Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company is clear about the questions it is trying to answer with its Think It grant: (1) how do we measure the environmental impact of the practice of theater? (2) is it possible to create theater that does not damage the long-term health of our communities?
Based in San Diego and founded in 2004, Mo’olelo has social consciousness written directly into its mission statement. It didn’t take long for Mo’olelo to notice that producing theatre creates a surprising amount of waste, and that waste was at odds with the company’s socially-conscious focus. Scenic materials bought to create the short-term world of a production depend on de-forestation and high energy impact; toxic paints are dangerous to scenic artists, actors and audiences; and we all know how energy-inefficient stage lights are.
After consulting with LEED-Accredited professionals (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Mo’olelo developed GREEN Theater Categories and Sustainable Guidelines. Their A-ha! Think It grant will be put towards measuring the toolkit’s success, and then applying the toolkit to Mo’olelo’s own productions in the Spring and Fall of 2009. The final step will be field-wide dissemination of the toolkit for industry feedback.