by Jini Stolk
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Charlie Deull (Co-Chair) and Rebekah Sale (Coordinator) of the Broadway Green Alliance. I learned a lot about how the Alliance works, shared information about Creative Trust’s Energy Conservation Audits Report – and began what I hope will be an ongoing collaboration and information exchange on greening theatres.
Broadway Green Alliance is an impressive and growing movement to save energy (and the planet) by the cumulative effect of millions of actions by theatre producers, touring companies, backstage hands, actors and more. BGA has discovered that it’s a definite win-win situation: the producers of Wicked are saving $25,000 a year through recharging onstage microphone batteries alone! 100% of Broadway marquee lights are now LED, for a 75% reduction in electricity costs.
Like Julie’s Bicycle in London, BGA was inspired by An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s paradigm-shifting film on climate change. The results in New York go well beyond cost savings and include unprecedented cooperation and information sharing, group purchases of cleaning and other products, and the discovery and celebration of more and more ways to reduce the carbon impact of doing theatre – a well recognized high energy-use undertaking.
There are lots of ideas that I intend to borrow for Toronto’s Green Theatres: informing audiences about the initiative through a common logo and inspirational ads; the practice of appointing green stewards within each company; and the consistent gathering of statistics and information on results.
We’re also hoping that Toronto’s Green Theatres will open the door to new resources for fixing leaky windows, repairing roofs, replacing outdated HVAC systems and, in general, improving the comfort and state of good repair of our heritage venues.
To do this, while participating in a world-wide movement for change, will be enormously exciting.