Sustainability Experts

Creu Cymru partner with Julie’s Bicycle to help fourty two Welsh arts venues go green

Whether a former miners’ institute, an Edwardian theatre or modern iconic buildings such as the Wales Millennium Centre or Galeri Caernarfon, arts venues occupy an important place in the communities of Wales. Today sees the start of a major, ground-breaking initiative to support forty two arts venues in Wales to become greener and leaner.

The venues are all members of Creu Cymru – the development agency for theatres and arts venues in Wales. They will be asked about the way they manage their use of energy and water, their waste disposal and other environmental issues. Those who choose to will take part in a more detailed investigation with on-going support.

Based on the results of the investigation venues will be given the tools and advice needed to strengthen their environmental, social and economic sustainability. By becoming more energy and resource efficient, managers of the venues will be able to save money. They will be helped to develop new strategies and communicate these to staff, contractors, suppliers and audiences. Overall, this initiative will make them fit for the future and better able to respond to the challenges of a changing world.

The initiative will address three areas;

  • energy and waste (consumption and treatment)
  • the supply chain (theatre production and touring)
  • communicating to audiences the issues and potential solutions (imagining the future)

The initiative is part of Emergence – an on-going programme of work led by Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales and Volcano Theatre Company that aims to make sustainable development a core organising principle of the arts in Wales. This Creu Cymru Emergence initiative has been made possible by the Welsh Government’s Support For Sustainable Living grant scheme through a partnership comprising Creu Cymru, Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales, the ESRC BRASS Research Centre (Cardiff University) and London-based arts and environmental sustainability experts Julie’s Bicycle.

BRASS and Julie’s Bicycle will provide the technical expertise. Both organisations have a track record of success in investigating and offering solutions for the environmental and social sustainability of the arts. Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales will use the information and learning that comes from the work to inform consultation on the development of the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Bill.

The Creu Cymru membership consists of Wales’ most cherished theatres and arts venues that have for generations acted as hubs of social and cultural activity. With this initiative, they will be able to continue to do this in the context of a changing world and make an important contribution to the development of a sustainable Wales.

Sustainability in Theater Conference Recordings Online Now!

Sustainability in Theater: People, Planet, Profit, Purpose

A blended conference dedicated to providing tangible, practical strategies to implementing greener theater practices, ensuring theaters remain a vital part of our community.

Day One (WEBCASTED LIVE): Learn

A full day of learning and networking, featuring sustainability experts, sustainability in theater pioneers and success stories.

All Day One activities were broadcast online – and are NOW AVAILABLE.

Please find the recording of the conference online! http://bnw.qwikcast.tv/

Sustainability in Theater Conference: People, Planet, Profit, Purpose

April 30 – May 1, 2012

Minneapolis, Minnesota

A blended conference dedicated to providing tangible, practical strategies to implementing greener theater practices, ensuring theaters remain a vital part of our community.


Early bird discount through December 31
Discounts for members of MTA, TCG, and CSPA
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Day One: Learn

A full day of learning and networking, featuring sustainability experts, sustainability in theater pioneers and success stories. If you don’t live nearby, all Day One activities will be broadcast online. By attending virtually, you can save money, time, and carbon emissions. We will take full advantage of social media to allow virtual attendees to participate, connect and network.

Speakers and facilitators will cover four focus areas:

  • People (stakeholders)
  • Planet (environmental impact)
  • Profit (keep the doors open)
  • Purpose (artistic vision and values)

All feeding into the question “How can we tangibly change the way we run our theaters to ensure we survive and have a significant positive impact on our environment and community?”

Presenting organizations include:

  • Broadway Green Alliance (New York): helped convert 97% of Broadway’s marquees to LED technology
  • Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts (Los Angeles): working on SHOPLAB, a materials reuse and sharing facility
  • York University (Toronto): developing the Theatre Artisans Green Skills forum
  • Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company (San Diego): published the Green Theater Choices Toolkit
  • Childsplay (Arizona): host of the Sustainability in Stagecraft conference, 2009
  • Earth Matters on Stage: presenter of ecodrama playwrights festival and symposium
  • Center Energy and the Environment: providing practical, innovative, energy solutions for homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and government

Day Two: Do

Presentations will focus on local resources available in Minnesota. Participants will break off into separate sessions based on their roles in their organizations and with the help of conference facilitators will work on specific challenges and problems they encounter in their work. The goal of the sessions will be to produce tactics for tackling these challenges, to be published and shared with every attendee. We encourage communities outside Minnesota to organize their own local working sessions.

  • Meet like-minded and like-titled individuals to share best practices and strengthen your network.
  • Learn ideas, case studies and tactics for building a sustainable organization.
  • Address common sustainability challenges theaters and professionals like you are tackling now.
  • Gather an arsenal of practical, immediate tactics that can help you spur change in your organization and celebrate small successes right away.

Presented by the Minnesota Theater Alliance and the Twin Cities Sustainable Theaters Group
Hosted by Brave New Workshop

The SIT Conference Task Force
John Bueche, Bedlam Theatre
Leah Cooper, Minnesota Theater Alliance
Kat Duvic, Brave New Workshop
Erin Farmer, Brave New Workshop
Ian Garrett, Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts
Todd Hintz, Guthrie Theater
Elena Imaretska, Brave New Workshop
Ellen Jones, Bemidji State University
Jenna Papke, Minnesota Theater Alliance
Jill Underwood, Guthrie Theater
Alicia Wold, CostumeRentals

In partnership with Theatre Communications Group and
Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts


Arcola Theatre: setting a standard for resourcefulness?


Kudos to London’s Arcola Theatre for the announcement of their new plan to further green the theatre, putting sustainability at the centre of its work. The impressive thing about Ben Todd and his team at Arcola’s plan is it’s not just about bricks and mortar – though they do have the support of Arup’s sustainability experts on that; it’s about successfully integrating the theatre into the wider enviroment as a kind of signpost for more fundamental change. As Todd said in the launch document: “Wrapped around the main stage will be dynamic spaces to accommodate our ever-growing environmental sustainability and community engagement programmes.”

And the other, even more impressive thing, is that they’re putting much better funded arts institutions to shame with their implementation of this plan.

I’ve just been sent the book Theatre Materials, edited by Eleanor Margolies. There’s a good quote in there from Todd from the original Theatre Materials conference back in the spring about why theatre can be so successful at these initiatives – something that really fits with ourDesign team’s ideas of resourcefulnes:

“There is a big fear that theatre can’t go green because it costs too much money, but theatre has always operated with minimal resources. Theatre people are incredibly resourceful and theatre has always proven that it can operate with very little money. Theatre knows how to get things done.”

Let’s do the show right here, folks!

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