Next Five Years

Using Rechargeable Batteries on Broadway

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance
by John Curvan and Danielle Heckman

Backstage at BILLY ELLIOT on Broadway.

Backstage at BILLY ELLIOT on Broadway.

As of October 2008, the Broadway company of WICKED switched from using regular alkaline batteries to nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeables in all of their wireless microphones.  They alternate between two sets of rechargeables to allow sufficient time for recharging.  These two sets of rechargeables generally last for ten months.

There are many ‘green’ benefits from using these batteries. With the old alkaline batteries, they used 38 AA’s per show. This resulted in 15,808 used batteries per year.  Now they only need to dispose of 96 NiMH batteries each year.  This will reduce, over the next five years, 78,560 batteries from entering the waste stream.  That works out to 3,959 lbs of solid waste – just a bit less than two tons!

The new batteries are also mercury-free, cadmium-free and lead-free.  They are in compliance with the European Union’s stricter RoHS standard (the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment).

The last green benefit is money.  They pay 29¢ for each alkaline AA battery.  That works out to $4,742 every year. The NiMH batteries are $2.65 per cell, and require five rechargers for $66.97 each.  Rechargeables cost $589.25 the first year and $254.40 each subsequent (each year they need new cells but not new chargers); this will save $22,103.15 over five years.

Julie’s Bicycle reports that rechargeable batteries have 32 times less impact on the environment (global warming, air & water pollution) than disposable batteries throughout their lifecycle, and that one rechargeable can replace 93 disposables.  The end result, of course, is that finite natural resources are reused, and the release of harmful chemicals (such as lead, mercury and cadmium) from improper disposal is prevented.

Add up the benefits – reliability, cost savings, greener profiles, and less pollution and waste – and it’s easy to see why better batteries is one of the wisest sustainability choices a production can make – and why theatres from as far away as Australia are reaching out to the BGA for information about how they too can go greener.

For more information, please look at our website, or email with specific questions.

Broadway Shows Using Rechargable Batteries: 

The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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Trailer Sows Ground With Creative Seeds

The rain didn’t stop us from having fun on Sunday November 20 when our 1951 Spartan Trailer served as a video booth for people to record their stories about food access and equity at Cornerstone Theatre’s Block Party. The party was the last in a two-week series of events called Creative Seeds – performances, discussions and learning opportunities – that kicked off a major Cornerstone Project, The Hunger Cycle – nine world premiere plays that will be performed over the next five years. In preparation for a show we plan for July, Sam Breen performed Bob Dylan’s poem “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie” accompanied by musician Kevin Robinson. Share YOUR stories of hunger and food at  Cornerstone will post them on their blog and use them to inspire their work on the Hunger Cycle. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

So you want to make radical work about radiation waste, for example, and whilst you write grant applications, you also want to build interest around the work, and avoid reliance on ‘committees’ effectively giving you permission to make the work by waiting for a grant to be approved.  You are an artist first and fund-raising is a task, not an occupation.

Yucca Mountain Glow, Eve Andrée Laramée, Digital Print Archival Ink/Paper

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andrée Laramée – United States Artists – Great art forms here.

This is the second really interesting project which a US-based artist has brought to my attention through the crowd-source fund-raising mechanism of UnitedStatesArtists (the other one was Suzanne Lacy’s The Performing Archive).  These are projects where the support is in the form of publicity, and sometimes match-funding.  (UnitedStatesArtists also offer Fellowships to selected artists.)  I suspect that to benefit from this site you still have to apply and in this case the money comes from your own list of contacts.

The UnitedStatesArtists web site says a few of interesting things,

All donations simultaneously support artists’ projects and the nonprofit mission of USA. The site is built on a joint fundraising model: 81% of every dollar pledged goes directly to the artist’s project, and 19% supports USA’s programs for artists and the site’s administration.

But it also says,

United States Artists has created a structure to identify America’s finest artists and to grant money to them in an efficient manner. Thanks to the generosity of its founders, USA’s operating expenses are fully funded for the next five years. This means 100% of donor contributions are directed to the artists we support.

It also says,

Our horizon line is not three, five, or 25 years, but rather 100 years and beyond. We are building a program that is privately funded, prestigious, and permanently endowed.

And it says,

Historically, public support for the arts and artists is unstable and unreliable; therefore USA will accept only private contributions.

And it doesn’t say,

by ‘private’ they mean individuals and corporations (so it is clear that Ford is a major contributor, but the other corporations are not clear.  Corporations should be explicit and some ethical limitations should be set).

Eve’s project is excellent and you really ought to support it: even $25 makes a difference.

No fund-raising is without hard work.  This is another approach to the problem.  It does make it more personal rather than remote and bureaucratic.  I do want this project to happen, and I did want Suzanne Lacy’s to happen, so I did contribute.  Art may belong to a ‘gift’ culture, but where does the gift come from?

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland