Harris Kafkaridis is the newly appointed Technical Supervisor at Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC). “When I joined THOC, the first goal set for me from the upper management was to follow ETC’s sustainability course for theatres, delivered by Ki Culture. It fitted me like a glove,” he says.
Being a stage designer himself, Harris explains that he has always been very interested in exploring new creative forms and thinking about how theatre can be more sustainable in its practices. “I work with the workshops that design and construct all elements on stage, and I was interested in how we can re-use these items, or how the raw materials we use can be more sustainable – but other topics tackled in the seminar were quite new for me.”
For Kiki Argyrou, THOC’s dramaturg, “the most important part of the course was that they allowed us to set a shared goal, not merely an artistic one, which has to do with a way of being – and this is very important.” Harris adds that following his experience within the course and reflecting on the ETC Sustainable Action Code for Theatres, guiding theatres towards a more sustainable, conscious, mindful and just future by 2030, it was clear that every theatre has its own pace. “For some, success might be that they reach 10; for us, it might be another number. What is important is that there needs to be a plan and that it depends on us how far we take it forward,” he says.
Participating in the ETC sustainability courses brings a new way of thinking about the right steps to bring about organisational change
THOC has been a member of ETC in the past and after a short break, decided to re-join the network. Harris and Kiki stress that some sustainability policies and procedures already existed within the theatre, but more from an empirical point of view rather than a holistic approach to sustainable theatre management. For example, Kiki says, stage designers are required by contract to submit their list of props, and with the support of THOC’s technical team, to see what exists already in the theatre and what they can use for their production. Furthermore, given its role within the theatrical landscape in Cyprus, THOC has also promoted circular thinking by facilitating the sharing of props and stage design elements with local independent theatre groups.
ETC’s sustainability courses like the Ki-Futures Programme: ETC Pilot - Sustainability for Theatres encouraged THOC to bring these conversations more intensively within the organisation – especially among younger staff. They are exploring the possibility of a new pilot project that could combine stage designers’ sustainable practices with an artistic vision, giving a challenge to a director to produce a sustainable play – both practically and thematically. “And most importantly we discuss how we can pass on the idea and the culture of sustainability to all our staff, how can we shift mindsets, how we can improve and advance our policies or give incentives beyond a ‘greenwashing approach’ by practicing what we preach,” explains Harris. Both Harris and Kiki underline the important role of the upper management in supporting change in this direction, and the existing positive environment within the organisation to work on these topics in a more structured way.
For Kiki and Harris, the impact of participation in the ETC sustainability courses is a new way of thinking and learning about the right steps to bring about change in the organisation for a better future. “If you get passionate about it, you try to go beyond the nuts and bolts and then you can also become more creative. We all need the scientific knowledge and the experiences of other theatres, as well as to know that you can always get in touch with a colleague elsewhere and ask how they applied something in their own work,” Harris says.
And I am positive change will happen - being a father of a two-year-old child, for me ‘tomorrow’ has a face and for this reason I am even more committed to this.
Harris Kafkaridis is the newly appointed Technical Supervisor at Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC).
Kiki Argyrou is Dramaturg at THOC.
This article is part of the ETC Publication Our Stories of Change, which is a new series to illustrat the effect and impact of our current programme of activities: TRANSFORMATIONS - Recharging European Theatres and Audiences in a Post-Covid World. The article was written by Matina Magkou, Researcher for On The Move.
Our Stories of Change
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Volume 2 of 'Our Stories of Change' is Out!Get ready to immerse yourself in stories from ETC colleagues
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Beyond Nuts and BoltsTHOC on how ETC’s Sustainability Courses have shifted mindsets and organisational thinking at their theatre