For our inaugural festival season, Terra Firma is committed to implementing and upholding environmental standards and guidelines that recognize the importance of the ecological situation we all find ourselves in. Humans are, in a way, a keystone species in the global natural environment. We have altered it beyond measure, and are currently looking down the barrel of an unprecedented climate catastrophe caused directly by our actions. In Canada, the vast majority of us are complacent in this crisis. Within the performing arts, efforts to reduce carbon emissions have been slow to catch up with the needs and demands of the industry, and Canada is trailing behind other countries like the United States & United Kingdom in “greening” the arts, with the arts sector being notably absent from our governments’ climate policies. From the lumber needed to build sets to the fabrics and clothing supplied for costumes, as well as the transportation needed to move people and sets, the performing arts industry has become reliant on unsustainable & damaging ways of getting our shows on stage. 

Terra Firma’s goals in sustainability are rooted in educating our team, fellow theatre students, and the community at large on the needs and the importance of ecological stewardship within the performing arts. There is a lack of education in formal institutions on sustainable theatre practices – therefore, Terra Firma has taken it upon ourselves to implement ways we believe makes performance greener. We are proud to say that almost all of our set pieces, props, and costumes are recycled and reused from previous productions – cutting waste and new materials down significantly. Our entire festival is committed to being paperless, by using primarily digital communication. Our programmes this year will be printed on seed paper and will be a small card directing patrons to a webpage containing the information on the show, crew, and cast. Terra Firma is committed to tracking the environmental impact caused by our festival and learning from it for future projects.

Some incredible organizations in Canada & abroad that are working towards greening the performing arts are listed below, if you’re interested in reducing the impact of your practices or just learning a little more please look into the work they are doing!

Canadian Green Alliance – A nationwide not-for-profit that provides resources & consulting for theatres & individuals greening their practices

GreenBeing Guidelines – Created by school of performance students Mathilda Kane & Robbie Savage Herington, it is a set of guidelines and resource hub for emerging theatre-makers in Toronto

Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts – A Canadian organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in the arts, plus a plethora of resources and a monthly newsletter 

ÉcoSceno – A Montréal-based organization that focuses on eco-design and the reuse of production materials 

Julie’s Bicycle – A British organization promoting sustainable practices and climate education within arts organizations, with a large library of resources and tools

Broadway Green Alliance – A United States-based organization that has a number of tools, guidebooks, and large library of video learning resources.