Immersive theatre fighting climate change for World Environment Day

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Season for Change announces a full programme of climate-focused commissions, activations, and events led by the arts and culture sector ahead of COP26.

April – July 2021

● Mass participation and activations for climate action and justice led by the UK arts and culture sector

● 15 commissioned projects, produced by writers, makers, human ecologists, activists, researchers, musicians, producers, dramaturgs, creators, poets, realists and dreamers

● Launch of Season for Ex-Change Part 2, an 8 week programme of talks, events and workshops.

● Launch of Love Ssega’s new EP and comic focused on air pollution in London’s South Circular.

● An open programme, inviting every artist to engage with the most important conversation of our time.

Season for Change has announced a full, nationwide programme of creative projects inspiring inclusive climate action. Workshops, performances, exhibitions, talks, and film screenings will take place across the country from April-July 2021, ahead of COP26, the UN’s climate negotiations hosted by the UK this November.

Led by Artsadmin and Julie’s Bicycle, and supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Season for Change is the UK’s most ambitious cultural movement focused on climate action and climate justice.

At the heart of Season for Change are 15 multidisciplinary art commissions including 9 participatory projects with arts organisations, and 6 Common Ground commissions led by artists working with historically under-represented communities in the climate movement. The commissions are supported by a lively open programme, where any artist, creative or cultural organisation can get involved by producing a climate-focused event or activation.

The Commissions

The commissioned projects (fully detailed in the attached appendix) explore the crucial intersection of environmental and social issues such as race, gender, identity, mental health, and the future impact of climate change on our daily lives, and the world.

Artists will question how we can reimagine the climate crisis through creativity, and how the arts can help us realise alternative visions of the future.

Themes:

Performance

Theatre group Ergon Theatre, will stage an ecological trial set in 2061 with audiences playing the role of judge and jury, whilst performing arts company METIS, directed by Zoë Svendsen, creates a new show imagining the world(s) we want to live in.

Women, Nature and Landscape

Through a project spanning ten years honouring women activists globally, Walking Forest, led by Ruth Ben-Tovim, Anne-Marie Culhane, Lucy Neal and Shelley Castle will explore links with activism, natural forest networks and communities. In partnership with Coventry City of Culture 2021, the Forestry Commission and Moor Trees.

Music and spoken word performance

Activist and wordsmith Drillminister is collaborating with Counterpoints Arts to create a music video/film based on conversations with residents in towns of the north and south of England, with a focus on areas with a fishing and industrial legacy. Cece’s Speakeasy will imagine a 2050 underground speakeasy, when caffeine has become extinct and there is no more chocolate. The immersive experience will weave in spoken word and jazz performances to depict the future impact of climate change whilst exploring hope and action during this time. Clean Bandit co-founder Love Ssega has launched an EP and comic for Earth Day and will be releasing a climate manifesto and visual trailer centred around the impact of air pollution on Black and minority ethnic groups in South London Circular.

Unheard voices in climate action

One of the Common Ground artists, Rosa Cisneros has brought together local Roma and non-Roma communities to paint recycling bins; the project has informed a children’s book, which will be released in June and distributed throughout the local community. The project aims to better understand the individual difficulties Roma members face as well as educating them on the environment and recycling. Hwa Young Jung is working with young people from NACRO Education Centre to co-create an analogue game about urban wilderness.

Celebrating the earth and imagining a climate conscious future

Combining work with native plants, intersectional storytelling, theatricality and ancestral wisdom, the dream(ing) field lab by Jennifer Farmer and Zoë Palmer weaves together acts of rest, ritual, care, creation and celebration offering a space for women and femmes of the African diaspora to re-vision their relationship with land in the context of climate breakdown. The project will be created through two weekend retreats and will culminate in the production of a field kit that supports self-reliance and well-being in the face of climate breakdown.

Race, colonialism, gender and identity – Reclaiming and challenging historical narratives

Planet-People-Power will explore South Asian diaspora experience and action in relation to climate change via grassroots radio networks, touching on intersectional environmentalism, environmental inequality and ecological interconnectedness between Manchester and the Global South.

Grassroots culture – local histories, communities and traditions

Between a residency, an occupation, a workshop and a durational performance, Selina Thompson and a group of younger and older women of colour from Tower Hamlets will explore strategies for pleasure, care and well-being in climate activism. Artists Xavier de Sousa, Nwando Ebizie, Nicolas Henninger, Jake Krushell, commissioned by East Street Arts will produce The Space Between, a participatory creative work bringing together science, art, and activism in the Leeds communities of Burmantofts, Mabgate, and Lincoln Green. Ling Tang will work in collaboration with Chinese Arts Now to explore how the Chinese community makes sense of their relationship to Chinatown, their surrounding environment and the impact their everyday actions have on the climate using digital tools and technology.

Róise Goan, Artistic Director, Artsadmin and Alison Tickell, Founder and CEO, Julie’s Bicycle, said: “2021 is the year to take action on the climate crisis. As the UK hosts the international climate negotiations, it is more important than ever that we fight for the future of our planet. Season for Change is here to galvanise the cultural sector to tell the stories that affect both individuals and communities across the UK and beyond, equipping everyone with the information they need to make change.”

Emma Dunton, Programme Director for Season for Change, said “Season for Change is by design a project of scale and it intends to engage with the widest possible audience – offering a range of artists, stories and themes that speak to diverse audiences and communities. From the urban to the rural, from youth audiences to families, Season for Change will offer powerful storytelling to showcase the crucial role that arts and culture can play in engaging the public on the themes of climate change and climate justice.”

Season for Ex-Change part 2

An 8 week events programme, Season for Ex-Change part 2, launched to address the arts industry’s role in the climate movement, will offer inspiring talks, events and workshops under the theme of Artists & Activism every Thursday from 29 April. Topics include:

● New Narratives

● Activation and community organising

● 6 months to COP26

● Justice

● Burnout & Crisis fatigue

Participate in the Open Programme

Season for Change invites any artist, creative or arts organisation to plan an event, discussion or artwork related to climate action or the environment. Registered events will be promoted via communication channels. Activities can take place in any location, be that arts venues, streets, festivals or home. Explore Season for Change’s free online resources from toolkits on running sustainable events and creating green artworks to step-by-step guides for cultural organisations.

Key Dates

● 22 April – Earth Day programme launch

● 29 April – launch of Season for Ex-Change Part 2

● April – July – Season for Change

○ Love Ssega launch of EP and comic – 22 April

○ World Environment Day & Walking Forest’s Coventry event – 5 June

○ dream(ing) field lab retreat – 11- 13 June

○ The Space Between – 14 June – 5 July

○ Cece’s Speakeasy at Albany, Deptford – 30 June – 3 July

○ Love Letters to a Liveable Future at Cambridge Junction – 21 & 22 July

○ dream(ing) field lab showing – 31 July

○ Culmination of commissions – July

● November – COP 26

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