NEW YORK (November 25, 2008) – In the quest to be more environmentally responsible in the production of entertainment, the Broadway theatre community announced today the launch of BROADWAY GOES GREEN, an industry-wide initiative to reduce Broadway's carbon footprint, adopt environmentally sustainable practices and promote environmental awareness in the creation and presentation of Broadway shows.
In collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an early goal of the initiative is to assess current practices and to disseminate information regarding greener practices to the Broadway theatre community. All segments of the industry – including producers, theatre owners, designers, managers, design shops and others – have developed goals for the first year of this long-term initiative and have already adopted better practices to enhance Broadway’s role as a leader in environmental sustainability.
With the support of Mayor Bloomberg’s office and guidance by the NRDC, leaders of the Broadway theatre community have organized unique groups to focus on the three primary phases of Broadway shows. 1) theatre venue operations; 2) the day-to-day running of shows, and; 3) the creation of shows from concept to stage. These groups will continue to develop and enhance its action plan to adopt greener practices for Broadway theatre and to promote greener practices to Broadway audiences.
“There’s no question that New York owes much of its greatness to Broadway,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “These stages fuel dreams … they fuel our city’s economy by attracting tourists from far and wide … and they also fuel a spirit of civic pride and social activism that dates all the way back to the early 1900s, when performers put on shows to support the soldiers in World War I. Today, Broadway producers, theater owners, and performers are joining another historic fight: to keep our city and our planet healthy."
“As Broadway shifts its theatre productions toward environmentally preferable operations, its influence and leadership will reverberate throughout the entertainment world,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, NRDC Senior Scientist. “Broadway’s unique global visibility and unparalleled cultural influence offers a rare opportunity to move the marketplace towards environmentally intelligent products and, at the same time, help theaters save money and inspire their patrons. Bravo to Broadway for its leadership on this critical issue.”
Shows in pre-production, long-running shows, and theater owners have designated the following goals to achieve within one year:
- To review opportunities that willprovide greener alternatives for new shows, from the initial design stage through the disposition of scenery at the close of production; to develop educational initiatives and begin the process ofproviding information for producers, creatives, and vendors designedto reduce the environmental impact of sets, costumes, lighting and transportation
- To disseminate to running shows information about proven techniques to reduce their carbon emissions, waste, and other ecological impacts, including more efficient use of energy, water & paper; to begin the development of a website, linking industry & audience members to lists of ecologically better practices; to create community forums to share news & ideas
- Theaters will be encouraged toconduct a carbon impactinventory and toset up an action plan to lower their carbon footprint using a wide range of actions, including the conversion of all exterior theatre marquee lights to more efficient bulbs
- To implement and share better practices with theatre production and show venues across the country
"This initiative and this commitment brings together the entire Broadway community,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League. “We've established three committees and they have begun practice and the adoption of better practices as the first step of an ongoing process in making Broadway greener. More task forces will be developed as more people get involved."
“I’d always believed that the environmental movement didn’t require my attention and was being handled by professionals and activists, until I saw An Inconvenient Truth,” said David Stone, Wicked Producer. “I decided that night to challenge all of the companies of Wicked across North America to take a stand to protect our planet. I urge every show, theatre, union and vendor to support Broadway’s commitment to this very important plan to reduce individual consumption as well as the industry’s collective carbon footprint.”
Some community members are alreadytaking action. Examples include:
- PLAYBILL is working with NRDC to enhance their environmental practices which are already extensive, and will be supporting the initiative by periodically reporting on the Broadway Goes Green efforts and regularly printing theatre related eco-tips in PLAYBILL Magazines throughout the year.
- A long-running show, Wicked, has reviewed and revised its behind-the-scenes production activity to adopt greener practices.
- Out of 39 Broadway theatres, 10 have already replaced their marquee lights with more efficientlighting and an additional 14 conversions are underway. To date, over 10,000 exterior + interior bulbs have already been changed.
- Production shops are offering environmentally preferable materials and are developingplans to recycle or reuse scenery.
- Costumes are being washed in cold water whenever feasible.
- Re-chargeable batteries are used in sound equipment whenever possible.
- Many touring shows are offsetting the carbon emissions from transporting their equipment through investments in renewal energy and have purchased nearly 1,900 tons of offsets through the Touring Green program.