The industry is making great strides in ensuring the profession of technical theatre is more sustainable for the future. From LED lights to recycled carpet, the world of technical theatre is greener than ever in both its products and its practices.
"Re-use," part of the green mantra "reduce, re-use, recycle" is a projection company's staple term. USITT 2018 exhibitor Scribe Entertainment focuses on large scale rapidly deployable projection systems. These screens are re-usable for use in many different venues and can be fit to meet the needs of productions and even museum exhibits.
"We eliminate the need for a variety of backdrops, storage, labor for creation, and installation of the drops...creating efficiencies," said Bill Gregory of Scribe Entertainment. "Once the screen is set up, it operates just like a computer monitor. You can run anything on it from Powerpoint to isadora to Qlabs."
Due to its sustainable nature, projection and digital media have come to the forefront as a way to display content, backdrops, and other artwork in entertainment. Poster sessions for USITT 2018 will subsequently be presented digitally on touch screens, removing the use of cardboard poster boards completely for a fully digital and immersive experience.
Paul Brunner, Associate Professor of Theatre Technology at Indiana University Bloomington, has noticed a trend in the desire for more sustainable practices within the industry. "Sustainable design and production in theatre requires local solutions customized for each theatre and company," Brunner said. "I have observed an increase in professional theatre organizations wanting to be greener, and they are looking to hire people who have experience and/or interest in better environmental practices."
A simple, yet fool-proof solution for reducing energy within technical theatre is the use of LED lights. LEDs are directional light sources that eliminate the need for reflectors, and are able to use light and energy much more efficiently. USITT 2018 sponsor and exhibitor InterAmerica Stage, Inc. used LED lights on their SkyDeck, which lit the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Skydots, new LEDs introduced this spring, are used with Skydeck for a more "giant pixel"-like effect. By using these energy efficient lights, larger entertainment venues, such as arenas, can be lit more efficiently.
"I think theatre and performing arts have a responsibility to our audience and communities," Brunner said. "We have to model responsible, thoughtful, positive practices that consider our environmental impact."
What are you doing in your venue to bring in sustainable products and implement greener practices?
Feature photo provided by Rebecca Taylor, MSG Photos