Theatre and the Environment

April 8, 2009

Theatre and the Environment Panel

(And an excerpt of a work in progress)


Martin E. Segal Theatre Center

The CUNY Graduate Center,

365 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10016-4309


April 23rd, 2009, 6:30 pm



Join us on the evening after Earth Day to explore what theatre artists and production staff are doing to meet the extraordinary challenges of climate change. At a time when local, state and federal governments are setting goals for reductions in carbon emissions, holding public meetings to solicit public recommendations for adapting to rising sea levels; when businesses are beginning to talk about renewable energy, closed-loop waste streams, and innovative mobility systems; what are we doing in the theatre?


This event will explore theatre and the environment from two perspectives: the process of making theatre, and the theatre we make.  On the process side, we will explore building performance and renewable energy, facilities management, closed loop set design and construction and intelligent recycling. On the content side we will see an excerpt of a new play by Shelia Callaghan. Directed by Daniella Topol, we will learn from her how this multimedia theatre piece about water has been shaped through her consultations with scientists at the Department of Environmental Conservation. We will also reflect on Bill McKibben’s lament that the theatre lags behind other art forms in grasping – and mining – the full artistic potential of this issue.


Panelists include Gideon Banner, actor and founder of the Green Theater Initiative; Bob Usdin, founder and CEO of Showman Fabricators; Benno Van Noort, LEED-certified director of facilities at the New Victory Theatre and The New 42nd Street Studios; NYC Director Daniella Topol; Marda Kirn, founder and Executive Director of Eco-Arts Connections in Boulder, Colorado. Seema Sueko, Artistic Director of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company in San Diego, and Ben Todd, Executive Director and fuel cell technology expert at the Arcola Theatre in London will participate via a Skype feed (as a way to lower our carbon footprint).


This program is co-curated for CUNY by Michael Johnson-Chase, a former theatre professor, international program director at the Lark Play Development Center, producer and writer. After a stint as a solar installer, he is currently developing Green Collar Job training programs at Solar One; an environmentally focused arts and education center in NYC soon to feature New York City’s first net zero carbon classroom and performance facility.



3 Responses to “Theatre and the Environment”

  1. […] via Theatre and the Environment « Mo`olelo Blog. […]

  2. Theatre Says:

    Oh, thanks a lot for giving the info, i will be there on 23rd April.

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