CITIZENSHIP

   

In many respects, improvisation is a metaphor for life. At the Brave New Workshop, we use good humor, mutual respect, trust, support, acceptance, self-esteem and creativity to create a successful show. Turns out those are often the same skills we use to create experiences that make our lives more fulfilling. So it’s only natural that we use them to form the basis for good corporate citizenship.

The Brave New Citizens Initiative is an organic continuation of a long lasting commitment we made to serve the community and to do what we can to have a positive impact on society. As times have changed, we’ve added a focus on the environment, but the basic mission to be of service to our community has existed for every one of our 52 years.

Putting Employees First

We do the same things behind the scenes that we do out on stage. Our organization is one big improvisational scene. We maintain a culture where everyone is allowed to safely be their authentic selves. This isn’t lip service, this is exactly what it sounds like: flex time, virtual office, extended paid maternity leaves and even a bring-your-baby-or-pet-or-both-to-work environment. In order for that to work, we have to be open, honest and completely transparent with all members of the team about everything. Not just what is expected of them, but what they can expect of us. This includes keeping everyone in the know on how the company is doing both operationally and financially. We put a lot of power and accountability in everyone’s hands. And because of that, we get a lot back.

Taking Care of the Environment

Brave New Workshop SustainabilityWe believe that it’s everyone’s job to try to make the world a better place. That means not just the people on it, but includes taking care of the planet itself. To date, our efforts have been focused on measuring and conserving resources within the theater. But with the Brave New Citizens Initiative, we are on a journey to decrease our ecological footprint in all areas and we hope to spark ideas and would encourage anyone who wants to share the journey with us to do so. If you have any ideas of comments on ways we can improve our ecological footprint, in or out of the theater, please do not hesitate to email elena@bravenewworkshop.com

So far, we’ve:

  • Replaced all theater and house lights with LED equipment, thus reducing electricity consumption by 73%
  • Replaced disposable drink-ware with reusable for both staff and patrons
  • Presented Waste Free Opening Night parties (all items are composted, recycled or reused)
  • Encouraged public transportation and biking by offering a free beverage for anyone who can show a bus pass or bike helmet and installing bike racks
  • Committed to 100% post-consumer recycled paper for office use and embracing digital documents to reduce office paper use by 60%

But as you can imagine, this is only the beginning. We’re also trying to improve the inefficient HVAC systems at our location, find ways to cut down on the impact of our air travel and develop a more effective, systemic approach to our waste management practices.

Think Globally. Act Locally.

Since we first opened our doors, we’ve worked hard to improve our local community. We firmly believe that the most important part of improvisation is its ability to positively transform people, organizations and businesses around the world. Which is why we put our money (and time and effort) where our mouth is:

  • We joined the MN Energy Challenge and hope you will too
  • Formed Twin Cities Sustainable Theaters, a forum for local theaters to exchange best sustainable practices
  • Worked to bring a Gilda’s Club to the Twin Cities
  • Created the Brave New Workshop holiday food drive, an annual tradition since 2003
  • Donated services, tickets, space, staff time and money to stellar local and international organizations including, Courage Center, Aliveness Project, BLIND, Inc., Emerging Green Builders, Hope Lodge, Hazelden, Cancer Kids Fund, Heifer International, Tia Foundation and many more
  • Made and donated more than 85,000 sandwiches for the hungry population in the Twin Cities through our Happy Hour Squared initiative
  • Funded more than 200 life changing surgeries for Smile Network International through owner John Sweeney’s JigglyBoy.com web presence
  • Provided more than $100,000 in scholarships and outreach services to bring the skills and mindset of our Improv for Life curriculum to those who need it most