A few weeks ago I spoke with Michael Casselli at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), a production manager on a mission to green up his theatre’s operations. And today, via email correspondence, I received some equally encouraging words from production manager Tom Haygood at Portland Center Stage (PCS).
Haygood made it quite clear that PCS is as green as it gets, and that means more than just working in a LEED certified building.
“The biggest reason,” Haygood says the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating has had such little impact on the day to day operation of PCS is “mostly due to the processes that were in place prior to our move.” He cites a myriad of simple-enough sounding procedures and policies that PCS adhered to before their big move into the new green Gerding Theatre, including reusing and recycling scenery after use by the company, the use of recycled base coat paint, and an ongoing effort to reduce the use of toxic materials.
Mostly, I’m pleased to hear such language from Haygood because it may help to encourage other production managers and technical directors (among others who can affect change) that going green doesn’t have to be painful at all. Building green, according to the USGBC’s LEED certification system, doesn’t have to be painful either apparently. “The only change that took place that caused noticeable discussion,” Haygood says of PCS’s LEED status, “was switching from tobacco cigarettes to herbal.” LEED certification, it should be noted, strictly prohibits the smoking of tobacco on the premises of certified buildings–and this isn’t the place to talk about whether or not herbal cigarettes are any healthier for the performers or audience members.
Haygood had more to say about what PCS is doing to stay green too, but you’ll have to wait and read my upcoming piece in American Theatre to see the rest.