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Sustainable Theatre

Theatre companies are always trying to find new and fresh ways to tell stories.

But at Starlit Voice we also care very much about our ecological footprint.

In fact it makes theatre even more exciting when you can find ways to reduce waste, reuse your resources time and time again, and utilize recyclable materials.

We pride ourselves in doing this at Starlit Voice and also coaching and training our DSHK students to do the same thing.

Learning how to be creative with your sets and props, costumes, and even the way that you market your productions will not only make your shows more unique and special, they will also help to reduce costs, minimize storage and also minimize our carbon footprint.

Theatre is all about illusion, and the suspension of disbelief and an audience will completely buy into the world you create as long as you and the production team are completely invested in the world you are building.

With our production of “Timeless” in 2018 much of the decor was especially sustainable. Jan Brink, writer of “Timeless” said “the raw materials used by set designer Lymari Alberts were specifically chosen to be reusable, recycled or to create a minimum impact on the environment. We tried our very hardest to put anything in the trash after the show.”

For our production of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, earlier in the year, many costumes were reused from previous Starlit productions.

Sometimes we over complicate things or make things more difficult, but good stories don’t need all the razzle dazzle and smoke and mirrors that we often think an audience expects.

This has been proven time and time again with many companies that have produced scaled down versions of hit musicals.

Often we have this impression that musicals are all about spectacle and certainly shows like Phantom of The Opera or Aladdin lend themselves to big sets and lavish costumes but companies such as the English National Opera have successfully staged productions of Sweeney Todd and Sunset Boulevard on a much smaller scale and the results have been positively received by audiences.

Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian about the ENO’s production of Sunset Boulevard:

“A show that in 1993 seemed too big and spectacular to catch the ironic tone of the Wilder movie has been given a new lease of life. Sometimes semi-staged is better than the luxurious grandeur of an elephantine West End musical.”

 

A good story needs wonderful characters, an interesting  plot, good conflict and powerful themes.

The piece should stand on its own without needing all the trimmings of an overstuffed Christmas Turkey.

So questions to ask yourself when you are next putting on a show are:

How can you utilize the resources you have on hand. Can you recycle the existing props or costumes you have. Sometimes just by giving something a new coat of paint or by dying a shirt or pair of pants a different color, you can completely change the way it looks.

Challenge yourself to be creative and you will amaze yourself with what you are able to achieve. But more importantly it feels good to be able play an important role in the future of Sustainable Theatre.

By Michael Sharmon

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