Last Saturday morning I set off to the Green Lens Studios in Finsbury Park for a lesson in pedal power. So having got very lost, despite living less then a mile from the studio, I reached my destination, the very quirky and completely unknown to me photo studio, which happens to be both brillaint and the only sustainable photo studio in the UK. What brought me to this workshop so early on a Saturday was the theatre and more precisely a show I am assistant producing on called BICYCLE THIEVES. BICYCLE THIEVES is an entirely pedal powered show created by the wonderful Pip Productions theatre company which will be opening at the CREATE 11 festival next month. The pedal power not only comes in the bike choreography but also that all the sound is powered by generators connected to bikes. And these generators are built by an amazingly innovative company called Magnificent Revolutions, who are certainly making waves in the green power pond. They power all sorts of things from film screenings to gigs, all through the power of the audiences bikes.
So the aim of my day was to learn not only how to use one of these generators but also to build one. We first began with introducing ourselves to the group, who were all there for more domestic reasons, such as wanting to go entirely ‘off grid’ in their daily lives. At this point a wave of panic hit me, was I green enough for this group? Or would they string me up by my probably not very environmentally friendly shoe laces? Don’t get me wrong, I try very hard but I am certainly not on the same level as my solely raw eating workshop partner. But I needn’t have worried as they were all very lovely and didn’t once ask me about my home recycling program. Introductions done we got started on the theory and just how much I had forgotten from GCSE physics suddenly became very apparent. People twenty years older then me were recalling formulas they remembered from school, myself at 23 had nothing. But luckily we had very nice teachers in Magnificent Revolutions who were very lenient on the detentions.
So I learnt to crimp, test for voltage and understand the way an electron moves all in the space of one day! And one of my favourite things about the day was that it was all in a days producing work. Theatre certainly has the ability to take you on lots of adventures and I am sure this is certainly one of the main reasons we all want to be involved. Another highlight of the workshop was definitely, having completed our generator, getting to pedal power some music. Because it finally all made sense. There is something very exciting about making your own electricity and particularly when you know it has the potential to power an entire show. Sustainable and renewable power sources will hopefully become the norm in theatre and BICYCLE THIEVES seem like a very positive step in this direction.
Because lets be honest Theatre is not necessarily the greenest of industries. We print off scripts like there’s no tomorrow, use huge lights night after night and heat rehearsals rooms even in the summer. But change is on its way. Companies such as Magnificent Revolutions and Julies Bicycle are putting a green focus on theatre. Ideas Tap also supports green initiatives through its annual Green Fund and multiple theatre companies are following suite. Because green theatre does not mean environmentally friendly but artistically rubbish, at least not anymore.
BICYCLE THIEVES is showing at The View Tube as part of CREATE 11 from 1st July – 6th July