Tuesday 13 January 2009

climate-change works for the stage

In summer 2001 I wrote a piece for The Ecologist about 'the world the stage forgot'. It argued that the biggest development in political thought in the 20th century had been environmentalism and this was an issue that had been almost entirely ignored by British theatre.

(The Ashden Directory went online in 2000 to detail exactly who was doing environmental work within the performing arts and where.)

Eight years on, and things are now changing fast. Last April, the writer Lawrence Weschler organised 'Climate of Concern', a festival in the US of nine short plays (including one by Don DeLillo).

Next month Tipping Point launches 'a major new project to develop a critical mass of artistic work conceived in the context of climate change.' The email says:

'With a focus on the performing arts, artists will be invited to submit projects that stimulate audiences towards the radical and imaginative thinking necessary to comprehend a world dominated by climate change.'

Awards of up to £30,000 will be available. The panel of judges includes John Ashton, the Foreign Secretary's Special Representative on Climate Change, theatre director Graham Devlin, NT executive director Nick Starr, choreographer Maresa von Stockert and broadcaster and academic Cecilia Wee.

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