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Climate Emergency

Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity and theatremakers need to be part of addressing it. Here, you’ll find content about artistic work that engages with the climate crisis, as well as learnings about how to make theatre practices more eco-friendly. Chantal Bilodeau’s long-running Theatre in the Age of Climate Change series is a must-read, and don’t miss Groundwater Arts’s video series on the Green New Theater.

The Latest

How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
Essay
How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
by Eseovwe Emakunu, Anita Amoma
5 June 2024
Burn-in, Burn-out
Video
Burn-in, Burn-out
IETM Sofia Plenary Meeting 2024
Wednesday 12 June 2024 and Friday 14 June 2024
Sofia, Bulgaria
Geaux and Gather
Essay
Geaux and Gather
by Ayesha Jordan
25 April 2024
Digital poster image for IENT event in Bulgaria.
Burn-in, Burn-out
Video

Burn-in, Burn-out

IETM Sofia Plenary Meeting 2024

Wednesday 12 June 2024 and Friday 14 June 2024
Sofia, Bulgaria

IETM, in collaboration with Toplocentrala, presents the IETM Sofia Plenary Meeting 2024 livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 12 June and Friday 14 June 2024.

A group of primary school students pose for a picture outside.
How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
Essay

How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists

5 June 2024

Eseovwe Emakunu and Anita Anoma of Shanty Theatre recently launched a campaign that brought together primary school performers and university audiences for a dance drama performance about climate change. They discuss the creative process and impact of this performance project, which catalyzed action and learning about the impact of climate change and deforestation in Nigeria.

A performer in a headdress performs onstage.
Geaux and Gather
Essay

Geaux and Gather

25 April 2024

Ayesha Jordan writes about the intersection of performance and permaculture, and how slowing down and respecting the cycles of the earth are influencing her multi-species project in process. 

Performers in animal masks kneel on all fours beneath the shadow of a tree at night.
The Speculative Ecologies of The Unreliable Bestiary
Essay

The Speculative Ecologies of The Unreliable Bestiary

24 April 2024

Deke Weaver discusses his life-long project, The Unreliable Bestiary: an ark of full-length performances about animals, our relationships with them, and the worlds they inhabit. Through this ambitious project, Deke and his team draw out the connections between disparate local and global dots and illustrate how the personal is political.

Outside in a field, performer leans away from another stilt-wearing performer.
Agri-Culture in Climate Change
Essay

Agri-Culture in Climate Change

23 April 2024

Tannis Kowalchuk, artistic director of Farm Arts Collective, shares about the project Dream on the Farm—a ten year project of climate change plays performed on Willow Wisp Organic Farm that grapples with the questions: How do we imagine our future? What are our dreams?

A performer stands on a dimly lit stage in front of a whale setpiece.
Creating Work in Series in the Anthropocene
Essay

Creating Work in Series in the Anthropocene

22 April 2024

Chantal Bilodeau kicks off another installment of Theatre in the Age of Climate Change by reflecting on her journey working on the Arctic Cycle against the backdrop of the continuously increasing global temperature, and introducing the other playwrights who will be sharing about their commitment to creating a series of work about the climate crisis. 

A large room full of people sitting at tables.
Blessings and Provocations from the 2024 Under the Radar Symposium
Essay

Blessings and Provocations from the 2024 Under the Radar Symposium

8 April 2024

Ashley Malafronte reflects on the 2024 Under the Radar Symposium, which convened global theatre artists, producers, and presenters in New York City for a day of keynotes and discussions that surfaced the issues plaguing the international performing arts sector, as well as the emergent paths that could strengthen it.

Perform Europe Open Call Launch Event Poster.
Perform Europe Open Call Launch Event
Video

Perform Europe Open Call Launch Event

Learn More About the Vision Behind the New Edition of Perform Europe and Explore the Opportunities of the Open Call

Friday 1 December 2023
Europe

Watch the Perform Europe Open Call Launch Event from 1 December 2023. Learn more about the vision behind the new edition of Perform Europe and explore the opportunities of the Open Call.

ArtsLink Assembly teaser image.
2023 ArtsLink Assembly: The Future is Not What It Used to Be
Video

2023 ArtsLink Assembly: The Future is Not What It Used to Be

A two-day assembly featuring perspectives from artists rooted in their communities, and figures in cultural policy and practice, philanthropy, and social justice.

Thursday 16 November to Friday 17 November 2023
Chicago, Illinois and Kyiv, Ukraine

The 2023 ArtsLink Assembly is a meeting of potent ideas and individual actions, of insights and practices, of artists and institutions, of engaging speakers and active listeners – seeks to spark new ways to dismantle, remember, repair, and reinvent the historic frameworks, ideas, and power structures.

Macy Kunke wears a headset and attends to multiple screens at a stage management table.
How Stage Management Can Set the Stage for a Greener Theatre
Essay

How Stage Management Can Set the Stage for a Greener Theatre

29 September 2023

Macy E. Kunke shares the practical steps she took to cultivate more sustainable stage management practices for a recent production of Men on Boats. By utilizing a variety of digital tools instead of more traditional printed paper methods, the stage management team created only a fraction of typical paper waste and found that their work that was cheaper, simpler, and more collaborative than typical stage management processes.

event poster for Performance and Reconfiguring Human and Non-Human Species - people planet performance.
Performance and Reconfiguring Human and Non-Human Species
Video

Performance and Reconfiguring Human and Non-Human Species

How Can Eco-Performance Be a Push for the Transvaluation of Human and Non-Human Species?

Wednesday 16 August 2023
Ghana

Notable scholars and renowned activists in the climate change discourse advocate that for the climate crises to be combated, humans will have to reevaluate their relationship with the environment. In other words, the place of man on Earth as a living entity ought to be redefined. There needs to be a shift from human-centred thinking to eco-centric learning, where man will have to view the world as more than the human entity.

event poster for people planet performance conversation: Performance and Climate Finance/Sustainability, Capital and Planetary Justice.
Performance and Climate Finance/Sustainability, Capital and Planetary Justice
Video

Performance and Climate Finance/Sustainability, Capital and Planetary Justice

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Wednesday 9 August 2023
Nigeria, Kenya

The concept of climate finance refers to monies provided by those responsible for climate change to ease the burden of the crises on those who bear the brunt. This is a situation whereby the polluter pays as much as they pollute. The attention placed on climate finance dominates the narrative of climate change mitigation since polluters are able to pay monies allocated to them as climate finance. Climate finance has not fully addressed the issue of the elephant in the room.

Eco-Films in Climate Action Teaser.
Eco-Films in Climate Action
Video

Eco-Films in Climate Action

What Impact can the Eco-Film Genre Make in the Journey Towards Climate Justice in the Global South?

Wednesday 2 August 2023
Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya

Since the first decade of the 21st century, Hollywood films have explored diverse challenges posed by climate change. In fact, eco-filmmakers seem to direct the blame around climate change on anthropocentrism and the rise of the capitalist economy. These films have centered on how climate change impacts more on rural indigenous communities, the politics of anthropocentric and capitalism, and the imperative of man’s revaluation of his relationship with the environment. Interestingly, most films on ecology have been churned out of the Global North than from the Global South despite the South’s being affected more by the climate scourge.

event poster for Responses to Climate Crisis and Emergencies with people planet and performance.
Responses to Climate Crisis and Emergencies
Video

Responses to Climate Crisis and Emergencies

Storytelling from the Performing Arts

Wednesday 26 July 2023
Kenya, Uganda

Different art forms (such as theatre, film, visual arts, and social media) have often been used to communicate, educate, and promote climate justice issues. This episode offers the opportunity to hear stories of practitioners using their art forms in this era of climate emergency. We focus on theatre practices and digital art forms and ask guests to share their work and that of others from the continent.

event poster for Retooling Green Tool for Theatre in Africa.
Retooling Green Tools for Theatre in Africa
Video

Retooling Green Tools for Theatre in Africa

Insights from Practitioners

Wednesday 19 July 2023
Egypt, Ghana

Greening the theatre is crucial to the sustainability of theatre and the planet. Theatre designers such as lighting personnel, set designers, costumers, property designers, and sound engineers are rethinking and retooling for the purpose of creating a more eco-friendly, sustainable, and environmentally just and responsible theatre practice. In this episode, we bring theatre practitioners (such as designers and eco-scenographers) who are advancing sustainable artistic values in their practice.

event poster for ecotheatre Decolonizing the Colonized Narrative.
Ecotheatre
Video

Ecotheatre

Decolonizing the Colonized Narrative

Wednesday 12 July 2023
Ghana, Kenya, Burundi

Climate justice is not complete without decentering colonial narratives and practices in Africa. For instance, many theatre projects/initiatives on climate action in Africa have been the brainchild of actors from the Global North. Which increases the tendency for such projects/initiatives to reinforce follow the colonial narrative. Although curators and co-facilitators of such projects are sometimes indigenes of African countries, the agendas of foreign interventions are imposed on the creative process.

event poster for Environmental Theatre and Climate Justice in Africa.
Environmental Theatre and Climate Justice in Africa
Video

Environmental Theatre and Climate Justice in Africa

How Did We Get Here? How Do We Move Forward?

Wednesday 5 July 2023
Uganda, Kenya

Environmental theatre in Africa has been a vital medium for creating awareness of and learning about climate change on the continent. Artists are aware that climate change has come to stay, the need to engage the art to discuss issues such as climate change mitigation strategies, anticipatory adaptation modes and climate justice. This episode introduces the series. Guest speakers reflect on the question of environmental theatre and climate justice in Africa.

One performer lifts another toward another performer dressed in a green fringe costume.
Grief (and Humor) in Climate Change Theatre
Essay

Grief (and Humor) in Climate Change Theatre

30 June 2023

Genevieve Simon reflects on the process of writing Bloom Bloom Pow, a play that makes space for collective grief by staging small-town chaos against a backdrop of the harmful algal bloom crisis in the Great Lakes region.

A tree's branches stretch skyward among the brush.
How Magical Realism Can Make Climate Change Matter
Essay

How Magical Realism Can Make Climate Change Matter

29 June 2023

Playwright Raul Garza discusses the potent connections between environment and Latinx heritage that he explores by employing magical realism in his play Arbolito.

A man in white robes looks up to the sky.
Staging Dystopias of Desire and the Poetics of Grief
Essay

Staging Dystopias of Desire and the Poetics of Grief

27 June 2023

Theresa May discusses the way that two contemporary plays with dystopian settings—Transmissions in Advance of the Second Great Dying by Jessica Huang and Somewhere by Melissa Treviño Orta—lean away from typical tropes of destruction and individualism by instead centering care, kinship, reciprocity, and interdependence.

A performer lies down on a set piece that looks like a whale.
The Intimacy of the Climate Crisis
Essay

The Intimacy of the Climate Crisis

26 June 2023

Chantal Bilodeau introduces a new installment of the Theatre in the Age of Climate Change series, which focuses contemporary plays and playwrights that explore the intimate impacts of climate change on both individuals and communities.

event poster for IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023.
IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023
Video

IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023

Living on the Edge

Monday 12 June and Wednesday 14 June 2023
Aarhus, Denmark

The IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023 invited its participants to discuss and digest the ethical and practical role of the performing arts—and of the artist—in the face of climate emergency. It presented a program that aims to provoke new thoughts and inspire action, awareness, and positive impact.

Five people performing in a large room with black walls covered in random items.
How Training and Education Can Create a Greener Performing Arts Sector
Essay

How Training and Education Can Create a Greener Performing Arts Sector

30 May 2023

Iphigenia Taxopoulou discusses the need for increased environmental literacy in the performing arts sector and describes many forward-thinking initiatives that train students and professionals alike for ecological transition.

Cultural Mobility Forum event poster.
Cultural Mobility Forum 2023 in Tunis, Tunisia
Video

Cultural Mobility Forum 2023 in Tunis, Tunisia

Artistic Mobility and Environmental Sustainability

Tuesday 9 May to Wednesday 10 May 2023
Tunis, Tunisia

The Cultural Mobility Forum 2023 is an attempt to recontextualize the conversation on cross-border artistic mobility and environmental sustainability, unfolding the interdependencies between privileged (Western) Europe and other territories, investigating local practical sustainable solutions, and listening to a variety of voices from the Global South. This event will provide live captioning in English.

Headshot of Andreas Weber.
Whole Earth Talk #3: Andreas Weber (Germany)
Video

Whole Earth Talk #3: Andreas Weber (Germany)

The New Role Theatre and Performance Can and Should Play in the New Age of the Anthropocene

Thursday 20 April 2023
New York City

Join us for a Whole Earth Conversation with Andreas Weber (Germany) about the new role theatre and performance can and should play in the new age of the Anthropocene, a geological era shaped by humans rather than by nature. We ask how the significant symbolic, imaginary, and real space of theatre can help artists and audiences realize that a contemporary theatre and performance practice can no longer just represents interhuman conflicts.