An artist’s energy inspires new energy research

by Jini Stolk

We’re working on a few exciting initiatives for Toronto’s Green Theatres this season, and I’m happy to say that there’s growing interest from companies that want to practice their environmental values at work.  Not only will we be exploring the opportunities and resources available for energy efficient facilities upgrades (including the new Loan Guarantee program from the City of Toronto*), but we also want to widen the circle by providing tools, information and encouragement on greening back stage, office, front of house,  concessions and maintenance.

Artists, of course, are taking some of the most creative leaps in this area, integrating green initiatives and themes into their practice. While many of these innovations are coming out of York University’s amazing work on green theatre and art production, I’ve recently heard about a fascinating independent project by contemporary dancer, William Yong. William, who I’ve greatly admired as a dancer and choreographer since his days at Toronto Dance Theatre, is working on a dance project focused on light – researching the use of dancers’ movements to produce electricity in a variety of ways to power performance. The technical innovations he’s been developing (with a number of brilliant and creative technology partners) are breaking new ground.  Harbourfront Centre, which has been quietly leading the way in Toronto in energy saving and other green initiatives, is incubating the project which has also been supported by the Metcalf Foundation.

The work when staged has the potential to be absolutely beautiful as well as technologically cutting edge, as you can see in this excerpt from his recent piece at Dance Made In Canada. This link will take you to William’s website where the complete research diaries can be found.

I love the fact that William is out front not only in inspiring technological innovation, but also in openly sharing his results.

*The City of Toronto is launching another funding option for green renovations and building upgrades. Here is an outline of the Loan Repayment Reserve Fund and a form for indicating your Intent to Apply. Get this in before you start your project.



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