Chitresh Das Institute (CDI) School Director and CDI Co-Founder, Preeti Zalavadia is heading up CDI’s production greening process. CDI caught up with her to find out what it’s been like to green CDI productions.

You are working to green CDI’s Annual Production? What was most surprising?

I thought it was going to be a lot of work. Of course there is some work, but once you shift your mindset, it starts to come naturally. Mostly it required us taking a step back and looking at our practices and how we could change them, realistically.

What was your first step?

Preeti Zalavadia (PZ) Our first step was to take a look at what we do when we plan a production and see those areas that we could tweak.  We referred to the Sustainable Stanford Cardinal Event Green Guidelines, which are available to the public on their website:

How did you go about utilizing the guide in making the production of Aranya Katha, Part II more sustainable?

PZ We looked at the elements of our production and where we could specifically change how we operate to be more sustainable.

We looked at the following resource-heavy areas:

1)   Printing of paper for programs, printing tickets

2)   Signage and name badges

3)   Artist Hospitality

4)   Concessions

5)   Sets and props for the production

The following are some examples of how we adjusted our operations to be more sustainable:

·     We will not be printing the programs, we are going digital. Program will be emailed to our ticket buyers beforehand. We will have one or two posters in the lobby with the program so that audience members can take a picture of the program on the phone and look at it as needed. 

·     We are making sure that we have staff and volunteers in place to recycle everything after the performance.

·     The name badges for the performers are durable plastic holders that will be used for multiple years.

·     We are asking our participants and volunteers to bring their own reusable water bottles and not providing or selling water in plastic bottles.

·     All utensils, plates and cups for concessions will be either recyclable or compostable.

·     Urging families and audience to carpool as much as possible.


How has this changed how you look at productions?

PZ I think this is starting to shift how CDI sees its role as an organization. As a performing arts organization, we have the stage and the platform, and with that comes responsibility. We want to make sure that the next generation knows that they can make a difference, if they see a problem they have the power to go out and work to solve it.

Aranya Katha, Part II – The Maharaja’s Decree, highlights a pivotal moment not just in India’s history, but in the history of the global environmental movement today. So I feel really good that we are celebrating not only the ideals of Amrita Devi on the stage, but we are also incorporating those ideals into how we create and put this production on stage.

Even in our CDI classes we have made small, but meaningful changes. We have our students turn in their practice logs digitally now instead of filling out a paper.

How has this impacted you personally in your life?

PZ This has made me more diligent about recycling everything and reusing a lot more.

And now I am making sure that my kids at home are doing the same. When I find them throwing away even a small piece of paper or plastic  in the garbage, I remind them to recycle it. I think the more we talk about this, the more awareness it will create. 

I feel really proud that we are greening our productions and having conversations about the environment and what we need to do to help it.

Aranya Katha , Part II - The Maharaja’s Decree dance drama will premiere on May 12 at 6pm at the Samuel Johnson, Jr. Center for Performing Arts at Capuchino High School, 1501 Magnolia Drive, San Bruno. LINK TO TICKETS