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2010 — Community
Interactive play on sustainability
The concept of sustainability is often misunderstood, overused or appropriated, and sometimes causes conflict between parties with strong opposing positions that could be reconciled if each better understood the concept and its impact on the community, if each were better informed and equipped, and if a dialog took place between elected officials, socio-economic advocates and the public. In light of this dilemma, Alcoa Canada Primary Products invited Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec (RNCREQ), a group of regional environmental councils, to commission an interactive play on the topic of sustainability.
The RNCREQ enlisted the theatrical expertise of Mise au jeu and formed an advisory committee of six people from various sectors working in sustainability (including Lise Sylvain from Alcoa Canada Primary Products) and the Director of the La Licorne Theatre.
In the spring of 2008, a preview of the play Acteurs de changement (agents of change) was presented to an audience of sustainability stakeholders. Alcoa Foundation then granted the RNCREQ the substantial financial assistance it needed for its members, the 16 regional environmental councils of Québec, to launch a training and awareness tour in every region of Québec. The Société des alcools du Québec and the provincial ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire also offered financial support for the tour. The result was two performances in each region: one for regional and local decision-makers, and the other for the public. For the decision-makers, the interactive play was part of a day of training that also included conferences or workshops.
The tour began in the fall of 2008 and, by March 2010, more than two thirds of the regional councils had fulfilled their mandate. Overall, the activity is striking a cord with its audiences and is a success. Thanks to the exchanges resulting from the performances, the information they convey, and the relaxed atmosphere in which they are presented, they enable participants to express their points of view, discuss their take on issues, and bring out problems and limitations directly related to their jobs and interests (elected officials, professionals and citizens). The resulting dialog and communication skills the play fosters among participants represent a big step forward in bringing about the behavioural changes needed to achieve sustainability. In addition, sharing issues results in a better understanding of the challenges of sustainability and promotes involvement by elected officials and decision-makers.
The tour continues and all regions will have completed their performances by the fall of 2010.