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Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening

Watch the full video from the convening here

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:

photo array of people at a conference

“[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:

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Word cloud featuring humans, species, warming, consequence, global