A webinar designed to unite the live production industry in developing new working practices for a more sustainable approach has shown a “clear willingness” for change, according to The Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA).
The panel discussion, broadcast live on social media channels as well as via a Zoom video meeting, brought together many of the leading companies and individuals who are committed to a more sustainable future for live event production.
The webinar was a collaboration between SiPA, the Association of British Technicians (ABTT) and The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). Top of the agenda was how the industry can use the current hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to create a more sustainable approach to its work.
SiPA’s Carol Scott, Principal Advocate for Sustainability at TAIT and SiPA, was joined by a host of respected live production industry and environment leaders, including: Jon Bausor – multi-award-winning international Stage Designer and Creative Director; Spike Brant – production designer, CEO of Nimblist and advocator of sustainability; Ian Garrett – USITT Member and designer with Toasterlab; Huntly Christie – CEO of Christie Lites based in the USA, Canada and the UK; and Dr Chris Jones, Research Fellow at University of Manchester who is currently examining the key impact areas of the music industry on the environment.
“The webinar was a great success – the audience engagement was fantastic, with the live stream figures going into the thousands,” said Carol Scott. “There is a clear willingness in our industry to embrace change and to come back better. SiPA is now fully engaged in developing the tools we all need to make sustainability a part of our industry’s DNA.”
Many of the panel members noted the devastating impact COVID-19 has had – and continues to have – on the live production industry, but recognised the downtime as a chance to amend approaches when live events are able to return.
USITT’s Executive Director, David Grindle, commented: “The pandemic has had a disastrous effect on our industry worldwide. It is exciting to see us take this challenging time and work together to envision a more sustainable theatre when we reopen.”
Huntly Christie, a leader in the stage lighting industry for 35 years said: “We were an early adopter of renewable energy and sustainable business practices. Over time we have implemented an array of more sustainable practices at Christie Lites including the use of renewable power in our Canadian operations and the installation of a large solar array, which supplies electricity to our Orlando warehouse.”
SiPA is now working on a new website, which will be a hub for much-needed information and resources, including case studies of the successful implementation of sustainability best practices and ‘how-to’ guides for each sector in the live production industry.
“As an industry, we know it is imperative that we become more sustainable,” Scott continues. “The current hiatus is giving us all time to evaluate how we can holistically transform the way we work. Collectively, we can become an industry that creates a legacy that humanity can be proud of.”