EMOS History & Links to Festival Sites
Founders Theresa May and Larry Fried have been active in prompting theatre artists to respond to the environmental crisis for over 20 years. In 1991 they organized Theatre in an Ecological Age, sponsored by the Intiman Theatre and Theatre in the Wild in Seattle. While the conference was focused primarily on the material practice of theatre (now call sustainable scenography), the conference also focused light on the importance of creating theatre that tells the story of the land. Robert Schenkkan and Molly Smith gave keynotes in which they invited theatre makers to become more directly engaged with the environmental crisis. Theatre in an Ecological Age produced the first book on sustainable theatre management – Greening Up Our Houses by Larry Fried and Theresa May (Drama Books 1994).
EMOS was founded by Theresa May and Larry Fried in 2004. The first EMOS Festival was held in Fall 2004 at Humboldt State University, in Arcata, CA. Winners of the 2004 winners of the EMOS Ecodrama Contest received workshop productions in HSU’s Department of Theatre, Film and Dance. Additional readings, workshops and performances were held at HSU and at Dell’Arte Theatre in nearby Blue Lake, CA. (http://pages.uoregon.edu/ecodrama/2004/schedule.html)
After Theresa May joined the faculty of Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon, the second EMOS Festival took place at on the UO campus in Eugene, OR, in Spring 2009. Winners of the EMOS 2009 Ecodrama Contest were Song of Extinction, by EM Lewis (first place), and Atomic Farmgirl, by C. Denby Swanson (second place), and both received workshop productions. Song of Extinction went on the win the Steinberg Award for 2009. EMOS 2009 included an expanded program of ten-days of symposia, speakers, panels and workshops that attracted activists, artists, and scholars from across the United States and Canada, and included a joint session with Ashden Directory of the UK via live video interface. Keynote speakers for EMOS 2009 included performance artist Rachel Rosenthal and noted scholar Una Chaudhuri. EMOS 2009 symposia led to the publication of Readings in Performance and Ecology, edited by Wendy Arons and Theresa May (Palgrave 2011). (http://pages.uoregon.edu/ecodrama/artistic-staff/)
In 2012 EMOS was hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Performing Arts, and organized by Wendy Arons, faculty of CMU’s School of Performing Arts. Winners of EMOS 2012 were Sila by Chantal Bilodeau (first place) and Bears, by Mark Rigney (second place). EMOS 2012 included staged readings and symposia. Holly Hughes, performing her “Dog and Pony Show, was the featured keynote event. A first volume of ecodramas from the EMOS festival and beyond is being planned. (http://www.drama.cmu.edu/news/view/92)