The first U.S. national Sustainability in Theater conference was presented by the Minnesota Theater Alliance and the Twin Cities Sustainable Theaters Group at Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis, April 30 and May 1, 2012. The event was Webcast live by QwikCast.TV on April 30, and 11 breakout panels were live online for interactive participation through Google+ Hangouts on May 1.
Locally, there were 90 attendees, including many individual artists, and representing 60 different organizations. Online, there were 30 attendees representing 20 different organizations, 9 U.S. states, and 4 countries. By utilizing remote technologies, 419,632 cubic feet of carbon emissions were saved, the equivalent of approximately five Olympic size swimming pools.
Keynote presentations were made by Terry Gips, Sustainability Associates; Stephen Rueff, The Clean Campaign; and Mary T'Kach, Ramsey County. International case studies were presented by Ian Garrett, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and included presentations by Arcola Theatre (UK), Festivals Edinburgh (UK), Julie's Bicycle (UK), York University (Toronto), Fisher Dachs Associates (WA), and Childsplay (AZ).
Follow-up activities to the conference include a summary to be presented by John Bueche, Leah Cooper, and Ian Garrett at the national Theatre Communications Group annual conference in Boston, June 2012; an online discussion and document forum for knowledge sharing in the industry; and plans to present the conference again. Local initiatives being discussed in Minnesota in response to the conference include expanding the membership of the Twin Cities Sustainable Theaters Group; more frequent convenings to share knowledge and plan collaborative projects; consideration of a shared reusable sets and props inventory, either physically or virtually; and collective purchasing of green materials.
The conference was planned and presented by a volunteer task force made up of artists and administrators from Bedlam Theatre, Bemidji State University, Brave New Workshop, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, CostumeRentals, Guthrie Theater and Minnesota Theater Alliance.
Presented by Minnesota Theater Alliance and the Twin Cities Sustainable Theatres Group, in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. Hosted by Brave New Workshop. Conference satellite hosts and partners: Theatre Communications Group, NY; L.A. Stage Alliance, CA; York University, Toronto; Fractured Atlas, NY. With support from Sustainability Associates and the Alliance for Sustainability. Webcasting by QwikCast. Graphic design by Kelsye A. Gould.
Special thanks to John Sweeney and Jenni Lilledahl for donating the Brave New Workshop space through the Project 824 Program and to the Guthrie Theater for supporting their many staff members who took time off to help make this possible.