Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening Info

Welcome to information about the 2018 Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening.


The Theatre in the Age of Climate Change convening took place 8-10 June 2018 and was hosted by HowlRound in partnership with Chantal Bilodeau (The Arctic Cycle), Elizabeth Doud (Climakaze Miami/Fundarte), and Roberta Levitow (Theatre Without Borders) in Boston, Massachusetts at Emerson College. This event was 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 was made possible thanks to the support of the Barr Foundation. Read the report out on the convening here and see other HowlRound content to date on this topic here.

theatre in the age of climate change convening


In January 2015, Chantal and Elizabeth co-led a session on “Cultural Collaboration and Climate Action” as part of the NYC Cultural Mobility Symposium hosted by Roberta, the European organization On The Move, and the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY. This led to Chantal creating the blog series Theatre in the Age of Climate Change, hosted by HowlRound, one of the first theatre institutions to take an interest in, and offer support for, work at the intersection of theatre and climate change.

Two years later, in January 2017, Chantal, Elizabeth and Roberta co-organized a one-day gathering in NYC for a dozen artists and arts organizers already working at the intersection of theatre and climate change, which led to the creation of Climate Lens.

Building on these experiences, the three women then co-organized the June 2018 Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening, hosted by HowlRound, to bring together US and international leaders as well as like-minded practitioners who are investigating 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.

The purpose of this webpage is to share the knowledge, contacts and convening experiences born out of these efforts.  We realize that the The Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening captured the participation of a small portion of the field of artists, activists and practitioners doing this work, and financial and logistical constraints meant many individuals eager to be in this conversation weren’t able to participate.  This is good news, really, because it confirms the growing need for these dialogues and partnerships. We want to offer the structure and purpose of this gathering as a model to be replicated and improved upon in diverse regions and communities within and without the United States. 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.  We would love to share our experience and offer any helpful guidance. If you would like to create a similar convening in your neighborhood using this model, or share ideas, please write to us at:   

Convening Resources for Reference

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. HowlRound has also featured a lot of content on the intersection of performance and climate change. Explore it all here.

A large group of people smile for a photo.

The Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening participants. Photo by Blair Nodelman.

Convening Participants

For a full biography of each participant click here.

Chantal Bilodeau (The Arctic Cycle), Catherine Bottrill (Julie's Bicycle), Alison Carey (American Revolutions, Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Una Chaudhuri (New York University), Grisha Coleman (Arizona State University), Xavier Cortada (Florida International University), Rob Davies (Utah State University), Annalisa Dias (The Welders), Elizabeth Doud (Climakaze Miami), Robert Duffley (American Repertory Theater, Emerson College), Jayeesha Dutta (Another Gulf is Possible, Working Films), Alayna Eagle Shield (Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Member), Georgina Escobar (Playwright), Lydia Fort (Emory University), Lanxing Fu (Superhero Clubhouse), MJ Halberstadt (Emerson College), Marda Kirn (EcoArts Connections), Julia Levine (The Arctic Cycle), Roberta Levitow (Theatre Without Borders), Abhishek Majumdar (NYU Abu Dhabi), April Merleaux (Hampshire College), Teddy Rodger (The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University), Dr. Alyssa Schmidt (Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music), Jessica A. Schwartz (UCLA), Dr. Adilson Siqueira (Federal University of São João del-Rei), Cheryl Slean (VisionLA Climate Action Arts), Peterson Toscano (Citizens' Climate Radio), Meaza Worku (Playwright), Kyoko Yoshida (U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network (CTN)).

Events were livestreamed on HowlRound TV—see the video archive here.

Moving Forward: Convening (Outgrowth) Related Events