On a Green Stage

featured-brave-new-worldIn our world, staging an event isn’t necessarily about putting someone on a stage for a performance, but the truth is that a large segment of our industry actually is doing exactly that. Although sometimes overlooked in the audiovisual industry, many AV professionals and much of the innovation for technology comes from the production and touring functions of our industry. And when it comes to sustainability, those theater people are solidly leading the charge.

From Broadway to London to San Diego (yes, my little hometown!), a collection of theaters and professionals are focused on decreasing the environmental impact of their productions. While many of the guides and resources that they are creating pertain to the building features or venue management of a theater, there are also several notable guides and reports that I found incredibly interesting as it pertains to AV technology.

The first resource that is really an outstanding place to discover exciting projects and ideas is the UK-based Julie’s Bicycle. (Funny name, but seriously good suggestions, case studies and guidance.) You can find the site here. In a few hours of exploration, I discovered some outstanding resources. While some were more on the capricious side (gym members using stationary bikes to generate power packs to be carried to a local show), there were great ideas such as FocusTrack’s PowerTrack. PowerTrack calculates lighting power consumption cue-by-cue and compile into a database for analysis and tracking over time… plus give insight into the performance of the system for quality. This site is a great way to find a wide variety of case studies and concepts to support green initiatives.

In the United States, the Broadway Green Alliance is the most notable organization for learning about greener production. BGA is most useful for finding resources on lighting. There is a fantastic page where you can look at a list of greener alternatives for various types of lighting instruments. Also, some great data is available on rechargeable batteries, which were successfully put into play during the 2008 Wicked season. The rechargeable batteries have 32 times less impact on the environment (global warming, air and water pollution) than disposable batteries throughout their lifecycle, and one rechargeable can replace 93 disposables. Plus, they will ultimately save $22,103.15 over five years.

While slightly less oriented to the live production/event side of the business, the Producers Guild of America offers a site called “The Green Production Guide.” The resources are many, including cost benefit analysis, best practices and even sample crew memos. It’s definitely worth a visit.

In addition to the more obvious information on relevant AV technology, these resources offer dozens of ways to learn about designing and building scenic components, responsible procurement, writing environmental policies, managing a tour with a focus on sustainability… truly the list goes on! Have fun finding some inspiration and ideas from our cousins in production. As it so often happens, the creative solution you’ve been looking for may be waiting where you least expect it.