Hilberry Theatre No-Waste Set Design

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A summary of the work we are doing with Pegi Marshal-Amundsen, stage director at Hilberry Theatre, to help reduce waste in the area of set design.

Pegi Marshal-Amundsen, a scene design professor for the Hilberry Theatre at Wayne State University has been working on reducing waste and energy associated with creating the scenes for the Hilberry Theatre productions. Under Pegi’s leadership, the process started last year and there has been remarkable progress in reusing materials and components. Pegi is committed to her sustainable approach in management and teaching, and further requested Green Garage’s assistance to move to the next level. In four sessions, goals and actions were identified for the upcoming year to continue improving the sustainable design management of the Hilberry Theatre.

Week 1: During the first week, Pegi presented with visuals the operations and work ethics at the studio for the Hillberry Theatre. After discussions with the Green Garage team, thirteen regularly used materials were identified. Three dominant materials were selected for improving their sustainable management: lumber, plywood, and nails and screws; and another three supporting materials were selected to understand their toxicity and reduce their harmful effects on people and the environment, these are: foam, paints, and glues.

Week 2: Pegi set goals for re-using and re-cycling lumber, plywood, and nails and screws. The team identified sourcing options for re-using and re-cycling each material, covering both incoming and outgoing sources. (Tom’s google excel sheet)

Week 3: In order to keep the changes manageable in terms of learning and implementing the process to meet the newly set management goals for the Hilberry Theatre, it was decided to refrain from adding any extra materials for targeting over the upcoming year.

The next day, Green Garage team visited the studio, where Pegi further explained the space, how it is being used, and obstacles in storage for reuse. The team had a better understanding of the operations and decided that metal items are an easy target to handle more sustainably this year as well.

Week 4: Recommendations based on last week’s visit were provided for Pegi in terms of the implementation of her activities. A few measures were also finalized to help her efficiently track and effectively communicate to her audience the Theatre’s triple bottom line for sustainable design management and the economic, social and environmental impacts in which they have strived to accomplish improvements. The Green Garage is looking forward to having Pegi and her students at the beginning of the semester to explain the process, share interests, and take pride into improving together.


Group shot when the group took a field trip to the Hilberry.
Group shot when the group took a field trip to the Hilberry.
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