Opera Goes Green
Providing local and readily available access to the operatic experience is at the core of Cleveland Opera Theater’s company mission. In addition to performance and other community related benefits, Cleveland Opera Theater’s emphasis on local also allows our company to favorably impact climate change through reduced emissions, lowered consumption of paper products and other consumables, and also to combat sprawl through the active participation in the vibrant urban neighborhood of the Gordon Square Arts District, where Cleveland Opera Theater is headquartered, and other Greater Cleveland area neighborhoods.
Cleveland Opera Theater’s main performance residency is at the Cleveland Public Theater. This location is ideally situated to draw local residents, many of whom walk, bike and or carpool, to our sold-out capacity performances in the center of this urban neighborhood, which has been revitalized and continues to grow through the dynamic and thriving presence of the Arts. Cleveland Opera Theater’s mobility and flexibility to also bring opera productions to audiences in various neighborhoods further reduces emissions-based environmental impact. For instance, instead of an audience of hundreds driving a greater distance to attend a performance, Cleveland Opera Theater’s concentrated core of artists travels to various neighborhoods, thus enabling patrons to walk, bike and or carpool short distances to performance locations in their own neighborhoods, rather than driving a great distance to one central performance location, which may be far from their home neighborhood.
In addition to our patrons’ varied modes of environmentally friendly travel, made possible by both Cleveland Opera Theater’s main central urban location and mobility for additional performances, our artists are local, thus virtually eliminating the need for environmentally expensive airline travel and long distance automobile travel. Our rehearsal and performance-travel-based carbon footprint is further reduced through our encouragement of carpooling and public transit usage among Cleveland Opera Theater artists.
Cleveland Opera Theater also makes conscious and continuous efforts to reduce our carbon footprint through the dramatic reduction of paper-based marketing. Our company utilizes electronic based media for the majority of our advertising and marketing. When we do send out print materials, we are sure to target only the most up to date patron mailing list, and we are making efforts to utilize only 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste for print marketing and other office business.
Cleveland Opera Theater adopted the Google Apps for business platform in 2012, upon which we now conduct all company business, including this very application. This Google platform has drastically reduced waste by eliminating the need to print drafts and revisions, which are now executed digitally. This platform also enables the staff to collaboratively work on documents from satellite locations, which has further reduced our company members’ need to travel for meetings, thus further lowering our company’s business-travel-based emissions.
Our file folders and envelopes for inter-office clerical work and communications are re-used, and we are certain to remove ourselves from any non-essential mailing lists to avoid any unnecessary junk mail. We do not purchase any disposable utensils or other food service related products, preferring instead to use coffee mugs, plate and silverware that are washable and reusable. Cleveland Opera Theater also recycles all applicable materials that are necessary to conduct business.
Cleveland Opera Theater staff, artists, and patrons also frequent local establishments during rehearsal periods, and before and after performances, often times walking to and from rehearsal and performance locations and restaurants and cafes, and purchase from local vendors whenever possible. Our annual collaboration with the City Mission Cleveland collects gently worn clothing items and gets them into the hands of local residents in need.
Cleveland Opera Theater also streamlines the waste that is typical with operatic production. Cleveland Opera Theater takes an unique approach to set construction and dismantling which reduces waste, results in a smaller carbon footprint, lowers the overhead cost to our opera company, and further supports the local economy. When Cleveland Opera Theater is planning a production in a theatrical performance venue, we make a careful assessment of the design and materials, which comprise the set of the preceding production that occupies the venue into which we will next move. In collaboration with the venue technical staff, Cleveland Opera Theater accordingly designs and adapts the set for our proceeding production to make use of as much of these existing materials as possible. We do this in the following ways. Through a re-purposing existing set pieces, or through a reclaiming of the materials with which these existing pieces are built to build the new set pieces for our production. Once an Cleveland Opera Theater production has closed, our technical staff carefully dismantles the set and salvages all of the safely useable materials. These materials are then donated to local contractors, the scene shop of the venue in which we’ve performed, or held in Cleveland Opera Theater storage for future use. These steps ensure that Cleveland Opera Theater keeps its production costs in the lowest possible margin and helps make Opera more economically and environmentally friendly.
Cleveland Opera Theater’s active participation, not only in the artistic sphere of many of Cleveland Neighborhoods, but also in the socio-economic scope of locally owned and operated restaurants, cafes and other local business through the aspect of an environmentally conscious ethos, strengthens our company’s role as an active and supportive member of many greater Cleveland area communities, and fosters continued growth, strength and stability, while helping Cleveland Opera Theater operate in a manner that positively affects climate change. As a company, we look forward to exploring additional ways to address climate change through our daily operations, programmatic efforts, and future collaborations and partnerships, all of which will illuminate additional modes and protocols to further reduce our company’s carbon footprint, enhance our energy conservation and bring future positive growth to climate-friendly company practices.