Skip to content

Joint theatre project: Preserving the scene

USask, City of Saskatoon researching sustainable theatre strategies.
USask drama professor and head of the Department of Drama Carla Orosz and City of Saskatoon Arts and Grants Consultant Kathy Allen.

SASKATOON — A joint project between the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and the City of Saskatoon will explore best practices for creating sustainable and shared resources.

From the USask Department of Drama to the professional theatre stages scattered throughout Saskatoon and nearby communities, the vibrant local theatre scene in Saskatchewan continues to grow. Now, the focus is ensuring the theatre scene remains sustainable for future generations of aspiring actors and artists.

USask drama professor and head of the Department of Drama Carla Orosz is working with City of Saskatoon Arts and Grants Consultant Kathy Allen to figure out the best ways to share resources among theatre organizations and build a sustainable theatre production ecosystem for the future.

"If artists don’t have those resources, some artists will pay out of their own pocket to entertain and bring arts and culture into our province. That shouldn’t happen. They might make the decision that they can’t afford to do it in the future,” Orosz said. “In order for artists and companies to not sacrifice themselves, we need to support them.”

The research project received $29,000 through the Research Junction initiative and will look for ways to make modern theatre more sustainable and hopefully grow new theatre companies and artists in a more sustainable model.

By looking for ways to collaborate with resources and by teaching more sustainable, forward-thinking design practices to up-and-coming drama students, Orosz said there is a push towards making theatre more environmentally and fiscally friendly for the future.

Allen said modern theatre companies, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down so many productions, are “easily stretched” by the demands of shows being produced.

She pointed to an environmental forum for arts groups in October of 2022 that showed there was an interest in the artistic community to address sustainability.

“It’s not just about saving money. It’s about saving energy. And certainly, I hear the young designers talking about it in a different way,” Allen said. “It’s about not spending resources you don’t have to. What can you reuse, recycle ... it’s pretty practical.”

The project will explore the sharing of resources and the sharing of spaces. Part of the funding will go towards creating an archive of props, costumes, set pieces and other resources to be accessible by the community, moving towards a “sharing economy” model that could theoretically keep both costs and waste down for theatre companies.

“We want to stop putting stuff into a landfill,” Orosz said. “Where do all these beautiful new things go? And right now, every theatre is running out of space.”

This project was awarded funding by the Research Junction initiative. Research Junction is a collaboration between the City of Saskatoon and USask’s Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives “to support the development of joint research projects that address contemporary urban issues for the benefit of Saskatoon residents.”

 — Submitted by USask Media Relations