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Open Call:Climate Change Theatre Action 2017 Edition

Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially in support of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP meetings).

CCTA 2017 is a collaboration between the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, NoPassport Theatre Alliance, The Arctic Cycle, Theatre Without Borders, and York University.


Climate scientists estimate we have fifteen years to decarbonize the economy if we want to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. The time for action is now. But action requires a hopeful vision of the future. For CCTA 2017, we are asking: “How can we turn the challenges of climate change into opportunities?”



Become Part of CCTA 2017

Join us in hosting a reading or performance of short climate change plays this fall in support of the United Nations COP23 meeting chaired by Fiji and hosted in Bonn, Germany.

WHEN: Anytime between October 1 and November 18, 2017.

WHERE: Wherever you are.

WE PROVIDE: A collection of 50 short plays that address an aspect of climate change; a list of resources to help make your Action effective and unique; organizational and marketing support; and a lot of enthusiasm!

YOUR CONTRIBUTION: You agree to present an event between October 1 and November 18, 2017 using at least one of the plays in the CCTA collection. Your event can be as simple as a classroom or living room reading or it may be presented to a larger audience in a theatre. It may be designed to reflect your own aesthetic and community. (Please note: We cannot provide funding for events.)

Contact CCTA at ClimateChangeTheatreAction [at] gmail [dot] com to register your event, get the full guidelines, and get access to the plays.

When technically possible, CCTA events will be livestreamed on the online platform HowlRound TV.

Read why CCTA is doing this in the online journal HowlRound.

Click here for the American Theatre Magazine article about what CCTA accomplished in 2015.

Follow on CCTA Facebook.


Listen to CCTA 2017’s Song by Greencard Wedding


 

CCTA event at The Box Collective in Brooklyn, NY, 2015.



List of Participating Playwrights

They come from every continent on the globe, represent over 25 cultures, are from industrialized and developing countries, urban and rural areas, and range in age from early 20s to mid 60s. Some are from low-lying island nations threatened by sea level rise, others are from countries facing severe heatwaves, floods, or droughts. Some are recent migrants, some inhabit the country their ancestors chose or were brought to, and many live on and fiercely protect the land where they were born. Together, they create an incredibly diverse and talented group with widely different perspectives. They are:

Hassan Abdulrazzak (UK/Irak)
Keith Josef Adkins (US)
Reneltta Arluk (Canada/Dene/Inuvialuit)
Elaine Ávila (Canada/US)
Catherine Banks (Canada)
Chantal Bilodeau (US/Canada)
Philip Braithwaite (New Zealand)
Jody Christopherson & Ryan McCurdy (US)
Mindi Dickstein (US)
Clare Duffy (UK/Scotland)
Angella Emurwon (Uganda)
Kendra Fanconi (Canada)
David Geary (Canada/New Zealand/Māori)
Mīria George (New Zealand/Māori)
Jordan Hall (Canada)
Vinicius Jatobá (Brazil)
C.A. Johnson (US)
Marcia Johnson (Canada/Jamaica)
Hiro Kanagawa (Canada/Japan)
MaryAnn Karanja (Kenya)
Amahl Khouri (Germany/Jordan)
Catherine Léger (Canada)
Ian Lesā (New Zealand/Samoa)
E.M. Lewis (US)
Jessica Litwak (US)

Kevin Loring (Canada/Nlaka’pamux)
Matthew MacKenzie (Canada)
Abhishek Majumdar (India)
Kasaya Manulevu (Fiji)
Shahid Nadeem (Pakistan)
Sharleen Ndlovu (Australia/Zimbabwe)
Dave Ojay (Kenya)
Achiro P. Olwoch (Uganda)
Giovanni Ortega (US/Philippines/Spain)
David Paquet (Canada)
Sarena Parmar (Canada)
Katie Pearl (US)
Jeremy Pickard & Lanxing Fu (US)
Elyne Quan (Canada)
Lynn Rosen (US)
Ian Rowlands (UK)
Lisa Schlesinger (US/Greece)
Stephen Sewell (Australia)
Saviana Stanescu (US/Romania)
Caridad Svich (US)
Jordan Tannahill (Canada)
Elspeth Tilley (New Zealand)
Meaza Worku (Ethiopia)
Nathan Yungerberg (US)
Maya Zbib (Lebanon)

Fish Soup, Mourning, and Hope at the End of the World

This Post Comes From HowlRound

This week on HowlRound, we continue our exploration of Theatre in the Age of Climate Change with more urgency than ever. With the looming eradication of climate science data from US government websites and the appointment of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump has indicated in no uncertain terms that the health of the planet and its inhabitants are of no concern to him. As theatre artists, how do we respond? Dramaturg Walter Bilderback reflects on the production of When the Rain Stops Falling at the Wilma Theater in 2016, and on the difficulties in engaging audiences with an issue that manifests itself so slowly and incrementally.—Chantal Bilodeau

What does it mean to make theatre for the Anthropocene? (Leaving aside the question of when the Anthropocene started, or whether there’s a better name for it.) Outside of Republicans in Congress and the current administration, there’s wide consensus that changes in the earth’s climate and many of its chemical processes are now driven primarily by human activity.

There’s a growing body of writing about fiction for the Anthropocene: there’s even a catchphrase, “cli-fi,” although it’s possible that “all fiction is Anthropocene fiction now, some of it just hasn’t realized it yet,” to paraphrase a Facebook quip by McKenzie Wark. I’m not sure if the same thing can be said for playwriting and theatremaking. For playwriting, a challenge may be that our traditional, Aristotelian narrative structure doesn’t allow us to deal with the problem. Climate change reveals itself over long time scales, often longer than an individual’s lifespan. Its impact is sometimes dramatic and catastrophic, but often incremental, and it is ultimately a collective, rather than individual, problem.

 

At the Wilma Theater, we spent several years looking for a play dealing with the Anthropocene that addressed these challenges and still found a way to deeply engage an audience iemotionally. To open our 2016-17 season, Artistic Director Blanka Zizka chose Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling. Rain is a sprawling epic of a play, a sleek, stark, emotionally raw meditation on the Anthropocene and extinction disguised as a family saga stretching from 1959 in London to 2039 in Alice Springs, Australia. The story unfolds in non-chronological order, and begins with a scene of magic realism: a crowd of people on the street in relentless rain. A man stops and screams, a woman falls to her feet, and a fish lands at the man’s feet. We later learn that the man and woman are in different eras, and that fish in 2039 are thought to be extinct. This layering of time characterizes the play: a scene from one era will bleed into another scene; two characters are portrayed by a younger and an older actress, who are sometimes onstage together. The play ends with a father trying to reconcile with a son he abandoned as a child, sharing family relics whose meaning is a mystery to him but not to the audience. Between them is a line of dead ancestors who bequeathed the relics to him.

We had looked at Rain a few times since I first read it in the summer of 2009. The main reason we had passed on the play in the past was that its emotional rawness and fatalism scared us: a readthrough ended with the entire cast in tears. Roy Scranton’s book Learning to Die in the Anthropocene gave us a new insight on the play. Scranton is convinced that it’s too late to avoid breaking the two degree Celsius rise in global temperature. He writes:

The greatest challenge we face is…understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront our situation and realize that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the difficult task of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.

Scranton’s notion of mourning our losses allowed us to see the sadness in When the Rain Stops Falling in a different light. It was only after this that we became aware that When the Rain Stops Falling had originated in a workshop called “The Extinction Project” and that Andrew Bovell’s attendance at a Paris museum exhibit on Melancholia had given him the key to putting his story together; he believes we are in a melancholic age. Bovell found the motif of Saturn that repeats in the play, including the metaphor of “eating the future,” in the same exhibit. Mourning and melancholy are not the same thing, psychoanalytically, but were close enough to allow us to start working.

Another concept that proved useful for Blanka and the design team in conceptualizing the production was “slow violence,” a term coined by Rob Nixon. Nixon defines “slow violence” as “a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all,” and sees it as a challenge for literature in depicting climate change in emotionally resonant fashion. Bovell doesn’t use the term, but his layering of scene upon scene creates a presence of deep time onstage. The family becomes a collective protagonist, and the impact of slow violence on the family and on the climate is made physically present for the audience.

Understanding the play’s melancholy also allowed us to see a ray of hope. In an email exchange with me, Bovell wrote: “In the final scene of the play there is hope that the damage of the past can be undone or at least understood and there is a suggestion that we have the capacity with this understanding to move on in a different way.” The final moments of Blanka Zizka’s production, with a line of ancestors seated on simple chairs and passing the relics from father to son, radiated a quiet beauty that was simultaneously heart-breaking and hopeful, reminiscent of a Donna Haraway remark on a resilient, post-Anthropocene community, whose members “knew they could not deceive themselves that they could start from scratch. Precisely the opposite insight moved them; they asked and responded to the question of how to live in the ruins that were still inhabited, with ghosts and with the living too.”

Lindsay Smiling as Gabriel York in When the Rain Stops Falling. Photo by Matt Saunders.

The Wilma attempts, as often as possible, to surround our productions with ancillary material. In this case, we had a lobby installation and two panels.

For the lobby display, Austin Arrington, from the local company Plant Group, and I coordinated with several local organizations to create an installation that incorporated both small things individuals can do now to address problems of contemporary Philadelphia (e.g., rain barrels to reduce run-off problems) and a vision for a sustainable Philadelphia in 2039, the year in which Rain begins and ends. Blanka came up with the idea for a local focus that was more optimistic on the future than the play. I found a wealth of reports by local agencies, including the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in Philadelphia, examining a range of local climate futures for the 21st century and suggesting strategies for meeting them. Incorporating some of these ideas, and extrapolating on existing projects, I sketched a future that is far from paradise but a step toward Scranton’s idea of “adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.” George Marshall’s book Don’t Even Think About It proved useful here: I particularly tried to heed his recommendations to “build a narrative of cooperation, relate solutions to climate change to the sources of happiness, and frame climate change as an informed choice.”

We held two panels following Saturday matinees. The first, “Art in the Anthropocene,” featured E. Ann Kaplan, author of Climate Trauma; Philadelphia poet and Pew Fellow Brian Teare; and playwright/translator Chantal Bilodeau. The second, “What’s Next?” focused on “what we can do as individuals and as citizens to meet the challenges of a changing climate.” This panel featured Ashley Dawson, author of the forthcoming Extreme Cities: Climate Change and the Urban Future; Christine Knapp, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; Ron Whyte, founder of the Deep Green Philly blog; and Judy Wicks, a Philadelphia activist and sustainability entrepreneur.

Did the panels make a difference? I find myself a little pessimistic. The discussions onstage were stimulating and provocative. But they were attended by a handful of audience members, less than our usual turnout, despite publicizing them in print and through social media, which may reflect a continuing head-in-the-sand attitude of many Americans toward global warming.

When the Rain Stops Falling closed on November 6. Two days later, most of us found our sense of what this country was shaken. In the play, Andrew Bovell has the 2039 character Gabriel York refer to the current book he’s reading: The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, 1975-2015. When Bovell wrote the play in 2007, the end date lay in the future. 1975 aligns easily the US defeat in Vietnam; for the actor glossary, I created a description of the book’s thesis (I attributed authorship to my Australian friend Van Badham, a playwright and Guardian columnist). I wrote, “According to Badham, Donald Trump’s candidacy, announced June 20, 2015, provides a useful endpoint for American power and prestige.” We’ll see.

The Post Fish Soup, Mourning, and Hope at the End of the World Appeared First on HowRound. Visit Their Website Here. 

Requiem for a River: Operatic Reflections on the Euphrates

This Post Comes from HowlRound:

This week on HowlRound, we continue our exploration of Theatre in the Age of Climate Change with more urgency than ever. With the looming eradication of climate science data from US government websites and the appointment of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump has indicated in no uncertain terms that the health of the planet and its inhabitants are of no concern to him. As theatre artists, how do we respond? Dutch opera director Miranda Lakerveld reflects on the prominence of water imagery in traditional music dramas from the Middle East and on the connection between conflict and ecology. —Chantal Bilodeau

I am writing this article the day before the Dutch elections. Far-right populist Geert Wilders has been leading the polls, and Turkish-Dutch youngsters are marching the streets waving dramatically large Turkish flags. For the first time in my life, I see military police trucks (and water-tanks) drive past my window. CNN and Al Jazeera discuss the “situation” in the Netherlands. Unimaginable things are happening to my country.

I create operas as a platform for dialogue in a multicultural society. My artistic work stems from research on music dramas from around the globe. I was fortunate to be able to do research on a wide range of music- drama practices, for example Tibetan Opera at the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts; passion play Ta’ziyeh in Iran; and the ancient Maya dance-drama Rabìnal Achi in Guatemala.

Ironically, I found the richest traditions in places where cultural identity is under pressure, especially after a history of violence. For example, one of the first official actions the Dalai Lama took when he arrived in India after fleeing persecution in Tibet, was to establish the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts to preserve Tibetan Opera. We might conclude that these music dramas can be extremely important in times of uncertainty and conflict.

jh Samira Dainan in Why Yemen Matters. Photo by Jan Boeve/De Balie


“Why does cultural identity create such conflict? And, how does the environment influence the dynamics between cultures?”


 

While I was doing my research, tensions between communities kept rising at home. Since 2014, my company World Opera Lab has been working mostly in the diverse neighborhoods of Amsterdam-West, applying the aesthetics of music dramas from Iran, India, Tibet, and Middle America to opera. The aim is to create a form of opera that reaches across cultures and artistic traditions.

In these creative dialogues between cultures, I have often wondered: what “makes” a culture? Even in the diaspora, what makes people attached to it? Why does cultural identity create such conflict? And, how does the environment influence the dynamics between cultures?

A series of debate operas on conflict in the Middle East, presented in collaboration with the Debate Center De Balie, has shone a new light on these questions. Why Yemen Matters, created in 2016, deals with the ongoing conflicts in Yemen and why the violence received so little attention in the West. The opera revolves around the story of the Queen of Sheba, who was originally from Yemen. Music from Händel’s oratorium Solomon, played on the Arabic ud and viola da gamba, was countered with traditional songs from Sana’a. The staging was created in dialogue with the work of Yemeni photographer Amira Al-Sharif, who also helped with finding appropriate traditional music. Interestingly, the traditional songs that “floated up” during the work had extensive references to water and its sources:

The leaf of the grape appeared
To collect water, she comes to source: Wadi Bamaa
Passing by me
Passing by me

I, oh my father, I
Glory, oh people, glory to the source, Wadi Amaan

“Ghuzan Al Qina” (Traditional song from Sana’a, Yemen)

Through these songs, I understood the importance of water sources in the region and how they affect conflicts. The songs also taught me how cultures are very much influenced by the environment. The environment shapes the culture, and consequently it shapes cultural identities.

Samira Dainan and Mireille Bittar in Why Yemen Matters. Photo by Jan Boeve/De Balie.


“The environment shapes the culture, and consequently it shapes cultural identities.”


 

A River Runs Through It
Requiem for a River picks up where Sheba left off. It is a new debate opera that will be presented in the spring of 2018, as part of the on-going collaboration between World Opera Lab and The Middle East Report in the Debate Center De Balie.

The Euphrates River is the main character in this opera, where religious stories about the iconic river are the point of departure. Currently the Tigris and Euphrates, the two main arteries in the Middle East, are rapidly drying up. According to a 2015 article published in Foreign Affairs, the mighty rivers that feed Syria and Iraq may no longer reach the sea by 2040.

The Euphrates, an important “figure” in religious texts, is featured in central stories on conflict in the region as well as in classical operas. After the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, Israelites are brought into exile in Babylonia and sing, mourning their lost homeland at the bank of the river. Psalm 137, in which this scene is depicted, inspired Verdi to write Va pensiero, the famous chorus from Nabucco. According to the Islamic hadith, the Euphrates will dry up and uncover a mountain of gold that will incite bloody conflicts.

In the Ta’ziyeh of Abbas, a Shiite passion play, the Euphrates River is occupied by the Sunni army, while the Shiites are on the losing side. General Abbas goes to the river to get water for the dying children in the camp. After gathering the water, Abbas is attacked and both his arms are amputated. Abbas continues to carry the water bag in his mouth. One arrow hits the bag and water pours out of it. This image of Abbas without arms, and the water sack in his mouth is iconic in the Shiite culture.

According to Iranian scholar Hamid Dabashi, the characters in Ta’ziyeh are metamorphic: “The metamorphic aspect of Ta’ziyeh characters makes them at once extremely potent allegories of cosmic significance, and yet instantaneously accessible to contemporary re-modulations.” In this way, Abbas becomes a potent symbol of the conflicts in the Middle East, drawing our attention to those who are suffering the consequences, and to major underlying themes such as water scarcity and ecological problems. Today in Karbala, Iraq, where this story takes place, farmers are in despair about water shortages.

We learn that water shortages have shaped our civilizations. The very first civilization emerged only when governments where able to provide access to water. Already in ancient times, city-states were cutting off each other’s water supply. And this still goes on today.

In Ta’ziyeh performances, the Euphrates is represented by a large bowl, in which the audience is invited to empty their water bottles. Stagehands then fill up the bottles with water from the bowl, and give them back to the audience. This water is now considered sacred and wholesome. This scene has an important lesson for us: it connects religious conflicts and cultural identity to ecology.

Ta’ziyeh of Abbas in Ziaran, Iran 2012. Photo by Miranda Lakerveld.

The River Reaches the Sea
I am editing this article a few weeks after the elections. For now, The Netherlands seems to have dodged the populist bullet and the eyes of the world are now on France’s elections. Spring has started, and the country is relieved. At the same time, the conflicts in the Middle East are erupting with renewed violence.

I am reading poetry from Iraq, and I am reminded again of how many water sources are shared across cultures. The Euphrates is the river that shaped the first civilizations. She runs through all of us. Or in the words of the Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab:

…The echo replies
As if lamenting:
‘O Gulf,
Giver of shells and death.
And across the sands from among its lavish gifts
The Gulf scatters fuming froth and shells
And the skeletons of miserable drowned emigrants
Who drank death forever
From the depths of the Gulf, from the ground of its silence,
And in Iraq a thousand serpents drink the nectar
From a flower the Euphrates has nourished with dew…

—from “Rainsong” (1960)

The Post Requiem for a River: Operatic Reflections on the Euphrates Appeared First on HowlRound. Visit Their Website Here. 

Create a Green Team: Glasgow Workshop

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Tuesday 16 May 2017, 14:00-16:00

Venue: MANY Studios: 3 Ross Street Glasgow , G1 5AR (Google Map)

Being the sole Green Champion in any organisation can be a big job. Are you running out of ideas? Feeling like you are fighting a losing battle? Perhaps you have limited knowledge of how all the other departments work within the company?

Now is the time to form a Green Team. This FREE workshop will give you ideas on how to:

  • Build cooperation from the whole of your organisation
  • Include senior management of the organisation
  • Arrange dates and agendas for your green team meeings
  • Create a tailored environmental policy for your organisation
  • Report back on your work to your board and build support for your work

Bring along your ideas and questions. Refreshments supplied. Feel free to bring a packed lunch

This workshop will also run in Edinburgh on Tuesday 30 May

Register Here



The post Create a Green Team: Glasgow Workshop appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.



 

About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

We Are the Climate

This post comes from HowlRound

At HowlRound, we continue our exploration of Theatre in the Age of Climate Change with more urgency than ever. With the looming eradication of climate science data from US government websites and the appointment of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump has indicated in no uncertain terms that the health of the planet and its inhabitants are of no concern to him. As theatre artists, how do we respond? Writer and director Katie Pearl discusses how theatre, climate, and politics are inevitably linked, and asks whether artists should bring more of their artistry into citizenry. —Chantal Bilodeau

The task here is to look at theatre and climate change within the context of the current administration. Yep, that administration. The one that is attempting to eliminate climate consciousness from the national narrative by removing the climate page from the White House website, threatening to slash the EPA by one-third, and green-lighting the Keystone Pipeline project in the face of enormous coordinated dissent. Yep, the one that favors entertainment—heck, the one that is entertainment—but is not at all interested in artworks activating complex, nuanced conversation around current issues, and proposed to eradicate the NEA and the NEH completely from the federal budget. Yep, that administration.

Well, shall we start the way we often do? Theatre is a storytelling, community-based phenomenon that manages to survive, if not thrive, on next to nothing and is the perfect means to effectively counter the current administration’s “alternative facts” and erasure, especially in these divisive times…blah, blah climate blah f*cking Trump blah Pruitt EPA zzz blah NEA slashed z zzzz Betsy DeVos zz zzz education zzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz.

I’m sorry, I fell asleep.

It’s not the argument that’s wrong. It’s just exhausting. Theatre may be the perfect vehicle to keep necessary counter-narratives alive, but has never, under any administration I’ve ever known, been well-positioned to do so. Embedded in the familiar argument about theatre’s potential is the deeper argument about theatre’s worth. I’m tired of endlessly justifying on grant applications, in marketing campaigns, and in fundraising letters the relevance of what we do. On a federal level, our country just doesn’t believe in theatre’s worth. This feels especially true now under Trump, but even under administrations more friendly to liberal creative causes, theatre is rarely considered necessary to our national well-being. For a time, the NEA’s tagline was “Because a great country deserves great art”—an assertion I find problematic because it makes art seem like dessert, rather than something with actual value, like grains, meat, and vegetables.

The conversation amongst the theatre community about ways to keep (or make) our theatre relevant, equitable, and inclusive is ongoing. There is rigorous debate and concrete action, including the way so many of us—regional theatres, and independent artists, and companies—are putting more resources towards building relationships with the communities we work with and for. I’m also thinking of nation-wide actions like The Jubilee, The Ghostlight Project, and the wave of support for projects in Creative Placemaking, and other socially engaged work. But in light of the ongoing global climate crisis and the Trump administration’s policies, the conversation is ready to take another giant step, brought to a head, like it or not, by the sheer, audacious rebuttal of things that we artists and citizens know to be true and important.

Let’s talk about climate.

At the end of eight hours, the build team for HOW TO BUILD A FOREST (PearlDamour + Shawn Hall) extracts the last bit of breath from their forest ecosystem. Photo by Paula Court.

New Allies: Theatre and Climate
Imagine this: Theatre and Climate as allies, thrown together by the Trump administration as being two things it discredits, discounts, and largely disregards. Well of course! Both have power beyond the control of a single man or administration. Interestingly enough, both have that power because they’re situated outside the administration’s market-based lexicon. Environmental issues don’t sit easily within a profit-based model. Creativity—like theatremaking—doesn’t either. When the environment is forced to bend in order to “produce,” the effect can be similar to when theatre artists are pressured to produce—and when humans are seen only in terms of their use. The soul gets squished. Language gets co-opted and compressed.

When my company  PearlDamour was researching our piece HOW TO BUILD A FOREST, we met with people in the timber industry. They spoke to us of “product” instead of “trees.” On our tours, we often saw a field of trees planted around the same time in regular, mathematical rows just to be cut down for profit as soon as they matured, therefore, “product.” But calling trees product shifted both my perception of them and my relationship to them. It severed our connection as fellow living things. Words matter. What changes in our country when, as Toni Morrison notes, we go from being called “citizens” to being called “taxpayers”? When the new administration took down Obama’s climate policy page on the White House site and replaced it with the America First Energy Plan, a friend posted on Facebook: “Since when does ‘Energy’ mean ‘Fossil Fuel’?”

That word is being shut down, actually enervated, by being forced into a one-to-one relationship with oil. What does “Energy” really mean? So much more than solar versus petroleum. If we look at the word through a Theatre Lens, energy means: connections, interactions, and reactions. It’s powerful to remember that the only meaningful way to really understand climate and environmental systems is this way as well, via connection, interactions, and reactions. Energy in both the theatre and the climate is its dynamism, its process, its transformation. Energy is story.


Storytelling

I watch Trump as a storyteller and for the first time, I really understand storytelling’s power as a market-driving medium. Trump is a professional entertainer and racketeer, a storyteller who knows his audience and knows how to play to them. Where the climate is concerned, his stories affect the entire planet. He boils complex issues down to sound bites that sway mass markets, sell tickets, cement opinions, erase experiences, and win elections. And they have the advantage of being carried by every media outlet into living rooms, kitchens, car stereos, and ear buds across the country—an advantage our plays and performance works don’t have.

Can we compete? Our storytelling offers a different kind of narrative, driven by a different kind of energy—one that deepens thinking, expands empathy, introduces new worlds, explores imaginative possibilities, and rebuts current conditions. We could take it as our responsibility, our mandate, to keep using our storytelling to keep the realities of our climate in front of audiences, even as Trump’s cabinet is doing everything it can to make those same audiences believe those stories don’t matter.

Sure. We could do that. But the focus can no longer be on impactful storytelling. We can’t stop there because those stories aren’t reaching enough people. We can’t stop there because our current metrics of success, including getting reviewed in major publications, keep us from heading towards different kinds of performance work that might have a different kind of impact, and affect more change. We can’t stop there because as theatre artists, our power doesn’t merely exist in the plays we create and the stories we tell. It also exists in our creativity itself. It also exists in the way we move through and think about the world, as people, as artists, and as citizens.

In Lost in the Meadow (PearlDamour + Mimi Lien),climbers get ready to hoist a giant megaphone up a 60-foot towerso the meadow can speak directly to the audience. Photo by Katie Pearl.


The Artist Citizen is also a Citizen Artist

For years, I’ve responded to current events by making theatre about it. It made sense that as a theatre artist, I would do that: “Oh, I’ll do a performance about Hurricane Katrina…” or “I’ll write a play about the Dakota Pipeline, or building a wall, or the BP Oil Spill…” It was how I brought my citizenry into my artistry, and it led to some good work that many people saw and were affected by. But lately I’ve been thinking about those two words “artist” and “citizen” and wondering if I haven’t been giving myself—ourselves—enough credit. We spend so much time arguing about the power of theatre, and the importance of our product, that we’ve neglected the fact that we as theatre artists have power too. My provocation here is: how can we bring our artistry into our citizenry, rather than the other way around? How can our creative minds, our ability to make imaginative leaps, envision futures, and empathize and connect with others serve the communities that live outside of our theatremaking?

Perhaps we need to start showing up not only as people who make plays and performances about issues, but also as people who think deeply and have smart things to say and know how to say them well. We know how to tell a good story—do we only need to tell it on a stage? What about in board rooms? In Town Halls? At the Parent Teacher Association?

Inviting versus Welcoming
I’ve spent the past four years working in small towns named Milton across the US. One thing The Milton Project has taught me is the difference between “inviting” and “welcoming.” Over and over I hear, particularly from one racial community regarding another, “we invited them, but they didn’t come.” The lesson is this: inviting is very different than welcoming. Ironically, to welcome someone into a relationship with you, you often have to invite yourself to where they are. To their space. As theatre artists, a quality many of us share is a sense of adventure. We can use this quality to propel us not just towards new projects but towards new people. Towards new issues, new places. As this administration seeks to divide us both from one another and from our relationship to the natural world, we cannot wait to be invited to connect. Let’s welcome ourselves into civic, policy-making conversations about the climate and otherwise. Let’s welcome ourselves into conversations with political leaders, neighbors, disenfranchised communities, small town conservative communities, and business executives. And then, bam! Suddenly, our expansive, imaginative, and creative thinking is right in there, opening up possibility, creating connection, and making space.

Intersectionality
At the Women’s March in Washington, DC, California Senator Kamela Harris described a time when she arrived at a meeting and someone said, “Oh good, you’re here, we’d like to talk about women’s issues.” Kamela responded, “Oh good. Let’s talk about immigration. Oh good, let’s talk about climate. Oh good, let’s talk about race relations, about civil rights, about education, about health care, about poverty. These are all women’s issues because they are all issues.”

The Women’s Marches empowered us by shifting the idea of multiplicity from being something that diffused power to intersectionality—something that increases it. I started this essay proposing the alliance between theatre and climate, but as I finish, I want to widen our gaze. Alongside theatre and climate, there is an extensive network of phenomena sharing a debased status under the Trump administration. Rather than feeling drained by the fight to assert our relevance and importance, let’s feel empowered and energized by the new collaborations and cross-currents of our intersectionality! Here’s a partial list:

The dangers of climate change
The importance of theatre
The systems of racism
The realities of classism
The saturation of white privilege
The pervasiveness of xenophobia
The prevalence of misogyny

These phenomena aren’t just aligned by being maligned by the Trump administration. More interestingly, in terms of storytelling, they are deeply, dramatically linked. Issues of climate cannot be extracted from economics; economics cannot be separated from race and class; issues of race and class cannot be untied from white privilege, xenophobia, and misogyny. Can you tell a story about any one of these issues without involving the rest? Sure you could—many of us have. But the final provocation is: let’s not. Let’s welcome this intersectionality into our stories, performance structures, collaborative models, and visions of where we make work and who we work with. Let’s keep the climate foregrounded in both our artistic and our civic lives (and perhaps there will be less and less of a difference between them) by seeking out and acknowledging its connection to, and influence on every story we tell.

There is no us versus them when it comes to our climate because we aren’t just in relationship to the climate, we are the climate. And if that’s the case, then every story is about climate—no matter how loudly the administration argues otherwise.



The post We Are the Climate appeared first on HowlRound.



 

EVENT: CULTURE & CLIMATE CHANGE, FUTURE SCENARIOS

London, 14 JUNE 2017- 7.30pm. An evening of imagining possible futures in light of climate change predictions.  #2DegreesFestival 

A climate scenario is a collective act of imagining a possible future in systems involving both humans and nature. They have played a prominent role in climate research, policy and communication. However they tend to be dominated by the natural sciences and economics.

The Paris Agreement set a target of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5°C. What does a climate scenario look like which takes this ambitious goal into consideration?

Join us for an evening dedicated to imaginative responses to Future Scenarios. Hear from the team who have developed the Climate Change in Residence programme and the four artists who embarked on the first experimental year-long networked residency on the topic of Future Scenarios. They are: Emma Critchley, Lena Dobrowolska, Teo Ormond-Skeaping and Zoë Svendsen.

You’ll be invited to consider a range of climate-changed futures and create your own best-case or worst-case future scenario.

This event is supported by The Open University OpenSpace Research Centre, The University of Sheffield School of Architecture, The Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

£5 Entry. Book online through the event page.

Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
E1 6AB
London, UK
T 020 7650 2350

Spring Into Action with Artichoke Dance Company!

It’s that time of year again! Spring is a season often associated with the celebration of life, sustainability and renewal. What better time to begin taking part in programs and initiatives dedicated to sustaining our great home hear on earth. Spring into action this year with Artichoke Dance Company


What’s On the Horizon?




What to do for Earth Day…and every day!

Refuse plastic bags. Bring your own instead, Here’s why.

Switch to green energy.

Sign up for an April 29 Climate March near your, or join them in DC!


We’ve got one earth! Now’s the time!


Artichoke Dance at Art Omi

Looking for a spring fling in the country? Join Art Omi in Ghent, NY on May 27.  ADC will be performing for the spring opening of the Art Omi Fields Sculpture Park.

Participatory workshop: 11:30am
Performance: 2:30pm


Global Water Dances on the Gowanus Canal

ADC is thrilled to announce their third collaboration with Global Water Dances.Throughout June, they are hosting free dance,drum, and costume-making workshops culminating in a performance, costume parade, eco-tour, and interactive educational exhibits on June 24. A community celebration not to be missed!



About Artichoke Dance Company:


Artichoke Dance Company , based in Brooklyn, NY, creates unique dance works, presents public performances and offers participatory educational experiences in dance and dance making by using the interactive, cooperative, and community building aspects of dance to develop physical, creative, and social skills and artistic and cultural understanding. They create, perform, and educate in ways that entertain, enlighten, and enrich the lives of their audiences and participants. Learn more about them here. 

Green Arts Initiative Report 2016

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland is delighted to announce the launch of its 2016 Green Arts Initiative Report (PDF, 455kb).

The report demonstrates the continued growth of the GAI community itself and the valuable work being done by the 170 member organisations to measure and monitor the core environmental impacts of their work.

“Knowing that you are part of a network and a movement is immensely helpful, and being kept in the loop with other artists and arts organisations gives justification for our own actions” – North Edinburgh Arts, GAI Member

Key trends in 2016 included greater reporting of all forms of travel, including journeys by staff, performers and audiences.

Findings in the report include the numbers of member who are measuring and monitoring:

  • Energy use – measured by 63% of members
  • Waste – 83%
  • Water use – 31%
  • Staff travel – 69%
  • Performer travel – 44%
  • Audience travel – 11%

The report also found high numbers of members addressing sustainability in other ways, including:

  • Formal environmental policy – 73% of members
  • Public reporting of environmental efforts – 55%
  • Engaging wider staff team beyond green teams – 63%
  • Engaging artists and performers – 44%

A number of member organisations gave specific examples of their sustainability work, including:

“We had a ‘Leave Your Car at Home Day’: 15 people took part saving 167.8 miles, and reducing CO2 by 27.17kg!” – Dundee Rep, Dundee

“We introduced a paperless finance system this May and started using hot water bottles this winter instead of lots of extra heaters. Our office is very cold!” – Mischief La-Bas, Glasgow

“We delivered the Hebrides International Film Festival which presented recent world cinema on the theme of Islands and environment, programming significant documentaries and dramas focusing on global environmental issues.” – Rural Nations, Stornoway

The Report also looks ahead to the work planned and already underway in 2017, including commitments to sustainable domestic travel, development of more work relating to the natural environment, planning efficient touring schedules, and increasing public awareness of green work.

Read the full report by downloading the PDF here (PDF, 455kb)

Find out more about becoming a member of the Green Arts Initiative


The post Green Arts Initiative Report 2016 appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


About Creative Carbon Scotland:

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Art+Climate=Change, Upcoming Events in Australia



General Events:


EXIT: GLOBALISATION, CLIMATE CHANGE AND ARTIn a time of increasing anxiety about globalisation and its impacts, the installation EXIT provides a vibrant representation of some of the processes which link us, sometimes inextricably, planet-wide. In this forum, a panel of experts will discuss EXIT and the issues it raises.

Wed 26 April, 6.45pm
Carillo Gantner theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Building
University of Melbourne
Free, more info: https://www.artclimatechange.org/event/exit-globalisation-climate-change-art/


BIKE TOUR WITH SQUEAKY WHEEL: CITYSet your wheels in motion with an ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2017 bicycle tour! Starting at Fed Square, you’ll visit four festival exhibitions, hearing from the artist/curator at each stop. You’ll finish at EXIT at Ian Potter Museum of Art in Parkville.

Sat 29 April, 1.30pm – 4pm
Meeting at Federation Square
$10, bookings essential: https://www.artclimatechange.org/event/bike-tour-city/



Art+Climate=Change Keynote Events:


ED MORRIS (USA) – AVOWING THE POLITICAL: ART AND SOCIAL CHANGEArtist and co-founder of The Canary Project Edward Morris will discuss the diverse ways in which artists can contribute to social movements to address climate change. One half of the artist duo Sayler/Morris, Edward will draw on his own work creating and producing myriad projects – from the directly activist Green Patriot Posters to contemplative museum exhibitions – and also upon the work of other artists.

Mon 1 May, 6.30-8pm
The Carillo Gantner Theatre
Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne
Free, bookings essential: https://www.artclimatechange.org/event/ed-morris/


FORMS OF RESISTANCEThree innovative Australian artists – filmmaker Alex Kelly, Quandamooka woman and artist Megan Cope, and Melbourne-based artist and researcher Amy Spiers – will come together for a panel discussion around Forms of Resistance. They will draw upon their work, influences and ideas around issues of environmental and social justice in a discussion about the different tactics that artists can use to incite social and political change.

Wed 3 May, 6-8pm
The Melba Spiegeltent
35 Johnston St, Collingwood
Free, bookings essential: www.artclimatechange.org/event/forms-of-resistance/ 


MEL EVANS (UK) – ARTWASH: BIG OIL AND THE ARTSMel Evans (UK) draws upon her extensive work and research about art and its relationship to corporate sponsorship in Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts. Evans is a member of Liberate Tate, an art collective exploring the role of creative intervention in social change and the author Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts, in which she argues how corporate sponsorships erase unsightly environmental destruction.

Fri 5 May, 6.30-8pm
The Carillo Gantner Theatre,
Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne
Free, bookings essential: https://www.artclimatechange.org/event/mel-evans/ 

Crawl Arts: Bringing Art & Biodiversity to London

Recently created initiative, Crawl Arts, aims to create new stories for positive change in our environment through works in deliverying up-cycled, “activated” clothing and creative educational programmes. Working to “use creativity to engage a mainstream audience with climate related issues” through their clothing, they provide “narrative illustrations to weave environmental consciousness into the things we use and wear daily”- Gabi Gershuny ,Director Crawl Arts.

The concept behind their clothing is influenced by traditional Guatemalan garments, embellished with colourful stories that illustrate the peoples’ social and cultural history. They are worn with pride and form part of their idenity. If the same were true for many of the products that line the high street shops in the UK, their narratives would more likely give cause for concern.

At Crawl Arts, it is believed that the everyday things we wear and use should not only be sustainable, but active. As well as being reclaimed (“up-cycled”), or sourced from responsible UK manufacturing partners, their garments tell stories that provoke different ways of thinking for how to engage with our natural world.

Additionally, Crawl Arts has developed their first creative educational program, School of Crawl. Working in partnership with GiGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London) and the Royal Parks Foundation, they will be running it between 21st – 28th April at Thomas’s London Day School, Kensington.


Interested in learning more? Contact Crawl Arts Here:

07944489167

gabi@crawlarts.co.uk

i: @allthingsthatcrawl

t: @CrawlArt

f: facebook.com/allthingsthatcrawl