Production > Electric

Lighting and Equipment Maintenance

You can maintain maximum light output by ensuring proper upkeep and maintenance of theatrical dimmers and instruments. Maximizing light output from the equipment allows designers to run instruments more efficiently, minimizing energy levels needed to achieve the brightness required for the scene and improving the work environment for cast and crew.

  • Instruments / Lens Tubes: Clean out dust from lens tubes to maintain proper light output, instead of turning the source output up when lens becomes covered in dust.
  • Dimming Racks: Clean air filters on your dimming cabinets by vacuuming or blowing dust out of the filter. Also check air vents for dust. Vacuum the front of the modules to remove dust.
  • Control/Switch Gear: Switch gear builds up more heat with dust, which degrades performance over time.  Clean out dust routinely to ensure the gear runs most efficiently.


Reusing Gels

Each year thousands of dollars of lighting gel must be changed out on Broadway shows as part of maintenance procedures. This lighting gel is usually not damaged nor faded, and is often in great condition. The goal of the BGA’s “The Gel Project” is to transfer good lighting gel from Broadway shows to the collections of off-Broadway, small companies, or regional theatres for only the cost of shipping. This will keep lighting gel out of the dumpster and help support theatrical productions throughout the country.

Instead of disposing of partly used gels that can no longer be used for your production, consider joining the BGA’s Gel Project by collecting gels for reuse by regional theatres. Provide a bin for gel collection backstage and encourage the Electric crew to place used gels there during gel changes.

If you are interested in donating your used gels, contact Donyale Werle of the BGA and alert her of the timing of your next scheduled gel change (annually or biannually).  Collect all gel and scroller color during your next change over pack them into shippable boxes, and contact the BGA so they can arrange a pickup.  The BGA will arrange for shipping and the regional theatre will cover shipping costs.

For long-running shows, consider investing in dichroic filters instead of disposable gels.


Energy conservation

All stage lighting systems should have power cut off at the source. Use master switches on dimmer racks and other equipment to shut off the power source at the end of the day and ensure equipment is not idling overnight or when not in use between shows. Power down moving heads and LEDs if they won’t be in use (idling) for more than an hour.

Don’t rehearse under full performance lighting. When rehearsals are required on stage they should be performed under work lights unless conducting a technical or dress rehearsal. Work Light Systems should use energy-efficient sources.


Electronic Waste

When batteries, computers, and other potentially hazardous electronic wastes are improperly disposed, they can pose significant risks to public health and the environment.

Set up collection spaces at your theatre for frequently disposed of items like light bulbs and batteries, and work with Green Captains from shows to ensure these items are responsibly recycled.  The BGA collects both regular and re-chargeable batteries for recycling at their office.

Choose an e-Steward electronic waste recycler to ensure that your electronic waste is being properly recycled. By choosing an e-Stewards® Recycler, individuals and businesses are choosing the most trustworthy recyclers, ones that have been independently verified to handle e-waste in the most globally responsible way — using safe technologies and careful protections for workers.

Check with the e-Stewards Recyclers in your area about recycling your e-waste.  e-Stewards Certification is the only marketplace solution supported by the environmental community and the most responsible electronics recycling companies. It was created to be both principled and practical, and it joins other best-practice certification programs such as those by the Marine Stewardship Council and Forest Stewardship Council, as the most protective standard and the most rigorous program for verifying recyclers are doing things right.

E-waste Collection Drives

The BGA hosts two e-waste recycling drives annually—one each summer and winter—in Times Square to collect old electronics from Broadway shows and venues for recycling by an e-Stewards certified recycler. The BGA has a “Reuse table” during the recycling drive where working electronics dropped off for recycling can be claimed by others for reuse, in exchange for a small donation to the BGA. The BGA prefers to find a home for all electronics that are still in working condition. If you are unable to find your own recycler, consider storing e-waste for recycling at the next BGA E-waste Drive.

Giving away or selling used electronics are great ways to extend their use and keep them out of landfills. Some services provide second-hand computers to schools or nonprofits, so your functional old computer could become a valuable tool for someone in need. Please ensure that an e-Stewards certified recycler is used by whomever you donate your used electronics to.

No matter where you take your e-waste—to collection events, recyclers, or take-back programs—you should be sure that 100% of the electronic equipment will go only to e-Stewards Recyclers. It’s the best way to protect the global ecosystem and human health when it comes to electronics recycling.

Environmental Benefits

Batteries and electronic waste (e-waste) constitute one of the most polluting portions of an office waste stream. Batteries and e-waste – such as computer monitors, printers, and cell phones – contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. When thrown into the trash, they end up in landfills or incinerators, and these toxic heavy metals can be emitted as air pollutants or drain into soils and waters, polluting lakes and streams and making them unfit for drinking, swimming, fishing, and wildlife.

The key to responsible e-waste recycling is knowing where your stuff will end up. Watch out for any recycler who ships discarded electronics to developing countries for processing. Avoiding sending our garbage overseas saves on greenhouse gas emissions and helps protect workers and the environment in developing countries.

According to the Basel Action Network, upwards of 80 percent of the world’s e-waste is transported to Asia, and most of it winds up in China. Workers who disassemble consumer electronics by hand are exposed to toxic substances, which also contaminate groundwater.

Additional Resources