Playing for the environment this World Theatre Day

A mask used in ancient Greek theatre.

A mask used in ancient Greek theatre.

Live theatre is thriving in Halton! From presenting theatres to community theatre groups, and high school drama clubs to college programs, theatre practioners and audience members have so many options to be thrilled and entertained.

Today, March 27 is World Theatre Day. Let’s look at some ways theatre practioners and companies can embrace environmentally friendly behaviours.

A laundry detergent masked used in Halton Region's school education program.

A laundry detergent masked used in Halton Region’s waste diversion education program.

Theatre has a long tradition of reusing

Think about it — William Shakespeare’s plays are over 400 years old, and they’re still being produced today. Even plays written over 2,400 years ago by Sophocles and Aristophanes are still being performed!

Some theatres will remount a production from one season to a next. Sets, props, costumes, even lighting and sound designs, will go into storage to be reused the following season.

Again, many theatres have great recycling practices.

Sets, props and costumes are often modified to be used in a totally brand new production. They’re disassembled, re-painted, re-sewn, or re-dyed, and made into something brand new.

Theatre has a long practice of taking items and using them in ways that weren’t originally intended by the manufacturer — this is often how designers create the most innovative and memorable sets. Remember that paints, solvents, stains and other chemical products contain hazardous materials. Theatre Ontario’s To Act In Safety program provides great resources of these aspects of hazardous waste handling for theatre companies.

The theatre’s “front of house” is another place where recycling is important. Paper programs can be collected following a performance to be recycled. Ensure all recycling bins in the lobby are properly labelled. During intermission, concession staff can remind audience members to “place empty plastic bottles in the Blue Box.”

By practicing the 3Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — the theatre community can play a part in conserving resources and protecting the environment.

About John Watson

I'm the Director of Customer Success for ReCollect Systems. We're a technology company that specializes in waste management apps that delight residents. Previously, I was the Waste Diversion Educator Coordinator for Halton Region, where I implemented award winning communications and outreach programs.
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