February 18, 2015 from 10am to 4pm – Royal Opera House0 Comments 0 Likes
Whilst great progress has been made over the last decade towards introducing concepts of sustainability, significant change across the whole industry has not yet arisen. Sustainability has entered our practice in the form of rhetoric and discussion. Discussion has been great; however, to really move forward our culture must change.
In terms of Elkington’s ‘Triple Bottom Line’ (People, Profit, Planet) our industry has missed the people element. In a broad sense we do, of course, support the sustainability of people; the point here is that we have not fully inspired the people and culture of our industry to actively deliver a sustainable future. Too often money is thrown at the problem or a lone ‘green fanatic’ is left shouting into the wind!
The SiPA industry development goals initiative will provide momentum to our industry’s change of culture. The initiative follows a similar format to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals approach. This approach is further supported by UNESCO’s Hangzhou declaration linking sustainability with culture and the Florence Declaration.
At PLASA 2015 the industry will come together to agree and sign the Industry Development Goals Agreement. These goals will cover a 10 year period to 2025 and act as a legacy and inspiration to future generations. It is intended that the goal programme will roll forward each decade to influence change in our industry perpetually.
The goal agreement will be signed on behalf of the industry by the heads of interested party groups (you); from business and trade associations to educators and civil society partners. The agreement will affect holistic change throughout the supply chain from manufacturer to user. This is a commitment to specific action and a progress report will be delivered to the industry annually.
The ten goals have not been set yet. Meetings throughout 2014/15 will be used to introduce the programme and set goals that represent your members' needs and the needs of society. Sustainability is being considered in its wider interpretation - social, environmental and economic. Please join us and ensure your members stay informed and have the ability to influence the goal agreement prior to taking action from 2015 onwards.
Here is a starter - some thoughts to perhaps provoke
1. To prioritise a better work life balance in the industry - it does not have to be difficult work or unpleasant work to be valid, it could simply be good work, but that attitude still underlies alot of the work made in theatre - we could look to Holland and the US for examples as they seem to be much more predisposed to placing the workers needs to the fore (including of course performers)
2. Could we review the touring format/ the way we tour in the UK?
There are many points here:
a. If in house crews were better trained and better recompensed we could reduce the amount of freelancers needed to stage shows - this would reduce the carbon foot print of each show and would lead to much greater interest/personal investment in each show by the venue staff.
b. Could we design shows in such a way that we use more local equipment - this applies to all departments - it is easier to tour a whole lx rig but this involves using at least one truck - if we worked with local equipment then that truck would not be needed, similarly steeldeck heavy shows for example all the way down to venues simply having working irons and stable ironing boards- there would have to be significant investment in venues' equipment but this might be more achievable if local consortia were established where by certain equipment is communally owned and can be used within a consortia as required. I am particularly fond of this idea and it is quite clear that hire companies already provide this service to some extent.
c. Why do we get-out on a Saturday night? Why not finish after a Sunday matinee? This would greatly contribute to the improvement of touring crews quality of life and would reduce the risk of people driving around the country exhausted in the early hours. Time off could be planned and used for personal activities rather then just for recovering. I have twice done daytime get-outs of touring shows and they were strange but very relaxed and even efficient. Sunday shows are working well in the West End - why not extend that to the rest of the country.
3. Can we please review the deals done between touring companies and venues? The income from the audience is the pie and there is the war of attrition between producers, general managers and venues to get a slightly bigger slice of it. Contracts have become more and more complex and contras on occasions are incomprehensible. We are working in the same industry, if we work together we might help this industry stay alive, even thrive, but if