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Broadway Expands Its Green Practices to Theaters Across the U.S.

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If you had the pleasure of taking in a Broadway performance in the past five years, you also witnessed sustainability taking center stage.

The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) celebrates five years of greening productions this week by launching an initiative to bring sustainable practices to theaters across the country. In collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the BGA says its online Theatre Greening Advisor is the most comprehensive theater greening information database available.

The organizations want to provide environmentally preferable options to producers, theater owners, designers, managers and design shops in the same way that the BGA brought them to Broadway in New York City.

The Broadway Green Alliance helped bring energy efficient lighting throughout the Great White Way and hopes to do the same at theaters all over the nation. Photo credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

"In the past five years, the Broadway Green Alliance has become a part of nearly all Broadway productions, and now is working with Off-Broadway, regional theaters, colleges and many other venues and shows in and outside of the U.S.," said Charlie Deull, co-chair of the BGA.

We are grateful to the NRDC for its work on the NRDC Theatre Greening Advisor, which will be a valuable tool for the many BGA participants and allies working to make theater, and the planet, greener.” 

According to the BGA, here are some of the green achievements made to date on Broadway:

  • Broadway theaters have replaced all their marquee and outside lighting with more than 10,000 energy-efficient bulbs, saving about 700 tons of carbon emissions per year.

  • Theaters switched to greener cleaning products, appliances, recycling, water filtration and energy efficiency programs.

  • Broadway shows now have a BGA liaison, or Green Captain, at nearly all shows, bringing greener practices backstage.  Green Captains come from all aspects of productions, and sometimes even the star of the show participates in this important role. Bryan Cranston, Alan Cumming, Hugh Dancy, Montego Glover, Harriet Harris and Carol Kane have all served as BGA Green Captains.

  • Shows are saving money through reduced waste. Many now use rechargeable batteries in microphones and flashlights, keeping thousands of toxic disposable batteries from the waste stream every month. Wicked went from using 38 batteries every performance to using only 96 rechargeable batteries in a year.   Many shows also print their own cast-change stuffers on recycled paper, saving reams of paper as well as money.

  • Over the last five years, the BGA has collected over 15 tons or 31,000 pounds of e-waste and nearly 10,000 pounds of textiles.

BGA has also participated in outreach programs with colleges, off-Broadway and regional and touring venues. The launch of the greening advisor will provide resources allowing theaters to embrace sustainability at all times. The BGA also launched the BGA Greener Lighting Guide, in partnership with the Professional Lighting and Sound Association.

 

“The single most important thing we can do to help save the planet is to change cultural assumptions and attitudes about how we should relate to Planet Earth," Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the NRDC who helped to co-found the BGA.

 

“By promoting energy efficiency, recycling programs, waste reduction, water conservation and other smart operations, theaters and productions will help keep our nation’s air and water clean, reduce their contribution to global warming and achieve cost saving benefits at the same time.”

 

Visit EcoWatch’s SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS page for more related news on this topic.

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