Last night I had the pleasure of speaking as part of a panel discussion called Directing Green, co-hosted by the Broadway Green Alliance and the SDC. It was terrific evening on an important topic. The purpose of the evening to generate some ideas and better practices for how directors specifically could launch greener initiatives. The list we created last night will become integrated into a larger page, specifically for directors, which will be posted to the BGA website.
That said I wanted to highlight three things I learned from last night's proceedings.
Allen is a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He's currently working with the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, the Academy Awards and countless others to make their productions more sustainable. He brought with him (from memory) a raft of statistics and observations that I had no prayer of writing down quickly enough. But Allen painted a backdrop that created the dire consequences of our current environmental situation. The picture is indeed bleak, but the message in the end is a hopeful one. Much like severe obesity, we didn't get to this place in one year or even one decade. It might take decades for us to climb out of the hole we've dug, but using millions of little actions, we might be able to do just that.
For those who don't know, Donyale Werle is a Tony Award winning set designer. Her work can still be seen in Peter and the Starcatcher, which was designed and made of entirely found items and constructed by Showman Fabricators. Donyale is one of those designers who puts her money where her mouth is. Rather than simply talk about the need for more sustainable practices she completely integrates the idea of sustainability and bakes it right into her work at the highest levels of theater.
Andrea Lauer is a costume designer who's work can currently be seen on Broadway in Bring It On: The Musical and the national tour of American Idiot. She spoke about changing the process of costume design to make it less about being a consumer and more about fulfilling the needs of the script. Specifically, does each actor need to have two of the exact same article of clothing? Perhaps they always need a jacket, but can it be two variations on the same jacket? That variation allows her to source from vintage shops, rather than have to build two identical pieces from scratch. But her point was really clear, it's all about process and if we're willing to re-think our processes we can find places to make them less about consumption and more about execution.
In the end, we generated a ton of thought about this topic and that's probably the most important thing. We have to keep these ideas close to mind. Our culture is built around consumption, so every time we can put values of conservation and sustainability out front we change the culture, even if it's just a little bit.