Inspiring Stories

Awesome things that are being done to create a greener theatre community, and a greener world.

Vertical Greenhouse

This isn’t exactly theatre related, but it’s a super cool concept that I hope will be implemented in the future:

A city in Sweden called Linköping is planning to build a 17-storey, vertical greenhouse. This enables the city to be more self-sufficient- growing food while working around the problem of urban sprawl (going up).

From the article:

“The greenhouse is a conical glass building that uses an internal “transportation helix” to carry potted vegetables around on conveyors. As plants travel around the helix, they rotate for maximum sun exposure. Hassle says the building will use less energy than a traditional greenhouse, take advantage of “spillage heat” energy companies cannot sell, digest waste to produce biogas and plant fertilizers, and decrease carbon dioxide emissions while eliminating the environmental costs of long-distance transportation. And growing plants in a controlled environment will decrease the amount of water, energy, and pesticides needed. ”

The building is supposed to open in 2013. Maybe I can finally go on my long-awaited Europe trip next year and stop by Linköping; I’d love to see this!

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Links to Awesome Things : This is a blog run by the fabulous Ann Salmonson from the Timms Wardrobe Departmen. Ann is currently completing her degree in Human Ecology and her focus is on Textiles. Ann is also one of the coolest ladies I know. She has a recent entry about the 3D body scanning/pattern drafting technology that she got for the Wardrobe Department. The program is able to scan a person’s body and use an AutoCAD program to upload it onto a computer, where you can virtually draft a pattern to perfectly fit a person. This eliminates the need for fabric and supplies for making mock-ups of costumes. Her blog also has topics ranging from upcycling and recycling to the textile industry’s issues, and much more! A fun read! – Aside from the amazing header on the homepage (a green elephant in fancy boots?!), this website has been a helpful resource for me. There are many links to other websites and initiatives, including a Carbon Calculator especially for theatre (, information on LEED certification (, and miscellaneous articles on the topic of sustainable theatre. – This is an awesome article about my dream workplace, the Portland Centre Stage (PCS). Additional info about their venue, located in an old armory, is on their website ( The company is housed in a building that is one of only 25 LEED-Platinum certified buildings in the world, and it has features like water-reclamation tanks, natural ventilation, the use of skylight windows in administrative and lobby areas instead of actual lights, 95% of waste diverted from landfills or recycled, and so much more. Their seats are upholstered with fabric made of recycled pop bottles. They use recycled paint whenever possible and have banned the use of spray paint. Their lobby is also open to the public during the day as a place to have lunch at their cafe or just hang out. Excuse me while I swoon a bit. – A little bit unrelated, but this website is still very important. It has research on sweatshops, sweatfree shopping, possible solutions, and education (including art and film). – This is a fun video about the culture of materialism that we live in, and how in order to improve our quality of life, we need to stop thinking about “the good life” as “the goods life.” – This website details a standard developed for textile manufacturing. It values environmental and social responsibility. – This is an article about the Whitney Museum in American Art’s new all-LED lighting system in their new gallery, currently being built in the meatpacking district in Manhattan. “Senior consultant Steven Rust, our lighting system designer for the Whitney says, “We had an opportunity to take advantage of the leaps in technology in LED theatrical lighting. We compared the cost of standard stage lighting distribution to an all-LED based system. The LED system requires one quarter the number of hard-wired circuits due to their lower power consumption and on-board dimming. This reduction in circuits and the associated installation cost, is what tipped the scale in favor of LEDs and offset the higher cost of the LED fixtures.”” this company designs theatre venues all over the world. They were the company working on the completely LED theatre mentioned above. – This website has been pretty quiet for the past few years, but the articles and pieces within it are pretty interesting and still relevant (in my humble opinion). – The National Theatres’ Trust is located in the United Kingdom and is dedicated to promoting the value of theatres. The Ecovenue is a project that aims to improve the sustainability and reduce the carbon emissions of 48 different theatres in London. – This is an awesome concept that is also being implemented in Los Angeles and Toronto, Set Exchange is like Kijiji for theatre sets. If you have set pieces, props, or costumes that you don’t need, put it up on the message board. If you’re looking for a specific item, place it as a Wanted ad, and someone may be able to help you! – Green Maven is a search engine that specifically searches through “green” websites. For example, when I search “theatre,” I get a link to a theatre in London made of entirely reclaimed materials, links to Sustainable Design Innovation, and information on the Long Now Theatre, part of a foundation that hopes to “to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.” Pretty cool!

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