Theater: The Green Room

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Theatergoers are usually too enthralled by the costumes and plot twists to think about how much paper's wasted by printing the programs or what'll happen to the props after the play closes. For arts fans who want eco-friendly entertainment, though, there's a new theater venue in town.

"There's an inherent culture of waste in most theater," says Kal Poole, managing director of Whistling in the Dark Theatre Co., the resident acting group at the aptly named new space the Green Room.

The South Campus Gateway venue is sponsored by the Arts Initiative at Ohio State and Campus Partners.

Poole, a self-proclaimed pack rat, says the "green" initiative at the space was his idea, and he plans to reuse and recycle as much as possible. That includes using hand-me-down and borrowed sets and props.

For Whistling's first play at the venue, "Shipwrecked!: An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)," almost everything on stage will be reused from somewhere else.

The kid-friendly show about a 19th-century British man's adventures abroad is naturally kind to the environment: Rather than using an electric sound system, the script calls for the actors to produce the music and sound effects.

Poole also has replaced the building's lights with efficient LED bulbs, and he uses green cleaning products. He runs the air conditioning as sparingly as possible. And the program information for "Shipwrecked" will be painted on the wall rather than printed on fliers.

Poole's rationale for going green is about more than protecting the environment.

"I'm finding that I can do theater cheaper by being environmentally friendly," he says.

Karen Bell, associate vice president of the Arts Initiative, says that for now, the theater space is a short-term project, with Campus Partners deciding the venue's fate after the summer.

But she hopes the venue's green efforts will rub off on the local arts scene before it closes.

"We think this is unique and could be a model for other theaters in the region," she says.


July 15-Aug. 7

The Green Room, Campus