Academic Affairs

Interdisciplinary Major Proposal: The Business of Green Theatre

Ira Grace

Faculty Advisors: Professor Danny Grace, Dr. Joyce Hardin & Professor Lyle Rupert

Offered with Cooperation with the Theatre, Business & Environmental Studies department.

I started producing theatre in High School when one summer a friend of mine and actor approached me about doing a production of Art by Yasmina Reza independently at The Public Theatre. We had a cast but what we lacked was the capital to produce it and production direction. I had some money saved up and so that summer I produced, directed and designed Art for them. I discovered that that's where my heart really lay, in making theatre happen. I love theatre in all capacities but the industry doesn't always need more actors or more of any one thing. The industry needs versatile people with diversified backgrounds that can make theatre happen wherever and whenever there is a market for it. Theatre is not a dying industry but it does need the continued support and guidance of educated people to maintain theatres place in a modern world.

Theatre production requires a solid grounding in Business & Economics to help theatre survive in an increasingly competitive world or entertainment. In order to be successful in theatrical production, one must understand Theatre as a business that relics on accurate and ethical business practices. Money and a lack of money arc huge issues in theatre whether it is nonprofit or not. To be successful theatrical productions must have a successful business model to maximize efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Environmental studies have become more than just solving problems in the environment to produce a healthier earth. It has become necessary to look at how to overcome the human element of the problem; the problem of motivating large groups of people to support the solutions we already have. In order to do this we also have to look at how we interact with each other in terms of the environment, how society views the environment as a whole and how these images and ideas can be framed to affect people. It is not a one-time initiative but a driving philosophy that shapes the work we do. Environmentalism in theatre goes beyond doing our best to use environmentally friendly materials or recycle; it is also about the messages we send and how the audience perceives those message. It is the responsibility of producers then to be aware of what theatre is saying. A background in environmental studies from different disciplines will help shape how I communicate responsibly with audiences.

Courses by Department


Theatre in its most basic form is an actor, a space and an audience. Generally, however, the production demands more than an empty room with an actor in his own clothes. To produce theatre it is invaluable to understand to understand every facet of its production. These are the core skills involved in any theatrical production and are integral to a successful production.

  • TART 260 Production 1: Scenery and Lights
  • TART 280 Production 2: Costume and Makeup
  • TART 430 Stage Directing
  • TART 450 Production Design


Theatres are firms like any other business. They compete with other theatres and participate in markets. Understanding how businesses operate is crucial to successful theatre production.

  • BUSI 200 - 210 Business & Accounting I & II
  • ECON 200 Microeconomics
  • BUSI 330 Cost Accounting

Environmental Studies:

Theatre is an essentially human endeavor and a greater understanding or how humans interact with the environment allows us to reflect that on stage. In order to understand how I can use environmental concepts in a theatrical setting I need to have a well-rounded understanding of these concepts from many different disciplines.

  • PHIL 270 Environmental Philosophy
  • ENGL 275 American Literature and the Environment
  • ECON 3-10 Environmental Economics
  • SOCI 362 Images of the City

Senior Capstone Project

As a culmination of my studies I will create a faux theatre company and publish the information on a website. The website will contain the following:

  • The upcoming season
  • Full designs for one of the selected plays
  • A written thesis as a statement of design concept
  • An assessment of the environmental impact of the season
  • Publicity/Marketing
  • Budget & Cost Projections for the upcoming season
  • Sales projections

The environmental assessment for the season will break apart the different elements of theater and look at their environmental impact, as well as elaborating on different options available for theaters to reduce their consumption. It will end with a risk assessment of my upcoming season.

Play selection is the role of a dramaturge. A dramaturge helps the theatre choose plays that fit with its theatrical and literary criteria. This encompasses more than the ease of staging the play but also its reception by a modern audience and its historical significance. For this season, I will be looking for plays that fit the environmental and social theme of the season as well as having commercial appeal.

The central design concept for the season is conscious art that provides both entertainment and offers a distinct perspective for the audience to receive. This concept will be a synthesis of my environmental studies work. My capstone will be graded by all three members of my committee: Danny Grace, Lyle Rupert and Dr. Joyce Hardin. I will develop this season over the course of my senior year; my capstone will not be a class. This will culminate in a final presentation of my work as a discussion of green theater, how a socially conscious theater could operate and the type of work that goes into designing a season for it.

See the original document.