As the financial climate gets ever chillier, much has been said about the need for theatre companies to band together if they are to survive the coming cuts. So it is good to see that a new spirit of cooperation is now developing across the industry – albeit in response to an entirely different climate. The curiously named Julie’s Bicycle – an organisation that exists to help the creative industries lower their greenhouse gas emissions – has recently announced the launch of a “UK-wide theatre programme” aimed at helping theatres play their part in the fight against climate change.
Of course, for some theatres, an interest in the environment is nothing new. There have been individual efforts going on for a number of years now. Some companies are building theatres that are literally recycled, the National Theatre has been working with Philips to reduce its energy consumption and east London’s Arcola theatre has made itself the industry leader with its hugely impressive Arcola Energy project.
Yet what is particularly exciting about this new initiative is that it seeks to foster a much greater level of cooperation across the industry as a whole. The aim of Julie’s Bicycle is to bring together producers from both the commercial and subsidised sectors, and they have already attracted some of the biggest names on both sides of the theatrical divide. A steering committee for the project has been set up, chaired by Nick Starr, the executive director of the National Theatre, which boasts representatives from organisations as diverse as Cameron Mackintosh Productions, Glyndebourne, the National Theatres of Scotland and Wales, the RSC and many others.
Sian Alexander, Julie’s Bicycle’s associate director for theatre, says this shows that there is a “huge appetite” in the industry for tackling this issue. The plan is that companies will share information and ideas so that eventually Julie’s Bicycle will be “able to produce an annual report for theatre on GHG emissions and progress towards targets based on the data collected by the industry”. Given how secretive theatres can be about their plans and operations, it is good to see that differences are being overlooked in the face of this major challenge.
In fact, as the Stage recently explained, Julie’s Bicycle has already launched one major report about the impact that touring theatre has on the environment. They calculated that in 2009 British touring companies produced approximately 13,400 tonnes of greenhouse gases: equivalent to flying round the world 2,680 times. In one sense this is good news – Alexander points out that this figure is not as high as they had initially feared it might be – but she adds that there are also many areas where things could be improved.
As well as working directly with theatres, the organisation has provided a number of resources on its websites to enable companies to measure their impact themselves. These include a free carbon calculator, which theatres can use to work out what their carbon footprint is, and a range of other advice on how to become more energy-efficient.
Recent years have seen a range of shows – from Filter’s Water to the Bush’s Contingency Plan – that have sought to tackle climate change from an artistic point of view. So it’s good to see theatres attempting to be green not just in word, but in action too.
The summer edition of the CSPA Quarterly is now open for submissions! The issue will go to print late August.
For this issue, we’re interested in exploring the sustainability of digital work. What is the life-cycle of digital art? How can digital media impact performance? Is digital art-making “green?” What is lost when work is in the digital realm? And, what is gained? What happens when technology advances? And, as always, what is being sustained (the earth, the artist, the community)?
The CSPA Quarterly explores sustainable arts practices in all genres, and views sustainability in the arts through environmentalism, economic stability, and cultural infrastructure. The periodical provides a formal terrain for discussion, and seeks to elevate diverse points of view.
Please send your opinion articles, project case studies, researched essays, and photos to: Miranda@SustainablePractice.org. The deadline for consideration is July 23, 2010.
Originally intended as a 15-minute DVD extra, Greenlit became an insightful 50-minute movie about the challenges of environmentalism, both in the film community, and the world at large. It even had a green score — Bailey enlisted composer Craig Richey to make instruments out of recycled water bottles and egg cartons. “I ended up learning so much that I had to let other filmmakers know how much we were wasting,” says Bailey, whose composting and waste management efforts were boosted by coproducer Lauren Selman, who heads up an environmental consulting firm called Reel Green Media. “We shot in a rural part of Oregon where there was no access to green technology, so we had to be creative,” says Selman. “Instead of using water bottles on set, we lugged our own water jugs.”
via Project GREENLIT – Denver Magazine – July 2010 – Denver, CO.
Featuring sound selections by Luc Meier with exhibition artists Jorge Bachmann, Agnes Szelag, Ben Bracken, Alan So, Suzanne Husky, Sam Easterson, Alyce Santoro, Reenie Charrière, Vaughn Bell, Elin Øyen Vister, Jessica Resmond
In Soundwave Festival’s most ambitious presentation ever, Green Sound mounts a special month-long exhibition and performance residency at The Lab. The Illuminated Forest is an imaginary world inside the gallery walls of San Francisco’s preeminent experimental art space that features a large immersive multi-media and interactive exhibit and performance installation from the collaborative minds of Agnes Szelag, Ben Bracken, Jorge Bachmann and Alan So, and environmental artist works by Vaughn Bell, Alyce Santoro, Sam Easterson, Reenie Charrière, Suzanne Husky, Elin Øyen Vister, and Jessica Resmond.
The main installation is manufactured by projections, sensors, MAX/MSP, sound, sculptural shapes and light/shadow where visitors become its inhabitants and part of its ecosystem: their presence activates both visual and auditory sensations, and leaves an imprint on the environment long after they are gone. It demonstrates our own connection to the environment and how we are all interconnected. Our presence in the environment affects this space and is forever changed (for better and for worse) with our temporal presence. This experiential exhibit actively reminds people what we do has impact: on our own lives, on others, and the world around us, both in the present and the future. It is a human reminder of the life existing outside our urban borders, its importance, and the power it can play in our lives while raising questions about a natural world lost.
The Forest will host experiential performances by some of the most compelling local, national and international artists and musicians. Inspired sound purveyors from across the sonic spectrum will explore themes of reinvention and recycling, real and imagined natural environments and creatures, endangered species, water, environmental awareness and responsibility, plantlife/animal life, and other artist imaginations.
In various eddies around the forest, artists re-imagine a place with Suzanne Husky’s textile trees and soft rocks, Sam Easterson’s animal-borne imaging, Vaughn Bell’s moving and wall mountains, Alyce Santoro’s Sonic Fabric, Jessica Resmond’s birds nests, Reenie Charrière’s Washed Up waterfall and Elin Øyen Vister’s Soundscape Røst installation on the birds of Røst archipelago in northern Norway.
Join us in celebrating the opening of The Illuminated Forest featuring sound selections by Luc Meier.
Born in Vevey, Switzerland, Luc Meierhas entertained an actively peripheral relationship to sound over the past decade. As a journalist, he has reported on contemporary music practices for magazines, newspapers and websites in Switzerland and elsewhere. At the same time, he has helped stage musical encounters and events in Switzerland, Japan, Korea and the U.S. Luc currently manages the art + technology programs of swissnex San Francisco (www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org) and has organized several sound art events in this capacity. Along the way, Luc has occasionally provided background music for the tinnitus crowd, with DJ-sets showing a clear bias towards accidental coherence over planned linearity. His collages typically run the gamut from the inaudible edges of electro-acoustics to Mexican techno via a shabby gotha of wayward tunesmiths and hauntologists. http://www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org/
Jorge Bachmann is a photo-based, multimedia and sound artist. He has collected field recordings exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life. He creates sound atmospheres meant for deep listening and often composed in symbiosis with the sculptural installations exploring social and sensual constructs and experiences. [ruidobello] has exhibited and performed in North America, Europe, Japan and South America for the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, MoBu Dance Group, and Soundwave Festival, amongst others. He has been Soundwave’s Technical Director and Resident Artist since 2005. http://anihilo.com/ http://ruidobello.ch/
Agnes Szleg’s music, video and installation art has been featured in national and international festivals, on the radio, television, and in podcasts. Whatever medium she is working in, Agnes creates work which focuses on change and transformation – the glue can be as important as the pieces it holds together. Agnes received her MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College and her BA in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University. Her solo EP No Summer or Winter on Aphonia was hailed as “a distinctive voice in the electro-acoustic field” by Textura, and “gorgeous” by XLR8R. Agnes currently lives and works in the Bay Area. http://www.aggiflex.com/
For the past 15 years,Ben Bracken has been creating a unique sonic language utilizing electronics, acoustic sound sources, guitar, and field recordings. Interested in the possibilities of echo-relocation in sound-based art, his work has oscillated between performance and installation, often blurring the lines between the two. The location of the event becomes an active participant, intimately shaping the nature and direction of each work. In the spring of 2006, Ben received his MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College. He currently resides in Oakland, CA and works at Cycling ’74, the developers of Max/MSP and Jitter.
As an artist, designer, producer and curator,Alan So has created and supported innovative art for over 15 years. Alan founded ME’DI.ATE in 1998 to provide a forum for diverse artists to showcase works to a world in desperate need of innovative ideas. In 2002 he began his exploration of sound as an artistic medium and, in 2004, launched the Soundwave festival. Soundwave has been featured in numerous media outlets, including San Francisco Magazine (Best of 2007 Award), Resonance FM (United Kingdom), PBS, and BBC. Alan has exhibited his work in the US and Canada and is concerned with issues of identity, social structure and place with an interest in the experimentation of form and concept. He has organized exhibitions and events Online, in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and his native Canada where he received his BDesign from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. http://www.me-di-ate.net
Bay Area multimedia artist Suzanne Huskyobtained her MFA from Ecole des Beaux- Art of Bordeaux and has participated in artist residencies in Europe and the United States. Her art addresses environmental problems related to the exploitation of natural resources, landscape use and globalization. Suzanne’s sculpture, drawings and photography question the environmental, social and political agenda of the mainstream media. Her work observes and analyses in an inventory form that allows the nature of the subject to unveil and reveal its complexity. In the Bay Area, her work has been exhibited at the de Young Museum, Southern Exposure, Intersection For The Arts, The Lab, Headland Center for the Arts. http://www.suzannehusky.com/
As a video naturalist,Sam Easterson is best known for his animal-borne imaging. His work has been exhibited in numerous museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, and featured on television networks, including the Sundance Channel and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Sam also works as a museum professional; recently he developed video content for the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity at the Royal Ontario Museum. A graduate of The Cooper Union, he also received an MS in Landscape Architecture (University of Minnesota), and has received grants from the Durfee Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, and others. Sam is a recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Prize. http://www.sameasterson.com/
Alyce Santoro, an internationally noted conceptual and sound artist with a background in science and scientific illustration, is a kind of archivist – a compulsive collector of snippets of the natural environment (auditory and otherwise) – who incorporates her specimens into her art. Her multimedia “philosoprops” and “subtle reality technologies” employ sound and video, assemblage, and performance as part of a grand investigation into everyday phenomena. Santoro is best known as the inventor of SONIC FABRIC, an audible textile woven from recycled audiocassette tape. SONIC FABRIC has been the source of exhibitions and performances in museums, festivals and galleries around the world with features from the New York Times to the Sundance Channel to People Magazine. Her works are in private collections of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, FIT Museum New York, FIDM Los Angeles and that of Phish percussionist Jon Fishman and legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Reenie Charrière: I am an investigator of the environment surrounding my everyday actions. Art is a way to be present and reveal what may be blurred and discarded. I am a tourist wherever I go. I invite others to tour unadvertised locations, which may be right around the corner. I am most interested in the potential of under-noticed sites, and the juxtaposition of what is natural to what is synthetic. I look for what has gathered over time, and what continues to develop. Light, and line motivate the way things are situated in space. Living in the West but not being originally from here has broadened my sense of vastness and the potential of open spaces. Being overly curious and having my studio in Jack London Square has led me to collect from the Oakland estuary and compelled me to experiment with what is there, the tides, the salty water, and the tremendous washing up of plastic. I am deeply concerned about the pollution accumulating all around me. As a mixed media artist my work may take on a multi-sensory form in sculptural installation amplified by video or digital projections.
Vaughn Bell creates interactive projects and immersive environments that deal with how we relate to our environment. She has exhibited her sculpture, installation, performance, video and public projects internationally. Most recently, Vaughn created a commission for Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and another for the Edith Russ Site for New Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany. Her work has been featured in Artnews, Afterimage, and Arcade Journal, among others. Vaughn received her MFA from the Studio for Inter-related Media at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She currently is based in Seattle. http://www.vaughnbell.net
Child of Klang aka Elin Øyen Vister is a Norwegian sound artist and composer. She has studied sound engineering, music technology, and popular musicology in Norway and England. She is also known under the alias DJ Sunshine, one of Norway’s most versatile and eclectic DJ´s. She was one of the pioneers on the Norwegian drum´n´bass scene in the 90íes. She has organized, curated and run festivals, festival programs and club programs nationwide and she has played records all over the world from Svalbard to Costa Rica. http://childofklang.wordpress.com http://www.myspace.com/childofklang
Jessica Resmond is a French American artist who received her BFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Resmond’s work is conceptual and tactile. Its main interest lies within the existing tensions between biological rhythms & organisms, and the fast pace technology/economy driven global landscape. With a scientific background in molecular biology and a deep interest for nature’s ever evolving creative designs, her process, is one of constant research. Borders and boundaries are where exchanges take place, where transformation is possible and new understanding arise. Her work includes site specific installations, interactive or multimedia sculptures and experimental collaborations.
via Soundwave Festival ((4)) Green Sound » July 9.
Ain’t nothing better than being in a room full of smart people and listening to them talk about the smart things they’ve done. With smart words and smart brains. And especially now, when the green conferences are sprouting up every-which-where, like volunteer plants or something, you can listen to the experienced and the earthy-heroic, all at once. Smart and savory, your basic brain food.
That official part explains the special certificate bestowed upon the conference by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner. But it also explains the style of the conference itself. Held in the shiny-green David Brower Center, bereft of plastic bottles but packed with compostables and a small altar, Elements was a gathering of some of the women who have been doing this eco-art thing for a long time. In some cases, 10 years. In some cases, 40. In most cases, before you figured out that it was a pretty cool thing.
And so we heard from Susan Leibovitz Steinman and the Recology Artists in Residence. And so we heard from Tierney Thys and Andree Singer Thompson. In the meantime, the presenters talked through a stream of technical glitches, and you could make art postcards and trade them, and we all looked under our seats when somebody lost a notebook. Because despite the fact that much of the work discussed was ground-breaking, iconic or simply Hella Good, the focus never strayed from its purpose. That we were here for the art, not the artist, that we were gathered for a purpose, not a form.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Nobody was barefoot. There were no drum circles. There was a bit of a libation, but no sage. The refreshing thing lacking was the ego. The puffed-out-chest of “I’m smart and here to talk about my smartness.” Which I usually love. It was refreshingly absent. It was, simply, all about the work, and the places the work was from.
Maybe it’s just humbling when your power-point doesn’t work, or when you know everyone in the room by name, or when you just get to make art in service to the planet. And it doesn’t have anything to do with being a lady. But regardless, Leibovitz-Steinman said a smart thing: “Many young women today think they don’t need to be feminist . . . but the fact is we’re standing on the shoulders of these women.” She’s got a chart that lays it all out for you, all the way back to Silent Spring, the work of another grounded woman. Was she even a feminist?
I’ll be taking tomorrow to go over more of the smart details, but for now, my brain is fed.
It’s been the story that has covered the financial press for weeks. BP’s involvement in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has dominated the news, sent its share price plummeting, and erupted a row of diplomacy between the US and the UK over the treatment of the oil giant.
But in all the bad news perhaps there is one area of hope to come from all of this. And that’s in the area of green technology and innovation.
Vinod Khosla, of Khosla Ventures recently said that he believed the BP oil spill would spur innovation in the green technology market and provide a once in a lifetime window of opportunity to develop and build new and sustainable technologies as a result. Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems has a track record of investing in winners making his comments worth taking notice of. Could this be a turning point?
Perhaps we are entering a new age where it’s not warfare but the environment that will drive innovation
Evidence of new ideas spurred on by the disaster have been seen close to home. The BBC website asked readers to come up with novel ways to find a solution to plugging the gap. Ex-plumbers and would-be inventors all came up with a variety of solutions to deal with the problem from a giant umbrella to a larger version of the technology used to plug a leak in household plumbing. None would work, but what’s promising in all of this is that the oil spill has managed to capture the imagination of innovators and would be inventors.
Courtesy of Infrogmation of New Orleans
So the question that this raises is what fosters such innovation in the light of such adversity? In a world where technology has generally been spurred on through wars and subsequent technologies spun off from military hardware, perhaps we are entering a new age where it’s not warfare but the environment that will drive innovation. And why is the BP oil spill different from the many others corporate accidents that occur?
Firstly, the locality of the accident to the US and to Silicon Valley will play a big part in the regions industries and venture capitalists focusing on green technologies. When the problem is on your doorstep, and the environmental impact of the gulf spill certainly is on America’s, it makes the problem local, personal and the need to solve it becomes greater. America has long been criticised for not doing enough in terms of the environment but this will all have to change following these recent events if they are to continue to enjoy the landscape and ecosystems that many have taken for granted for so long.
The second reason is that things can’t actually get much worse, which leaves innovators with a golden opportunity to make mistakes. Sir Harold Evans, the legendary journalist and commentator on innovation discussed this very concept in his talk here at the RSA a few weeks ago. He discussed that the myth of the “Eureka” moment has discouraged many would be innovators and inventors to consider themselves not good enough with their ideas. The process of innovation as described by Evans is one in which mistakes are allowed, if not essential, as part of the process of developing and bringing forward new inventive ideas. So in the Gulf of Mexico things can hardly get worse. This gives a golden opportunity to try out new solutions and develop and innovate them. Entrepreneurs and would be inventors can work and trial the unthinkable, knowing that failure is only one of the steps to finding success. This will allow for more bolder and creative solutions to be tried which Kholsla and many others argue will be the place in which we find some of the great technologies that will change the environment and our society.
From an entrepreneur’s view, the green energy industry has just received a cash injection of £20 billion dollars and unrivalled government support
Thirdly, view this crisis from the eyes of on entrepreneur and it’s an industry that has just received a cash injection of £20 billion dollars and unrivalled government support to help technology – not bad conditions for any would be industry. This opens up opportunities for the rate of change and rate of innovation in the green tech sector to develop far beyond what has been seen previously. If we look at the development and innovation of the internet, new entrepreneurs and new minds accelerated the use of technologies and changed the industry from dial-up to the super fast broadband we have today. This same pattern of development could be spurred on from the BP oil spill as a variety of new entrepreneurs who follow the mantra “that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste” enter the market supported by venture capitalists in Silicon Valley who have a personal interest in cleaning up the environment because it’s right on their doorstep.
So even in the face of one of the world’s most significant disasters, we can find hope for the future, and for our planet. Localised problems spur on localised innovation, and a space to make mistakes may well see the development of technologies that help combat climate change and ensure that we have the tools to deal with future environmental disasters. Let’s hope that one thing that comes from this is that we don’t waste this opportunity to change the face of the green technologies industry or even more importantly create a new wave of green entrepreneurs committed to developing technologies in this sector.
The Mayor’s Green Theatre Plan outlines how London theatres can and should reduce their CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025.
Arcola Theatre work with production companies to help them reduce their environmental impact without compromising artistic vision and here are our Top Ten Tips to producing a low impact theatre production.
There are three main areas where you can reduce your production’s environmental footprint: physical production, company activity and audience behaviour.
1. Re-use – decisions you make at the start of production will have a big impact on waste at the end. Can the materials be re-used, or at least recycled? – Careful handling and fitting of the set contributes its ease of re-use.www.scenerysalvage.com will collect your set & they also sell salvaged items – worth a look if you need cheap doors, furniture, casters, electrical equipment etc. Aim to avoid landfill as nothing is ever really ‘thrown away’.
2. Purchasing – key are timber and paint (see below) but the Mayors Green Procurement Code has useful resources for ensuring minimal environmental impact if buying new items: www.greenprocurementcode.co.uk
3. Timber – try to source timber that is recycled or, if new, FSC certified. Try Leaside Wood Recycling Project for cheap recycled timber – www.lwrp.org.uk
4. Paint – avoid harmful airborne chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in ordinary paint, a big contributor to climate change, and many of the chemicals are also highly toxic and linked with health problems such as respiratory disease, asthma, dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, skin disorders, eye irritation, liver and kidney damage and cancer: www.sustainablebuild.co.uk/NonToxicPaint.html
Switch the rig on as near to the performance as possible and promptly turn it off at the end of a performance. Also see White Light’s Green Guide to Lighting – www.whitelight.ltd.uk/greenguide
6. Recycling – Try to find a reuse for materials wherever possible, or implement recycling schemes for sets and props, batteries, lamps and costumes. Use www.freecycle.org to donate costumes, props etc. (also see point 1)
7. Travel – encourage company members to cycle or use public transport. Plan meetings/rehearsals to minimize travel requirements where possible.
8. Electricity use – turn off lights when not in use / when vacating rehearsal space.
9. Waste – use the theatre recycling and composting facilities. Where appropriate report waste to a member of the Arcola Sustainability team who will support in its sustainable disposal.
10. Audience travel – publicise your sustainability efforts and encourage green travel methods on marketing materials. Market to, and engage, local audiences.
What do you think about our Top Ten Tips? Would you add or change anything? Let us know!
LOS ANGELES —The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) awarded the first CSPA Fringe Award for Sustainable Production to Presque Pret a Porter, produced by Dreams by Machine on Sunday night at the Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards Ceremony. The award was designed to reward ecologically sustainable practice in the production of a fringe performance.
The award was adjudicated by the CSPA Directors, Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright, along with select CSPA affiliates. The recipient was chosen based on an online data form created by the CSPA, and informed by the Mo’olelo Green Theater Choices Toolkit.
“The CSPA is not just another ‘go green’ organization,” said Wright at the ceremony Sunday night. “We hope to gather and distribute information that aids in the sustainability of the earth, the sustainability of our communities, and the sustainability of our art. And so, the purpose of this award is not to recognize the greenest production. Our objective in offering this award is to ask questions of ourselves, as theater artists, about the greater impact of our work on the world around us. The winner of this year’s award not only limited material waste in production, but asked audience members to consider sustainability in their lives.”
Laura Brody, this year’s winner, stated the primary goal of her project as “to create awareness of and to encourage re-use through entertaining and participatory demonstration.” In the performance, materials were re-purposed from thrift stores and cutting room floors. Materials were donated by friends and colleagues of the project. And, the musician’s set up was made of found objects strung together to create a percussion rig.
While debuting at the Hollywood Fringe, the CSPA Fringe Award for Sustainable Production will also be offered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, where the CSPA will be presenting a panel on sustainability in theater at Fringe Central in Edinburgh on Monday Morning, August the 16th.
“We’ve been working since we started the CSPA on how to provide resources and guidelines for sustainable production to the theatrical community. Both Miranda and myself come from theatrical backgrounds and it is important to us. The fringe festival model provides an ideal platform to introduce these ideas and the award due to the expectations and scale of the shows. It is easier to start the conversation at a fringe level of production than Broadway. By starting with the Hollywood Fringe, our local and the newest fringe festival, and immediately moving to the Edinburgh Fringe, the largest and oldest fringe in the world, we are looking to create the greatest visibility and excitement around the introduction of ideas of sustainability to the largest number of theater artists at home and away,” says Executive Director Ian Garrett.
“Even more so than we want someone to score perfectly on the questionnaire we use to evaluate shows, we want theater artists to look at the questions and think about how it helps to guide their thinking about sustainability in the their art. There may be questions asked in ways they hadn’t thought, and we hope they ask these questions of their next project and the project after that.”
The CSPA was founded by Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright in early 2008 after individually working on each of the programs that now make up the multi-faceted approach to sustainability separately. The organization provides a network of resources to arts organizations, which enables them to be ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence. Past and Present partnerships have included the University of Oregon, Ashden Directory, Arcola Theater, Diverseworks Artspace, Indy Convergence, York University, LA Stage Alliance and others
Julie’s Bicycle launched its theatre programme last week for reducing carbon emissions. JB‘s chief executive Alison Tickell said the theatre sector had been ‘short on vision, long on doubt’. What needed to be done, she said, was ‘to find a few priorities’ and ‘to commit on a major scale’. It was this thinking that lay behind the publication today of a new pamphlet Moving arts: managing the carbon impacts of our touring that gives the data on the most effective steps to take.
Nick Starr, executive director of the National Theatre, announced the names of the Theatre Group that he would chair. The list was impressive:
Nicholas Allott, managing director, Cameron Mackintosh; Gus Christie, executive chairman, Glyndebourne; Paule Constable, lighting designer; Vicky Featherstone, artistic director, National Theatre of Scotland; Vikki Heywood, executive director, Royal Shakespeare Company; Kate Horton, executive director, Royal Court Theatre; Judith Knight, director, Artsadmin; John McGrath, artistic director, National Theatre Wales; Andre Ptaszynski, managing director, Really Useful Group; Rosemary Squire, joint chief executive, Ambassador Theatre Group; Ben Todd, executive director, Arcola; Steve Tompkins director, Haworth Tompkins; and Erica Whyman, chief executive, Northern Stage
As the keynote speaker at the National this morning, Jonathan Porritt, applauded the practical well-researched approach that Julie’s Bicyclehad taken. He went on to widen the discussion, warning the audience against presenting climate change in apocalyptic terms. He thought the last government’s CO2 campaign that had used a bedtime story to convey the message was ‘shockingly awful’.
There were a number of good bits of news. He gave three examples. The new report that 98% of scientists concur with the science on climate change showed ‘Jeremy Clarkson is wrong’. He also couldn’t recall a time when ‘the innovation pipeline looked so good’. And the business case for an environmental strategy was something that ‘we had hardly started to understand’. His example was the huge advances made by Wal-Mart since its chief executive ‘got the green bug’.
But these upsides, Porritt said, left one thing missing, which was particularly relevant to today’s audience. Science was not enough. The Enlightenment idea that the truth would set us free has proved illusory. What’s needed is creative talent. ‘How can we fire up the sense of empathetic connectedness between people?’ he asked, ‘It makes the creative industries absolutely pivotal.’