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I am designing the summer season for Papermill Theatre with North Country Center for the Arts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this summer. The second production of the season was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, directed by Kevin Hill, with Erik Anderson as the Technical Director.
Kevin specifically asked for a curved balustrade unit that could be moved around the stage by performers. This did not want to be simple wooden spindles. It really needed to be the kind of big, cement balustrade that would be present at an upscale hotel on the Mediterranean in France. This particular season is short on time and money for building. This is our first season in our brand new facility. Lathing Styrofoam or wood was not an option, and any kind of ready-made product that I found was too expensive. Then I had the idea to use soda bottles and water bottles.
An online database and ad system is now in place allowing theatre companies to exchange and reuse materials. The site was created and conceived by Matt Kizer at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. It is called GreenTheatre.net and is a developing project with a committee of professionals from across the United States.
The United States Institute for Theatre Technology held their conference this year in Charlotte, North Carolina.
While there, I had the fortune of attending the Plenary Session on Sustainable Production . Representatives from three different organizations discussed current efforts to develop more sustainable theatre practices. These included Jeff Lemire and Anthony Runfola from Childsplay, a theatre company for young audiences in Arizona and a recipient of a Think It! Grant from TCG; Charles Deull, co-chair of the Broadway Green Alliance; and Richard Cuthbert, director of engineering and co-founder of Global Design Solutions. The panel discussed changes to design and production practices in order to reduce and reuse materials, and ways to instill more sustainable practices within the industry and in the everyday life of theatre patrons.
A video was made of this session. It is available on the USITT website, at: http://www.usitt.org/2011VideoSelection2.aspx
(There is more than one video available at that address. Choose “sustainability session,” and then play.)