Sherry Harper-McCombs, Theatre

Articulating Sustainability as Part of Theatre Design and Technology Practice

Course Syllabi

I applied for the Valley and Ridge workshop seeking ways to make the issue of sustainability more explicit in our entry level technology course in Theatre and Dance. In this course, the main goal is to teach students the basic technical skills they need to create the visual environment in which the performing arts of theatre and dance take place. As part of this training, we discuss the costs of our production work in terms of the economic impact some choices have on our limited budgets, the environmental impacts of certain materials, and the costs some materials have to our personal health and safety. Although this has always been a part of our courses, it has never been articulated to the students that these choices are ultimately about sustainability and I was seeking ways to make the connections these ways of thinking have to sustainability clearer to our students.

Through the work in Valley and Ridge, I not only was able to make explicit the connections between the work we do and the goal of sustainability, I was also able to find ways to address sustainability throughout the course as part of both the stated goals and the underlying curriculum in the course. As a result of the workshop, I have been able to formulate ways within the course to regularly discuss the connections between economic and environmental sustainability in the field of technical theatre in addition to having this connection as a substantive component in the final project for my section of the course.