The CGA was founded in 2019 by Canadian performers Julia McLellan and Tess Benger, as our response to the theatre industry’s structural lack of organized climate action. After years of having to leave our values at the door when we entered arts organizations, we started to wonder what our national theatre community would need to feel like they had the skills to embody their climate action in their artistic work.
We’ve come a long way since then, growing our little idea into a national not-for-profit that is devoted to bridging the gap between sustainability and theatre. We started with one central idea: what if there was a guidebook of best practices, to help arts organizations embed environmentally responsible choices right into their policies from the top down. From their backstage to their front of house, there would be a set of suggestions to help them make better choices from within the busy time constraints of their leadership roles. At the same time, the guidebook would help each department with specific best practices, making the creation of climate crisis conscious theatre more approachable, feasible and exciting!
That posed a big challenge. The amount of expertise it would take to span that amount of knowledge would require casting a net wide enough to find arts workers who had prioritized sustainability in their work, and bringing them together to create a co-written national project.
We’ve never been ones to back away from a challenge, and two years later, the guidebook is finally here, chocked full of incredible best practices, expert guidance, and inspiring think pieces from some of Canada’s most climate focused arts workers.
Accompanying this resource, is our theatrical membership program, our commons of reciprocal learning, and our educational department, that work in tandem to provide our theatre industry with knowledge, consultation and community.
We can’t wait to have you aboard,
Julia McLellan & Tess Benger
(Co-founders, Executive Directors)