NMU theater program goes green

Northern Michigan University’s Forest Roberts Theatre is trying to become a little more green by changing how it uses paper.

A color program is printed at the start of the season that includes every show for the year. The audience for each show is encouraged to return the program when leaving the theater. The program has a black-and-white insert inside, specific to each show, that the audience is encouraged to keep.

“It cuts down a huge amount,” NMU Director of Theatre Ansley Valentine said. “It probably cut our printing bill in half, so we’re able to actually provide more information to our patrons because we’re not printing covers, printing with the color and all of that every single time.”

That’s not the only way the theater program is reducing its carbon footprint. It’s also moved away from making its set pieces out of plywood in favor of cardboard.

“It’s a whole lot lighter, and we’ve had to add a learning curve of learning how to paint and work with this material, but from the audience, you can’t tell that it’s corrugated cardboard,” Valentine said.

Besides being easier to store because of the lower weight, the set pieces are also much less expensive and more easily recycled in case of damage.