What are we doing in Chile and Latin America to align with these global sustainability strategies in theaters? Actions such as those being promoted by Europe will in the coming years be compulsory and unavoidable topics for any organization and that even influence the financing they receive.
By Alejandra Martí, Executive Director of Ópera Latinoamérica
With the great objective of giving a sustainable approach to artistic activity, Fedora and Opera Europa recently launched the Next Stage initiative, a driver of a sustainable future, a plan that will support innovation in the opera and dance sectors by investing in transformative projects in sustainability, equality and digital transformation.
The ambitious initiative will coordinate the fundraising effort from public sources and it has been proposed as a goal by 2025 to have 800 theaters around the world join the plan. Among the 47 theaters in 17 countries, the Paris Opera, Berlin’s Komish Oper, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and Madrid’s Teatro Real, among others, have already signed up. The underlying strategy in this pioneering initiative is aligned with the European Union’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Now let’s look locally: What are we doing in Chile and Latin America to align with these global strategies? Actions such as those being promoted by Europe will in the coming years be compulsory and unavoidable topics for any organization and that even influence the financing they receive.
Some examples that are beginning to illuminate us and that come from cultural organizations in Latin America are: the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires, which changed all its lighting to LED, except for the main hall. For its part, the Municipal Theater of Santiago has had solar panels for some time and the Solís Theater of Montevideo has already begun to study the feasibility of building eco scenographies. Other sustainable initiatives are the development of co-productions that allow the recycling of costumes and scenography, together with the transmission of shows by digital means to expand the audience and “amortize” the investment.
All the initiatives mentioned above are pioneers in the area of culture and are beginning to set a path and create awareness that must continue to be strengthened.
In the specific case of Chile, the Ministry of the Environment launched a few days ago the goals to achieve the goal of carbon neutral and resilience to climate change in 2050, applying policies in 14 sectors, including buildings and cities, spaces where theaters play an important role. Theaters built in earlier centuries will have obvious difficulties, but the more modern ones will be able to make considerable improvements. Another Chilean example that follows this line is the instruments of programs and calls that CORFO has developed around climate change and sustainability.
Culture is still at the beginning of this long road, but we have to start working on it and articulation will be key. As the Fedora initiative will do and as developed by the Ministry of the Environment, it is necessary to carry out diagnoses and studies to analyze the state of the sector in this matter. On the other hand, intermediate actions can also be considered as events for the exchange of interdisciplinary good practices and peer learning.
The opportunity for theaters and cultural organizations is in sight and calls for alignment with long-term plans and public policies, which for our industry is key and is not always found.