School for the Sustainable Arts

Who’s game?

For those of you who don’t know, I have a few projects in the fire at the moment besides ecoTheater. Probably the most dominant is my first book, Careers in Technical Theater which was released from Allworth Press earlier this month. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of my time sitting on my butt in front of the computer trying to promote the book in any way I can imagine (seriously, this isn’t just a shameless book plug), and one of them has been to target schools for the performing arts across the country to try to interest them in using my book both as a reference or library book, as well as in the classroom. It’s a lot of work.

Yes, well, you say, good luck with that, Mike, but how does this relate to ecoTheater? I’ll tell you: yesterday I had a great chat with Ian Garrett, who seems to be popping up a lot on ecoTheater lately, and two things struck me most: introducing the principle of sustainable theater production–or, for that matter, sustainable arts–to the curriculum of theater programs everywhere seems increasingly imperative. And why stop at such a progressive institution as CalArts? The notion of making this topic part of the common dialogue in the classroom would address the larger ecological concerns as well as those of Monona Rossol about the health and safety of the artist or practitioner. Such training would necessarily include the type of information that Rossol has proven to be so lacking in a typical theater education in the U.S. This, I think, just may be where the green theater revolution really needs to be cultivated.

The second thing that struck me was why not have a school, perhaps a high school, dedicated to promoting not only the arts, but a sustainable approach to the arts? It could be a showcase for not only sustainable theater, but all fields of art. It would take a lot of talented minds to pull it together, first addressing the concerns of each area of study–because, naturally, not all fields are created equal in this regard.

Okay, maybe this is a half-baked entry. But I thought I’d throw it out there. And please, if something like this exists, let me know. Alternatively, if this sounds new and exciting and you decide to kick start the idea, don’t forget where you heard it.

I promise my next post will be more filling. 🙂


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