Marcus Brigstocke

ashdenizen: from no plays about climate change to three in a month

It was only a couple of years ago that this blog was writing about why theatres don’t touch climate change. It seemed, at the time, as if there was something about theatre, or the way people conceived of mainstream theatre, that made the subject almost impossible to treat. This was part of a more general avoidance of the environment as a subject for the performing arts. The Ashden Directory had been launched, back in 2000, as a way of following and encouraging those works which did engage with this subject.

But now things are changing. Eighteen months ago there was finally, a good play about climate change.  It was also possible to see in the works, for instance, of Wallace Shawn and Andrew Bovell the green shoots of climate change theatre.

Fast forward to January 2011, and this month alone three climate change plays will open in London – Greenland at the National, The Heretic at the Royal Court, and Water at the Tricycle.

Why is this important? Because climate change alters the way we think about our lives. The news contained within the various IPCC reports will be as influential, as paradigm-shifting, on the way we see ourselves as Darwin’s Origin of Species. It is, ultimately, a question of values and relationships. As such, it is a natural subject for theatre.

But new plays don’t open in a vacuum. For them to succeed, there needs to be a lively engaged audience that has some sense of what is at stake. That’s why we have also been involved with the Open University in producing a new series of podcasts that puts cultural work around climate change in perspective.

The podcasts bring together 17 artists, activists, writers, film-makers, scientists, entrepreneurs and academics, including comedian Marcus Brigstocke, choreographer Siobhan Davies, BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin, architect Carolyn Steele and Mike Hulme, author ofWhy We Disagree About Climate Change.

Radio 4’s Quentin Cooper chairs these four ‘Mediating Change’ discussions which cover the history, publics, anatomy and futures of cultural responses to climate change. The podcasts are now available to download from iTunesU.

via ashdenizen: from no plays about climate change to three in a month.

ashdenizen: four podcasts on culture and climate change now online

A new series of four podcasts on Culture and Climate Change is now online at iTunes U. The discussions bring together artists, writers, film-makers, scientists, academics and journalists with a comedian, a choreographer, a campaigner, and an entrepreneur.

The Mediating Change series is hosted by Quentin Cooper and contributors include Tim Smit, Marcus Brigstocke, Siobhan Davies (see pic), Roger Harrabin, Joe Smith and two of the Ashden Directory’s editors, Wallace Heim and Robert Butler. More details here.

The producer, Vicky Long, says:

Cultural activity in this area is gathering real momentum, with ‘Greenland’ opening at the National Theatre and ‘The Heretic’ opening at the Royal Court early next year. We feel it’s vital a critical framework is developed alongside this emerging work.

This series represents a first sustained exploration of culture and climate change in a publicly-available broadcast-quality format.

See also: Tipping Point launches first of four discussions
Tim Smit and Marcus Brigstocke join debate on popular culture and climate change

via ashdenizen: four podcasts on culture and climate change now online.

Marcus Brigstocke’s #COP15

Just in case you’d missed the BBC’s Now Show clip, here’s the transcript. Brigstocke was one of those on the 2008 Cape Farewell expedition.

The delegates came and the delegates sat
And they talked and they talked till their bums all went flat
Then a delegate said of the country he knew
“We must do something quick but just what should we do
So they sat again thinking and there they stayed seated
Sitting and thinking “the planet’s been heated”
“I think” said a delegate there from Peru
“That we all must agree on some things we could do
Like reducing emissions at least CO2″
So they nodded and noted then vetoed and voted
And one of them stood up and suddenly quoted
“It’s the science you see, that’s the thing that must guide us
When the leaders all get here they’re certain to chide us”
So they sat again thinking about what to think
Then decided to ponder what colour of ink
To use on the paper when they’d all agreed
To be selfless not greedy McGreedy McGreed
“But how do we choose just what colour to use”
Said a delegate there who’d been having a snooze
“We need clear binding targets definitive action
We must all agree clearly without more distraction”
So they sat again thinking of targets for ink
But the ink in their thinking had started to stink
And they started to think that the ink was a kink
In the thinking about real things they should think
“If ze climate needs mending then zis is our chance”
Said the nuclear delegate sent there by France
“We need to agree on one thing to agree on
Something we all want a fixed guarantee on”
“Yes” said another who thought this made sense
Some value for carbon in dollars or pence
But the mention of money and thoughts of expense
Had stifled the progress and things became tense
The fella from China with a smile on his face
Said “Who put the carbon there in the first place”
“Wasn’t us” said the U.S then Europe did too
Then a silence descended and no words were spoken
Till a delegate stood up, voice nervous and broken
“Is there nothing upon which we all can decide
Because on Wednesday my chicken laid eggs that were fried”
“We all like a sing song” said the bloke from Down Under
But then the great hall was all shouting and thunder
Policemen had entered and were wearing protesters
Who they’d beaten and flattened like bloodied sou’westers
The police had decided to downplay this crime
With prevention detention and beatings in rhyme
The Greenies who’d shouted and asked for a decision
Were now being battered with lethal precision
All sick of inaction and fed up of waiting
All tired of the endless debated placating
They’d risen up grating berating and hating
So the police had commenced the related abating
Ban Ki-moon put his head in another man’s lap
And was last heard muttering something like “crap”
But the chap next to him said “It’s more like it’s poo”
So the great hall debated not what they should do
But how to decide between crap cack and poo
“It is poo” “It is cack” “It is crap” “We agree”
Which was written and labelled as document three
“I think if we all find one thing we agree on
Then maybe Brazil might be left with a tree on”
So they sat again thinking of trees and Brazil
And of glaciers which had retreated uphill
And they thought of the poor folks whose homes were in flood
But less of the protesters covered in blood
They pondered the species so nearly extinct
It’s as if they all thought that these things might be linked
“We need a solution we need action please”
Said a lady who’d come from the sinking Maldives
The others all nodded and said it was fact
That the time must be now not to talk but to act
Then Obama arrived and said most rhetorical
“Action is action and not metaphorical”
“Wow” they all thought “he must mean arregorical [sic]“
“I love it when Barack goes all oratorical”
“But the problem I have is that Congress won’t pass it
“Bugger” said Ban Ki then “sorry” then “arse it”
Then Brown said “I’ve got it now how does this strike you?
It’s simpler when voters already dislike you”
He suggested the EU should lead from the front
So The Mail and The Telegraph called him something very unpleasant indeed
So the delegates stared at the text with red marks on
Ignoring the gales of laughter from Clarkson
No-one was satisfied nobody won
Except the morons convinced it was really the sun
And they blew it and wasted the greatest of chances
Instead they all frolicked in diplomat dances
And decided decisively right there and then
That the best way to solve it’s to meet up again
And decide on a future that’s greener and greater
Not with action right now but with something else later

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology