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  • Writer's pictureChelsea J

It’s Not Easy Being Green & A Stage Manager!

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

By: Matt Stern

Happy (Almost) Earth Day!

With Earth Day coming up, today is a good day to think about taking care of the Earth. It’s about science, activism and responsibility. Since the first Earth Day back in 1970, many things have changed: Recycling is common place, we conserve more water and even in the theatre we are doing more and more to be “Green”

One great change has been the birth and growth of the Broadway Green Alliance.

In it’s own words, “The Broadway Green Alliance is an industry-wide initiative that educates, motivates, and inspires the entire theatre community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendlier practices.” Since their founding in 2008, they have helped our industry adapt, change and be more green in many ways.

Among these are:

  • Using compact florescent or LED lighting in dressing rooms, in front of house and anywhere possible.

  • Using rechargeable batteries for microphones instead of throwing out, literally, hundreds of batteries per performance

  • Creating the Binder Project where you can drop off a used binder you don’t need or pick up one if you do. Great for readings, workshops and more

And many more…

So, how do we as stage managers help Broadway be Greener?

How do we make stage management green? It is especially challenging, as our profession is notable for creating a lot of paperwork and that equals a lot of waste. So what can we do?

Here are a few things we on Broadway have been doing and hopefully that is also the case across the country…

  • Distribute contact sheets and calendars electronically and only print them when absolutely necessary. This is exceptionally helpful, especially when the schedule goes through multiple versions!

  • Only give script revisions to those directly in the scene and emailing PDFs to all others. On a new show this is a huge paper saver!

  • Print on the back side of used paper. A good friend, who will be at the Symposium this year, called it “dirty paper.” We would print our Daily In/Out sheet on the dirty paper. On a long run, total paper saver!

  • Weekly or wet erase sign in sheet! No need to print a new sheet each day or even each month, if you are on a long run! If you do a laminated one, just make sure it WET erase, not DRY erase or every actor will wipe away the next actors initials.

  • Buy recycled paper if your producer will let you. It costs a bit more, but definitely greener.

  • Use a rechargeable flashlight. Saves batteries, especially those lithium ones, I find they don’t last very long at all. And LED flashlights last a long time too.

I have heard stories of some stage managers going completely paperless, which is interesting, but also a bit dangerous. They use tablets for script and blocking notes and distro everything via email and cloud based software. As a stage manager, we can’t let technology slow us down, so if paper is faster, gotta use paper. Then there is also possible technical failure to be concerned about. And I’m sure this wasn’t a new show with rewrites, I can’t imagine doing that paperless unless the producers are buying everyone tablets!

So, lots to consider, but we are creative and I’m sure can come up with ways we stage managers can be greener in our work. Then share what’s working for you with others. Together, we can all work like the Broadway Green Alliance to make our industry Greener! (Like these great green moments from Broadway)

PS. The Broadway Stage Management Symposium is the conference for stage managers. It brings together the most experienced and highly regarded stage management professionals on Broadway for an immersive program that offers practical insights, instruction and inspiration on the art & craft of stage management. Symposium attendees receive practical career advice, networking opportunities and engagement with Broadway's best. Webinar options available to participate live or on replay. More information is available at:


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