After the success of our launch event AND our mystery book sale, we thought it was time to introduce you to our events team (Annabel Steele and Cate Hanlon) ahead of our sustainability boutique next week!
To start, can you guys introduce yourselves?
Annabel: As well as being Head of Music for the Greenhouse, I’m also one of the events managers. This is the first time I’ve ever worked on the logistics side of a project but I am loving every second. While my wonderful, organised and competent partner-in-crime Cate deals with literally anything that involves a level of sanity, I’m dealing more with the collaborative side of the job: meeting up with fellow creators who want to get involved in the events that we’re putting on, and want to make sustainable art. I’m an environmentalist, a traveller and a creator, so this has been the dream job.
Cate: I’m the other half of the events team, and I’m also producing two shows with The Greenhouse:Daphne, or Hellfire and The Voices We Hear. I make a lot of lists and charts, and Annabel makes our events creative and fun. I’m very excited to direct my environmental efforts into something productive (and very cool!) instead of just silently seething whenever I see people take plastic grocery bags.
What’s your experience of being part of The Greenhouse team been like so far?
Annabel: I’ve been involved in a LOT of projects and groups during my time at university thus far, but The Greenhouse is absolutely the best thing I’ve gotten myself into. I could talk forever about how privileged I feel to be working with some of the most talented people I’ve ever come across, to build a venue which brings together theatre and the environment, two endeavours which are really important to me.
Cate: It’s easy for environmentalism to seem futile or exhausting or overwhelming. There have been times where I desperately wanted some coffee but didn’t have my keep-cup on me. The Greenhouse makes caring rewarding, which I think is extremely important. I’m so lucky to be working with people who are truly the best of the best, creating without wasting. This is such a unique opportunity, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
Tell us more about the events you’ve planned.
Annabel: We’ve got a few bits and bobs dotted throughout the semester, including outdoor gigs and our Sustainability Boutique.
Cate: That’s where we’ll be selling lots of cool products including metal straws, reusable produce bags, and wooden toothbrushes. Keep an eye on Facebook for more details, we’re very excited!
Of all the fabulous events you’ve organised, which one are you the most excited about?
Cate:Honestly, I think the entirety of Fundraising Week is going to be incredible. There’s really something for everyone, whether you love a night of chill music or a massive party (or both).
Annabel: Yeah we have some amazing stuff planned. We have a Secret Garden Party, the famous BoxedIn Beach Bonfire and, my personal favourite, a collaboration with Wax Collective which will see a daytime set-up of environmentally friendly creative stalls – we’ve got a bunch of fantastic student societies on-board to make it a gorgeous day – followed by St Andrews’ first ever zero-waste house party. It’s going to be big!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced organising a zero-waste event?
Cate: The biggest challenges have been the smallest – it’s amazing how many little things we just look over in our day-to-day life. It’s relatively easy to reduce waste, but it’s quite another thing to eliminate it entirely. I’ve found that my whole mentality has shifted – for example, we used poster paper in my management tutorial last week, and my immediate reaction was ‘I need to save this poster so I can use the back for a sign’. If you were at our mystery book sale, the back of that sign was full of notes on social enterprises.
Annabel: We want to keep everything creative, especially our collaborations with societies and groups like Wax and Capture Collective. But it’s a really big challenge to get people creating visual art without using any plastic or unsustainable products. We’re working with Transition on a couple of our events and they’re making homemade dyes using herbs and spices, which is fab, and Capture Collective are looking into building a corkboard out of bottle corks for one of our events too. All in all, while it’s been challenging to keep this aspect of the events zero-waste, it has also been incredibly fun and also so rewarding to get myself and other people thinking about how to do things differently, in order to put the planet first.
What would you say is the best thing about organising events?
Annabel: Getting new people into environmentalism! At our Launch Event, I had several people come up to me, wanting to know more about the project and wanting to get involved. That has to be the most rewarding thing of all, because ultimately this project is about spreading awareness of the environment and when people come up to me and specifically ask how they can get on board, it’s explicit confirmation that we’re doing exactly that.
Cate: I love watching everything come together – what was, two months ago, just a spreadsheet of ideas is becoming a reality. We also have access to such an incredible pool of people and such a broad spectrum of talents, which makes our job so much easier.
If you had absolutely no restrictions (financial, geographical, etc), what kind of event would you love to organise for The Greenhouse?
Cate: I think a campout would be amazing – I’m not an outdoorsy person at all, but some of my best memories from school were our trips out into the mountains (I’m Canadian, and we take camping very seriously). Nothing bonds people like taking away modern conveniences, where the only source of entertainment is overly competitive card games. Nothing makes you realize how much garbage we produce like carrying it around with you for a few days. Nothing makes you realise how important our planet is like getting out and seeing it.
Annabel: Music, travelling and environmentalism are the three things I hold dearest, so my dream event would be an amalgamation of all these. I’d organise a sailing trip, destination somewhere in Europe that I hadn’t visited before, where I’d host a sustainable music festival. Loads of gorgeous music, promotion of grassroots artists, so much vegan food (and alcohol, of course), sustainable clothing sales, outdoor yoga… all the good stuff.
And looking towards to The Greenhouse’s future, what are you looking forward to the most about going to The Edinburgh Fringe?
Annabel: Enacting real change. I believe in this project so much, and I really do think it’s going to achieve everything it’s setting out to. I’m excited beyond words to spread our message and to get people talking about sustainable theatre and prioritising our beautiful planet.
Cate: This will be my first time at the Fringe, so I’m super excited for the happy chaos that comes with that. More specifically, everyone involved with The Greenhouse really believes that what we are doing is critically important. It can be incredibly difficult to reconcile creation and beauty with the reduction of waste, but humanity doesn’t stand a chance if we can’t do that.
Thank you so much to Annabel and Cate for taking the time to answer our questions! Make sure you join us at our Sustainability Boutique and are following us on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date with everything we’re doing over the next couple of months.