Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening
Boston, Massachusetts 8-10 June 2018
The convening Theatre in the Age of Climate Change—hosted by HowlRound in partnership with Chantal Bilodeau (The Arctic Cycle), Elizabeth Doud (Climakaze Miami/Fundarte), and Roberta Levitow (Theatre Without Borders)—brought together thirty theatremakers working to investigate how the arts can facilitate and support our transition towards an eco-just and sustainable future. Goals included to: 1) Increase connectivity between people working at the intersection of arts and climate change, which includes anti-oppression and social equity, as well as environmental justice issues; 2) Amplify the work being done through shared resources, mutual support, and events that draw on the strengths and diversity of the network, and; 3) Develop strategies to support emerging leaders in this burgeoning field. See the full list of attendees and check out the agenda here.
This event is one of four convenings selected as part of the HowlRound Challenge to advance the role of the arts as a catalyst for social change. The HowlRound Challenge and this convening are made possible thanks to the support of the Barr Foundation.
“Each and every one of you were meant to not know anything about me or my people, and that was intentional. And I think when it comes to climate change it’s the same thing: we were meant to think it was a hoax and not real.”—Alayna Eagle Shield
The convening was a brainstorming/working weekend driven by a desire to increase individual and collective impact in relation to climate change, focusing on future actions, rather than what had already been done. Attendees participated in guided discussions and work sessions, sharing their strategies to support and amplify each other’s work and help create the just transition so desperately needed.
Read reflections on the convening
“[W]e must center the voices, stories, and experiences of frontline communities who are most deeply and already impacted by the changing climate, including indigenous peoples, low-income communities, and communities of color.”—Annalisa Dias
With the goal of expanding the reach and deepening impact of artists addressing climate and environmental justice, it is our hope that hundreds of these kinds of conversations will happen, thus fortifying this growing network. To that end, we’ve collected resources on the intersection of performance and climate change. We asked convening participants to share one book about climate change that everyone should read and one artist whose work everyone should know. Check out the convening reading list here and the convening artists to know here. Participants also provided the following list of resources:
- Allied Media Projects
- Artists and Climate Change
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network
- Broadway Green Alliance
- The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts
- Climate Change Theatre Action
- Climate Justice Alliance
- Climate Lens
- Groundwater Arts' Green New Theatre
- Honor Native Land
- Julie's Bicycle
- Leap Manifesto
- Love the Everglades Movement
- NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice
- Native Land Map
- People’s Climate Movement
- Sunrise Movement
- SuperHero Clubhouse' Eco-Theatre Manifesto
- US Department of Arts & Culture Bureau of Energy, Power & Art
- Zero Hour
“[T]he challenge of a global crisis demands that we be more expansive than we are individually built to be…”—Lanxing Fu
The Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening ended with a conversation setting intentions and goals for personal practices and collective actions relating to sustainability. A selection of these proposed action steps became high priority initiatives across the field. Some of the recent climate justice work by convening attendees includes:
- The TCG 2019 National Conference, Miami Florida—4-8 June 2019 | The 2019 Conference Committee on Climate created a list of public resources for individuals and organizations building towards climate justice. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather, serves as a living, growing document.
- Hemispheric Institute Encuentro, Mexico City, Mexico—9-15 June 2019 | Working Group “Becoming Porous: Performing With(in) Climate Chaos”. The working group met in Mexico City and wrote "Meanwhile: Becoming Porous" describing their experience at the convening.
- Fieldwide calls to divest from fossil fuels from Groundwater Arts. Learn more and sign the pledge here.
- Reexamination of convening practices, including the use of air travel, as well as research and conversations around carbon emissions caused by internet use and streaming.
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