Guest blog: how can theatre impact issues of climate change?

Guest blog: how can theatre impact issues of climate change?
By Holly
16th September 2021

 

Today we have guest blog from Sprung Advance member Holly Kennedy, who gives her perspective on how theatre can be a useful tool within issues of climate change, raising awareness and making a difference. 

 

The effects of climate change are something we hear about every day, whether it is through the latest newspaper headlines or campaigns across social media. However, theatre is also a way in which audiences are being taught this, and what part they have to try and reverse its impact.

 

As a true theatre nerd, I could plug the positives of theatre all day and every day. However, whilst theatre may not be the most obvious approach to talk about problems like climate change, I feel it has the potential to be one of the most powerful.

 

So, the question stands: why is theatre such an effective way of discussing problems like these?

 

The Changing Climates Festival this summer was a week-long festival of climate-themed theatre, led by other young people like me from Coventry. Productions such as the this provide an opportunity to openly learn about and explore climate change and teach audiences about it in a different way. Sometimes, reading an article or watching a documentary can be informative and make you see the world in a new way, but there are always distractions and other things to take our attention, whereas in theatre, your attention is solely on the action on stage, where there are no interruptions or diversions. Theatre also has the ability to transport you to a new world, which is exactly what was done by Winter Rites, the festival’s headline show from Sprung Advance’s Winter Rites.

 

Comments from the audience included…

 

“Fantastic and thought provoking. Kids are our future.”

“I came in just because my child was performing but I left with tears.”

“Inspiring and eye opening.”

 

Winter Rites takes place in a future dystopia where our planet is experiencing its last winter. The world’s rotations are slowing, and the performance investigates the different reasons for this, from consumerism to pollution to deforestation.  It explores how our actions now have a knock on effect on climate change, and how what we choose to do now will secure the planet’s fate.

 

Productions like Winter Rites have a way of making the truth sink in faster and feel more like a reality. Another factor which separates Winter Rites and the Changing Climates Festival from other productions about climate change is the fact young people are in the driving seat, pushing for change. It is the next generation of young people who are pushing for change – whether it is the performers from of all the amazing productions throughout the festival week, or members of Coventry’s Young Producers Collective who developed the event.  There is suddenly a new power backing this cause.

 

I believe that theatre is an effective way of exploring major problems like climate change. Seeing the next generation stand for change and actively wanting to protect the future has the power to change the ways of the world, by allowing audiences to pause, watch and listen.

 

The Changing Climates Festival was a week-long festival of environmentally led performance by and for young people in Coventry. It enabled young people to engage with local and global environmental themes and have vital access to the arts. The festival was developed by the Coventry Young Producers Collective, a group of 30 students in Years 10 & 11 who received invaluable skills, knowledge and hands-on experience. 

 

The festival was headlined by our Sprung Advance youth company with their performance of Winter Rites. Learn more about our Sprung youth group for Ages 4-19 here. 

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