we not meet someone closer?

How we are touring:
1. Can the miles involved in the tour be reduced e.g. through focus on a single or more proximate region (Europe rather than Australsia), or by programming a local rather than international company
2. Can the size of the touring party be reduced e.g. through local partnerships, revised set/technical, multi-tasking company members
3. Can the negative impact of the tour be reduced e.g. through use of trains rather than planes and by planning the intinerary to minimise distance between consecutive stops
4. Can the positive impact of the tour be increased e.g. by staying longer or adding engagement activities

Others looking at this:
British Council

Arts Admin

Some useful links:
http://www.loco2travel.com/

Go to Arcola Energy

Staging Concepts Goes Green

Reprinted from Lighting & Sound America, October 3, 2008:

Staging Concepts, the maker of stage risers and modular staging pieces, reports that it has begun offering products that can be built using eco-friendly materials. The benefits of the materials range from wood certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) to steel with a recycled content value as high as 100%. These products can contribute towards satisfying several LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits.

In addition, Staging Concepts, Inc. has become a member of the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). The USGBC is a 501(c)(3) non profit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy place to live and work.

Links:

 

ShareThis

Go to the Green Theater Initiative

Staging Concepts Goes Green

Reprinted from Lighting & Sound America, October 3, 2008:

Staging Concepts, the maker of stage risers and modular staging pieces, reports that it has begun offering products that can be built using eco-friendly materials. The benefits of the materials range from wood certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) to steel with a recycled content value as high as 100%. These products can contribute towards satisfying several LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits.

In addition, Staging Concepts, Inc. has become a member of the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). The USGBC is a 501(c)(3) non profit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy place to live and work.

Links:

 

ShareThis

Go to the Green Theater Initiative