•  APDGreen Conversations around the globe

“If theatre is to be part of the most vital conversation humanity faces, then it has to change its practice.”
– Paddy Dillon, Theatre Green Book

APDGreen Conversations has been involved with several exciting ecoscenographic projects happening recently, focussing production designers on environmental solutions. In this Quarter’s newsletter, theatre designer Imogen Ross reports back about conversations and initiatives being set up across the world by film,TV, live events and live performance creatives who are actively championing environmental initiatives.

It has been a rather busy three months for Green Conversations. In the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow in October/November, many creatives were actively involved in developing imaginative responses to the increasing urgency of environmental responsibility in all sectors. Read more: Climate crisis | How theatremakers are responding to COP26

In the following section we look at the launch of Britain’s Theatre Green Book, The international Eco Design Charrette and World Stage Design 2022. Read on.

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The Theatre Green Book

One exciting development has been the launch of the Theatre Green Book in the UK. The Theatre Green Book has brought together theatre-makers and sustainability experts to create a common standard for making theatre sustainably. In three volumes it sets standards for making productions sustainably, for making theatre buildings sustainable, and for improving operations like catering and front of house.

The Theatre Green Book aims to bring that thinking together into one place, and develop it as straightforward, practical advice on the first steps everyone should be taking to make productions, theatre buildings and front-of-house operations sustainable. It has been written into three sections:

  • Sustainable Productions
  • Sustainable Buildings
  • Sustainable Operations (still in development)

The three guides share ideas about how theatre companies can adapt to the reality of the climate crisis and plan a route towards zero carbon, helping them understand the challenges, decide between priorities and work out how to achieve the most impact with the resources available. 

Co-writer/researcher Paddy Dillon has been in active conversation with sustainable theatre makers in Australia, the USA and Canada over the last three months, encouraging all countries to adapt the principles developed in the Theatre Green Book for our own specific situations. 

Paddy reminds theatre makers that it is important that sustainability practises are open source – we are made stronger by sharing knowledge rather than owning or stamping particular practises with a logo. To this end the Theatre Green Book is free to download and he encourages feedback from all who register to participate. I urge all APDG designers to head to the website and have a look at this thoughtful and vigorously researched guide.

PSI highly recommend that all designers bookmark the useful Resources page on the Centre for Sustainable Practices in the Arts web page to keep up to date with the latest green guides, carbon calculators and sustainability in film, TV and live performance websites that are being developed. The CSPA website is updated regularly and has the most accessible list of international sustainability tools I have found so far. 

PPS. Several green production guidebooks are currently in development in Australia at present (see APDGreen Conversations in the next newsletter for more) which is exciting to hear about. These will address practices specific to Australian theatres and touring conditions. Watch this space!

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Eco-Design Charrette

Over the last three months Triga Creative in collaboration with CSPA and Climate Change Theatre Action has held an international Eco-Design Charrette, focussing on encouraging designers to develop seed design concepts in response to 50 five minute plays, commissioned by the CCTA group with the theme ‘A Global Green Deal’.

Over the span of the Charrette each participating designer created a seed concept for at least one of the short plays. The intention was not to ask designers for fully fleshed out designs, but to begin a design concept with ecological thinking at the centre of the creative process. In order to support this work and create a context for the cross pollination of ideas, Triga Creative hosted a series of short play readings, design conversations and eco-scenography workshops.  See Eco-Design Charrette — Triga

The Eco-Design Charrette period was an opportunity to develop individual eco-scenographic practice alongside other designers and generate concepts for publication and exhibition with an international reach. All designs generated during the Eco-Design Charrette will be published in a two-part volume by the Centre for Sustainable Practices in the Arts (Books). The designs will also be exhibited at World Stage Design in Calgary in 2022 (WSD2022 Exhibition). The charrette will culminate the global participatory CCTA festival with an online closing celebration during which design work created will be shared with an international community.

Triga Creative have since hosted numerous online sessions with designers (both professional and student) around the globe, reading the plays, discussing design concepts and inviting guest speakers to bring their imaginations and sustainable practices to the project.

It has been a very stimulating three months sitting in on Professor Ian Garrett’s Sustainable Staging Techniques course at York University in Canada learning about The Canadian Green Tools & The Canadian Green Alliance Guidebook, listening to Paddy Dillon talk about the development of the UK’s Green Theatre Book, participate in the Australian-led Ecoscenography Reading Group (Globally Networked Learning was hosted by QUT’s Tessa Rixon and Griffith’s Dr Tanja Beer in collaboration with York University) and watch designers across the globe present their ideas and discuss concepts for new staging. 

APDGreen Conversations also joined the International Sustainable Art Tool/Guide Makers group that meets bimonthly to discuss and support the development of resource tools for sustainable theatre making.

The main theme of the Eco-Design Charrette has been about design investigations into new ways of thinking about what environmentally conscious design could be.

How do sustainability practices impact our design decisions? 

Designers everywhere are exploring the materiality of substances we use (and abuse) on stage, as well as pushing new technologies into serving dramaturgical story telling practises. Where will this take scenography in the future?

PS. APDGreen Conversations will present examples of seed designs generated by the Eco-Design Charrette in the next newsletter…

Lighting the Way was published by CSPA in 2021. It presents the diverse design responses to first Eco-Design Charrette in 2019.

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OISTATT WORLD STAGE DESIGN 2022

In October the OISTATT World congress occurred bringing together designers, theatre makers and academics to discuss the latest research and developments in theatre design. Environmental sustainability was given its own conference panel in lighting, set and costume in preparation for next year’s much anticipated OISTATT World Stage Design in Calvary, Canada.

See International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians for more information and how to register to attend.

Ecoscenography (a term spearheaded by Australian academic and theatre designer Tanja Beer) is one of the three pillars of World Stage Design 2022.

Triga Creative, CSPA and Climate Change Theatre Action will be forefronting the work of the Eco-Design Charrette participants  at the WSD 2022 Scenofest in both exhibition and printed publication form.

PS. World Stage Design is an international exhibition of contemporary scenography – the stage, costume, lighting, and sound design. Different from the nation-based exhibition of performance design at the Prague Quadrennial (PQ), WSD is a designer-focused international exhibition, in which the exhibits are submitted by individual designers from around the world.

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World Stage Design includes exhibitions, performances, workshops, and lectures by professional designers and will provide attendees and participants with an outstanding opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in theatrical design and performance.

The next WSD will be held on August 6-16, 2022 in Calgary, Canada.

WSD2022 Website

PPS.World Stage Design 2022 is seeking volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic, motivated, and have an interest in theatre and performance. If you are interested in volunteering for WSD 2022, please apply using the online registration form by January 28, 2022. Time required: Volunteer shifts will be 4 to 6 hours per day. A rotating shift schedule will be arranged according to your availability, skills, and work experience. Key Dates:  August 1 to 18, 2022.

There will also be the opportunity for longer term volunteer positions from July 5 to August 18, 2022, or August 1 to August 25, 2022. To apply to be part of the amazing WSD 2022 Volunteer team, please click here.

Please contact WSD Volunteer coordinators via email info.wsd2021@ucalgary.ca if you have any questions.

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There is always so much more to this conversation.

If you are interested in adding your professional design voice and suggestions to an APDG Sustainability Protocols group or future Green Conversations, please send an email to Imogen Ross or contact Rebecca Whittington to offer your assistance and find out more.

 

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