U of M Student Wins BGA Prize for Making Theatre Greener

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey

April 18, 2015 - Travis Blackwell, a third-year student working on his BFA in theatre design and technical production at the University of Memphis, has won the first-ever College Green Captain Prize for Greener Theatre from the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA).

"Last spring, a few of my undergraduate colleagues and I wrote a proposal to the Green Fee Committee to fund our Paperless Stage Management Project that revolutionized the environmental impact our stage management students have had," explained Blackwell.

The Paperless Stage Management Project is a student and faculty initiative to move toward a paperless approach to writing and running theatre performances. Blackwell helped make environmental awareness a part of daily life by including "green facts" in paperwork sent to the cast and production team. He also sent daily emails that contained tips on how to make daily life more environmentally friendly and encouraged cast members to recycle waste and reuse supplies.

"Paired with environmental awareness initiatives and a faculty Green Fee project to install LED house lights in the mainstage theatre, the Department of Theatre & Dance is making strides in Greener Theatre that are unique among university theatre departments," Blackwell added.

"Travis Blackwell is an innovative thinker and a positive force in the Theatre & Dance Department," said department chair Holly Lau. "Last year, he wrote a grant proposal to the Green Fee committee making the case for funding to buy four iPads and a stage management app to be used by the undergraduate stage management team. Stage managers are the central organizers for all productions and need to deal with a lot of information – audition forms, rehearsal schedules, rehearsal reports and blocking notes, to name a few. Through the use of iPads, paper usage has been minimized. He is moving our program forward by introducing a new technology into our process."

The Green Captain Prize was presented at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Conference in Cincinnati.