Theatre Communications Group

Earthrise – Trashing Lebanon (performance)

A threare group aims to use powerful images of everyday garbage, humour and solid facts to examine Lebanese attitudes towards consumption, and prompt them to consider where their trash ends up. Zeina Aboul-Hosn takes a seat in the final performance.

More on the Theatre Communications Group Website here: http://www.tcgcircle.org/2012/08/detrashing-lebanon/

via earthrise – Trashing Lebanon – YouTube.

Sustainability in Theater Conference attended by 90 people locally, and 30 people internationally, representing 9 states and 4 countries

The Sustainability in Theater conference was presented by the Minnesota Theater Alliance and the Twin Cities Sustainable Theatres Group at Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis, April 30 and May 1, 2012. The event was Webcast live by QwikCast on April 30, and 11 breakout panels were live online for interactive participation through Google+ Hangouts on May 1. Locally, there were 90 attendees, including many individual artists, and representing 60 different organizations. Online, there were 30 attendees representing 20 different organizations, 9 U.S. states, and 4 countries.

Keynote presentations were made by Terry Gips, Sustainability Associates; Stephen Rueff, The Clean Campaign; and Mary T’Kach, Ramsey County. International case studies were presented by Ian Garrett, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and included presentations by Arcola Theatre (UK), Festivals Edinburgh (UK), Julie’s Bicycle (UK), York University (Toronto), Fisher Dachs Associates (WA), and Childsplay (AZ). A complete list of the conference sessions is available at  http://minnesotatheateralliance.org/sit/schedule.php and a list of conference presenters is available at http://minnesotatheateralliance.org/sit/presenters.php.

Follow-up activities to the conference include a summary to be presented Leah Cooper, John Bueche, and Ian Garrett at the national Theatre Communications Group annual conference in Boston, June 2012; an online discussion and document forum for knowledge sharing in the industry; and plans to present the conference again. Local initiatives being discussed in Minnesota in response to the conference include expanding the membership of the Twin Cities Sustainable Theatre Group; more frequent convenings to share knowledge and plan collaborative projects; consideration of a shared reusable sets and props inventory, either physically or virtually; and collective purchasing of green materials.

As reference materials from the conference are gathered and additional plans develop, more information will be available at http://minnesotatheateralliance.org/sit/about.php.

The conference was planned and presented by a volunteer task force made up of artists and administrators from Bedlam Theatre, Bemidji State University, Brave New Workshop, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, CostumeRentals, Guthrie Theater and Minnesota Theater Alliance.

Sustainability in Theater conference this Monday and Tuesday

We’ve been talking about it for a couple of months, but it’s here! Tomorrow, Monday, April 30th, 2012 and the next day, Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, the Minnesota Theater Alliance, in partnership with The CSPA and the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) will be hosting Sustainability in Theater: People, Planet, Profit, Purpose at Brave New Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

In addition to the conference in Minneapolis, there will be many presenters and participants who will virtually attend with the help of Google+ Hangouts. People from across the US and from 4 countries will convening to talk about the impact of theater and its intersection with sustainable development.

It’s not too late to get involved! Head to http://minnesotatheateralliance.org/sit/about.php to learn more!

SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan

Practicing for SHINSAI. Photo Erin Baiano/Licoln Center Theater

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Kellie Gutman writes:

A unique event took place at 69 theatres across the United States on March 11, the one-year anniversary of the devastating Japanese earthquake.  Called SHINSAI – the Japanese word for an earthquake disaster – it was a series of readings of ten-minute plays to raise funds for the Japan Playwrights Association.

Some theatres held one or two readings before their normally scheduled productions; others made an evening of presenting many of the plays and songs put together for the event.  More than half of the plays have to do with the environmental disaster in Japan. To read the plays, register here

The Theatre Communications Group helped to organize SHINSAI. Japanese and American playwrights wrote works for the event; Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman reworked two songs from their 1976 musical Pacific Overtures. All plays were to be presented only on March 11.

National Public Radio did a story, which you can hear here.

Yoji Sakate, President of Japan Playwrights Association wrote:

Theater artists in Japan, centered around those living in the Tohoku region that was devastated by the great earthquake and nuclear accident, extend our hand to theater artists around the world to rebuild Tohuku and Japanese society, restoring the conditions that surround the art of theater, such as environments for creative activity, theater buildings, companies, rehearsal spaces, education and audiences.  We seek to work with our international peers to demonstrate the potential of human beings and the theater to overcome adversity as well as the primordial power of expression on stage.

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It – 2010 Recipients

NEW YORK—MetLife Foundation and Theatre Communications Group (TCG) have announced the third round of recipients for the A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, which encourages TCG member theatres to think and act creatively. Six theatres were awarded grants, totaling $225,000, to either research and develop new production ideas or experiment and implement innovative concepts in the theatre field. The total award amount is a 50 percent increase from last year’s total of $150,000.

“In light of these uncertain economic times—when many arts organizations are wary of taking risks or seeking to create work through unproven methods—the A-ha! Program is a beacon to draw our member theatres to experimentation,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “This program allows them to strive for new ways of thinking and development and testing new models, without having to shoulder all the financial responsibility.”

The A-ha! Program has two components: Think It grants ($25,000), which give theatre professionals the time and space for research and development, and Do It grants ($50,000), which support the implementation and testing of new ideas. The program aims to discover and disseminate best practices that can benefit the field by supporting risk-taking, reflection, experimentation and the development of creative strategies in theatres.

“MetLife Foundation is proud to continue its partnership with TCG to support not-for-profit theatres seeking new ways to create and develop work and practices that strengthen local communities and the field in general,” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. “We believe the A-ha! Program is essential to participants in building models of creative strategy.”

The 2010 A-ha! Program recipients are:

Think It

  • Pillsbury House Theatre (Minneapolis, Minn.) will develop its transformation into a Cultural Community Hub. The project will focus on assessment and metrics planning that will define and measure organizational success.
  • Curious Theatre Company (Denver, Colo.) will explore innovative opportunities for reinventing the resident artistic company model for the 21st century American theatre, by re-centering artists within producing organizations.
  • Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, Calif.) plans to conduct focus groups and interviews with students, academic administrators and theatres to explore an internship model that pairs graduate students in arts administration with Los Angeles theatres.

Do It

  • Southern Rep (New Orleans, La.) will establish Youth Onstage New Orleans, LA (YO NOLA) as a pilot program to bring the arts to the underserved population at a New Orleans elementary school, via a student-run theatre company. This program includes mentoring, workshops and building life skills.
  • Northlight Theatre (Skokie, Ill.) is building Northlight On Campus, a two-year, comprehensive residency program in one underserved suburban middle school featuring after-school drama programs, artist visits, student matinees and a commissioned play for students.
  • Dad’s Garage Theatre Company (Atlanta, Ga.) will create their first season of online content in tandem with their live work. This ongoing initiative will be self-sustaining and will redefine them from a theatre company to a creative company.

The process and progress of these recipients will be chronicled on the TCG website, www.tcg.org, and the A-ha! blog, http://aha.tcg.org/.

The grant applications were reviewed by an independent national panel of theatre and technology professionals comprised of Polly Carl, director of artistic development, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.); Brad Carlin, development director, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center & board member/consultant, Salvage Vanguard Theater (New Braunfels, Texas); Ian Garrett, executive director, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (Los Angeles, Calif.); Thomas O. Kriegsmann, president, ArKtype (New York, N.Y.) and Marilyn Tokuda, arts education director, East West Players (Los Angeles, Calif.).

For more information about the MetLife Foundation, please visit its web site at www.metlife.org.

For more info about TCG, please visit www.tcg.org.

via Stage Directions.

LDI and Sustainability: Part I

Reprinted from Live Design: “Creating Sustainable Theatres: Part 1″ by Curtis Kasefang, October 20, 2009

Following up on Bob Usdin’s excellent piece on the greening of the entertainment industry in the “Green Issue” (“How Green Is Green?” August 2008), I want to explore the broader picture, including the facility itself and the surrounding community.

So that we are all starting at the same place, I will use the generally accepted definition of sustainability. The most popular definition of sustainability can be traced to a 1987 UN conference that defined sustainable developments as those that “meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987 p.24, §27). While this provides a general framework of the ideal, more specifics may be garnered from the following corollary: “Sustainability integrates natural systems with human patterns and celebrates continuity, uniqueness, and placemaking,” (Early, 1993).

In general, many speak of sustainability as having three overlapping components: economic, social, and environmental. Theatres, by definition, score high on the social sustainability scale as places where cultures can mix, and they exist to communicate ideas, broaden our points of view, educate, and entertain. When looked at with a wider lens, theatres also play a role in the economic sustainability of the urban environment. The impact that performance facilities have on communities by fueling jobs in the hospitality, food service, and retail industries, as well as their supply chains, is well documented. Theatre Communications Group, among others, has published studies on theatres’ economic impact on the larger community. Environmental sustainability can further economic sustainability in the operation of a theatre. If we use resources more efficiently, we save money. Environmental sustainability is usually what we are speaking of when we talk about “being green.”

Working as a theatre consultant and chairing my city’s historic districts commission, I think about how buildings—new and existing—can support the goal of being sustainable. Although our measure of greenness for new construction or renovation is the US Green Building Council’s LEED New Construction certification, it doesn’t sufficiently acknowledge the value of reuse of a building. Preservationists and sustainability cheerleaders like to remind us that “the greenest building is the one you already have.” What they are so eloquently pointing out is that, to properly consider the sustainability of a project, one must look at the impact of materials used from raw material to the dump. By thinking of things in this fashion, one can assign a carbon footprint to materials and components. If you can avoid using materials by adapting something that exists, you have avoided a significant carbon impact, waste stream, and release of pollutants.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative has pointed out that, when one disturbs soil, one releases carbon. So in terms of minimizing carbon impact, the greenest choice is to renovate an existing facility. Demolishing an existing structure and building new also can be a triple impact in that one sends an existing building and cleared vegetation to our overburdened landfills. Shockingly, 25% of our waste stream is construction waste (Carl Elefante, director of Sustainable Design, Quinn Evans | Architects).

Another lesson from the preservation crowd is that renovation has a much larger economic impact on the local and regional community than new construction because costs from new construction generally divide to 50% materials and 50% labor. In rehabilitation projects, that figure is closer to 70% labor and 30% materials, and the skill level of that labor is higher. In renovation projects, the figures are somewhere in the middle (Don Rypkema, Place Economics).

These lessons hit on all three components of sustainability because reuse of an existing building can be a huge contributor to the local economy, and a green initiative makes this kind of project attractive to local governments and donors.

Existing facilities are not without challenges. Many, especially those built in the arts building boom of the 1970s, feature inefficient, poor quality systems that make them energy hogs. The challenge with these facilities is how to make them function better without racking up an unrecoverable payback period. Many also lack daylighting in support areas, create huge storm water runoff issues, and are monumental heat islands. Nationally, 50% of our building stock was constructed in the period from 1950 to 1979, when the cost of energy was not a significant consideration. Another 30% was built after 1979 (Elefante).

Performance facilities have the economic challenge of being expensive to build. In my 19 years experience as a theatre consultant, I can tell you that, whether your budget is $800 million or $500,000, there isn’t enough money to achieve the desired goals. Reuse of a facility, and/or a sustainability goal provides access to additional financing through tax credits and an additional field of potential donors.

Historically, operating and construction costs have been separate pools of money that were never discussed in the same meeting. As a consequence, we have deleted storage areas, picked less efficient equipment, and designed less efficient systems to save construction costs, when, in reality, we have actually just shifted costs to operations. We need to break that wall between operating costs and construction costs during design. Further, even the construction costs tend to get divided with performance equipment and viewed as an independent budget from the disciplines that install it, support it, and cool it.

The design criteria of the facility needs to incorporate sustainability as a goal from the outset of the project, and the project team needs to be given the requirement that its choices be reviewed in light of operating costs. In many cases, looking at a one-to-three year operating budget in conjunction with construction costs will be enough to allow the team to make environmentally responsible choices that can have fiscal benefits that last decades. Furthermore, part of the requirement for the design needs to be that it supports operational sustainability, not just sustainable construction.

Going green is a major theme at LDI2009, with a Green Day conference and Green Technology Today Pavilion (www.ldishow.com).

Curtis Kasefang is trained as a lighting designer and embarking on his 20th year as a theatre consultant. He is a principal with Theatre Consultants Collaborative, LLC. Prior to his consulting work, he was a production manager for a four-theatre complex. He also chairs his local Historic Districts Commission.

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Go to the Green Theater Initiative

Creating Sustainable Theatres: Part 1

This excerpt from Curtis Kasefang follows up on Bob Usdin’s August 2008 “How Green is Green?” Piece for LIve Design. Remember, November 2009 is Green Day at LDI.

In general, many speak of sustainability as having three overlapping components: economic, social, and environmental. Theatres, by definition, score high on the social sustainability scale as places where cultures can mix, and they exist to communicate ideas, broaden our points of view, educate, and entertain. When looked at with a wider lens, theatres also play a role in the economic sustainability of the urban environment. The impact that performance facilities have on communities by fueling jobs in the hospitality, food service, and retail industries, as well as their supply chains, is well documented. Theatre Communications Group, among others, has published studies on theatres’ economic impact on the larger community. Environmental sustainability can further economic sustainability in the operation of a theatre. If we use resources more efficiently, we save money. Environmental sustainability is usually what we are speaking of when we talk about “being green.”

via Creating Sustainable Theatres: Part 1.