FROM THOMAS: This week, as the earth's population is said to have grown to 7 billion people, the impact of more and more people on the planet means natural resources are drained further, and the over-consumption of materials and waste disposal become ever-more urgent issues for all of us. The arts can play a role in helping to address issues of sustainability. Here are some recent articles and resources you may find of interest.


How some UK arts groups are addressing environmental issues

The October 31st edition of the UK magazine ArtsProfessional contains a special feature section, "Thinking Green." If you aren't already a subscriber, you can read the stories below and more as part of a free 8-week trial subscription after you register online.

  • No more excuses: The rationale for making environmental sustainability a strategic priority, and the resources to help do it, are all available now. It's time to take action, says Sholeh Johnson of Julie's Bicycle
  • A laughing matter: Anna Peavitt describes Leicester Comedy Festival's attempt to reduce carbon emissions and encourage the wider comedy industry to act greener
  • Starting young: Environmental awareness is at the heart of the primary curriculum in schools. Ross Harvie explains how Proteus Theatre responded to that
  • Small steps - big rewards: The Theatres Trust is in the second year of a project helping 48 small- to medium-sized performing arts venues across London improve their environmental performance. Tim Atkinson reports on findings so far
  • From values to actions: In our quest for sustainability, some of our actions have been distinctly counter-productive, claims Nadine Andrews
  • Leading by example: Ben Twist examines the impact that Edinburgh's Festivals are having on the attitudes and behaviour of its audiences and its artists
  • Emerging concerns: Cynnal Cymru - Sustain Wales, an independent not-for-profit company, is working closely with the Welsh Government to promote understanding of and action on Sustainable Development
  • Greening the screen: Hosting the inaugural UK Green Film Festivals seemed like a natural way of showcasing the environmental work that has been going on behind the scenes at Glasgow Film Theatre. Rachael Loughlan explains.
  • On your bike: Margaret Jones describes Sherman Cymru's crusade to put walking, cycling and public transport at the heart of its efforts to save the planet.
  • Learning from each other: A partnership between wildlife managers and artists has enabled a programme of hands-on environmental learning to inspire school children and the wider community in the North East. Joe Dunne tells the story.  

Commentary: Ideas for mainstreaming sustainable theatre 

Posted on the website of Kilter Theatre in Bath (England), 6/17/11

When we set up Kilter back in 2007, there were very few theatre companies thinking about the environmental impact of their productions, and even fewer building SD messages into the content of their work. Well, times they are a changin'. In May, Kilter attended a day of discussion, debate and shared best practice on sustainability in theatre production coordinated by Julie's Bicycle -- a non-profit company working with the arts and creative industries to understand and reduce their environmental impacts. They produce research papers and practical guides, run events, workshops, seminars, training sessions and networks to maximise the reach and relevance of our work. Their theatre programme brings together commercial and subsidised theatres to improve environmental sustainability and to flourish in a low carbon economy. Here's some cool stuff they've put together that you might like:

  1. Measure your impacts using the IG Tool carbon calculators.
  2. Build green riders/clauses into contracts
  3. Join the JB Green Theatre Network and campaigns
  4. Do Industry Green for your office, festival, venue or rehearsal space and get the IG mark
  5. Be energy, food and water efficient and reduce waste
  6. Tell colleagues, clients and audiences what you're doing and why
  7. Encourage your audiences to travel green
  8. Ask for environmental information from your suppliers
  9. Choose environmental and ethical merchandise
  10. Use sustainable production processes


Toronto's Signal Theatre takes part in carbon footprint study

Naomi Brand, The Dance Current, Nov/Dec 2011 issue 

Signal Theatre's newest production, from thine eyes choreographed by Artistic Director Michael Greyeyes, is part of an environmental research project led by York University Theatre professor Peter McKinnon. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada-funded study is aimed to determine the environmental impact of a live theatre presentation by measuring and tracking the carbon consumption of Signal Theatre's production and comparing that against a "phantom" production conceived without any consideration for environmental impact. from thine eyes was created with the intention to minimize the carbon footprint in all aspects of its production and was presented at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre in September.

More on this story from York University's website: Greyeyes' department colleague James McKernan [served] as technical director for the production: "Building on existing data and tools already in use in the construction industry, we're using from thine eyes as a test piece to create a budgeting tool that tracks the carbon footprint of a show, similar to the way designers track financial expenditures on their materials. We're learning that sustainability at this stage in the game is all about long-term planning. We've found that the eco-option is rarely more expensive - it's just sometimes harder to find and more time-consuming to buy. Hopefully, as the demand grows and as designers learn the best sources for these materials, it will become even easier to reduce the impact of a production on our environment."

Please consider the environment before printing out this email.  Thanks.
YOU'VE COTT MAIL is a free service for professionals in the arts.  Emails are sent most weekdays. 
If you are not already on the distribution list and would like to sign up, please click here:

Join Our Mailing List      Follow me on Twitter     
Click here to view an archive of recent past editions of "You've Cott Mail."