THAT’S what several West Coast organizations are out to prove. The University of Oregon in Eugene and Earth Matters on Stage will host the first Ecodrama Playwrights Festival and Symposium on Theatre and Ecology, from May 21 to 31. Prior to that, Common Vision volunteers will be driving around Calif. in their vegetable- oil-powered fleet, connecting kids and Mother Earth on their Fruit Tree Tour.
About 800 theatre artists, scholars and activists will attend the 10-day event to contemplate and formulate green theatre. The festival’s director, Theresa J. May, also an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon, said the goal is to “build an intellectual and creative community around the sense that theatre is a force for the transformation of social values out of which will grow a more humane and sustainable culture.” She said, “The festival and conference are really so much more than ‘going green’ in the sense of sustainable practices; they’re about helping to change values and perspectives through the stories that we tell and share as communities.”
The festival will showcase two winning ecodramas, round tables, workshops and sessions on the subject of performance and ecology.
25 Common Vision volunteers have hopped on their veggie-oil-fueled buses a taken their environmental stewardship message to California’s schoolchildren. A three-part staged performance, which includes a hip- hopping farmer, a professor from a grim future and a large Earth puppet, teaches kids to go green. “Our key concepts are about local food production, interconnectedness and figuring out how we’re going to create the future we want to see,” said Bridget Barsotti, director of Green Theatre Performances.
The tour, which includes tree planting, costs about $80,000 and is funded through foundation grants, company sponsorships and individual donors. It takes a lot of money and volunteers to haul 1,000 trees down Calif. in a refrigerated truck.