Sustainability in Theater Conference

by Leah Cooper

in Activism,Events

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Sustainability in Theater conference April 30-May 1, 2012 – why you should care about sustainable practices in your theatre.

Earth Day seems an auspicious time to reflect on the common inspiration between making theatre and the sustainability movement. Theatre connects individuals and communities around our shared experience as humans. As nonprofit institutions entrusted with community support, we are obliged to use resources economically and sustainably. The sustainability movement is all about recognizing our human connection and impact on our environment, and it’s all about thriving through wise resource management. So why don’t more theatres make green, sustainable practices part of their mission?

The primary barrier seems to be perception. It’s too expensive, too hard, too time-consuming. And we’re in crisis here, trying to survive and get the next show open. But it’s not as hard as you might think, and it’s critical to long term survival.

It’s also not as simple or as boring as recycling paper. There are so many innovations that can improve your sustainability, from energy efficiency to waste reduction, from greener gear to smarter business models, from eco-influenced art to mission alignment. Move beyond crisis thinking and join us at the first national, online conference on sustainable practices in the performing arts in the U.S. There will be inspiration, learning and collective action for every department of your organization.

Pioneers in sustainability and the arts, like Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, Broadway Green Alliance, Sustainability Associates, Center for Energy and the Environment, York University, Festivals Edinburgh, Julie’s Bicycle, Fisher Dachs Associates, and more, will be presenting broadly about the sustainability movement, and in detail about specific case studies and innovations you can bring to your organization.

The conference takes place April 30 – May 1, 2012 in person at Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis and online everywhere. Presentations will be live Webcast all day on April 30th, and collaborative department-specific sessions on May 1st will be open to online participation and interaction through Google+. Additionally, there will be three satellite in-person hosts: Theatre Communications Group in New York; L.A. Stage Alliance in Los Angeles; and York University in Toronto. The conversation will continue through a follow-up session at the 2012 TCG National Conference in Boston, June 21-23.

Registration is required to participate online or in person. To see the whole schedule and register now, visit http://minnesotatheateralliance.org/sit/about.php. Registration deadline is April 24th.

The Sustainability in Theater Conference is presented by the Minnesota Theater Alliance and the Twin Cities Sustainable Theatres Group, in partnership with Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Theatre Communications Group.


Leah Cooper has been passionately devoted to making theater for over 25 years. She is currently Executive Director of the Minnesota Theater Alliance, a freelance stage director, an arts administration consultant, artistic director of Footprints Collective, and a co-founder and partner at MinnesotaPlaylist.com, Minnesota’s online trade journal for the performing arts.

Leah also serves as board chair for Live Action Set theater company and was on the Minneapolis Arts Commission for four years. From 2001-2006, she was the Executive Director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Prior to that, Leah worked by day in the corporate sector as a software engineer and business consultant.