About the Program
How it started...
Big Green Theater came out of a desire to create a program that brought local kids into our theater and offer them a unique and interactive learning opportunity in the neighborhood. We knew that we wanted to work with kids to create plays, but we also wanted to incorporate another element to make the program more unique. While attending monthly meetings with our local Community Board 4, we noticed a desire for improved environmental / health conditions in the community. This echoed our own interest in running a sustainable theater space, which over the years has grown to include an ultra-efficient LED worklight system (3D printed!), use of sustainable energy sources like wind and hydro power, recycled production materials, and green cleaning supplies. We decided to merge these two ideas and create a program that would teach kids about environmental issues and science while guiding them in creating their own plays to help spread the message. Professional actors would then perform these plays at our theater for the students and their families and the productions would be produced according to the tenants of Green Theater.
How it works...
Together with Superhero Clubhouse, we conduct a year-round after school program with local public elementary school students in Bushwick / Ridgewood to create short, original plays about community-based environmental topics.
These short plays are performed by the students at their schools in the Fall section of the program, and by a group of professional actors on a full technical scale at the Starr in the Spring. These young writers are able to see their work performed live— by their peers in the Fall and by adult professionals in the Spring— and enjoy the fulfillment of seeing their words and stories come to life.
In staging the plays, we ask the students, actors, directors, and designers to challenge themselves to work within the Green Theater movement; i.e: use recycled materials for sets, LED lighting, etc. This process educates our community and our artists about how to make work while thinking green.
The culminating performances are free and open to the public.
Why we do it...
One of our goals is to create opportunities for arts education in Bushwick where there is a need for creativity-based programs inside and outside of our local schools. We believe that arts organizations like ourselves have a responsibility to invest in future generations by providing them not only with first hand experience in creative endeavors, but with opportunities for artistic expression.
BGT is a highly interactive process that has a lasting effect on the student playwrights, their schools and families, and anyone who sees the performances.