Arising from HowlRound’s 2018 convening “Theatre in the Age of Climate Change,” The Climate Commons for Theatre and Performance is an international, radically de-centered coalition of practitioners from diverse disciplines working at the intersections of performance and ecology.
In this working group, founding members of the Commons will endeavor to deepen and share methodologies for moving beyond the fear, shock, and grief which naturally accompany confrontations of the “long emergencies,” sudden catastrophes, and inequitably distributed impacts of climate change. Part activist challenge and part intellectual/aesthetic exercise, this working group seeks to re-center parody, satire, and celebration within performative interventions in and around the climate crisis on Planet Earth.
Through both generative and discursive sessions, this working group endeavors to reframe our view of climate change beyond the anthropocentrism which brought us to this global emergency in the first place—making room in our myriad practices for the wild, the hilarious, the naughty, and the more-than-human.
Format and Structure:
While climate issues in the arts are often placed in the category of an environmental 'topic', we are increasingly aware that climate intersects with all of the most urgent discussions around anti-oppression and social equity that our field has bravely faced historically. Resisting this pigeonholing, this working group affirms that theater and performance must be a leader in a necessary cultural shift toward acknowledging the intersectionality and entanglements inherent in issues of ecology and environmental justice.
The “Climate Lens Playbook,” a methodology designed by conveners Una Chaudhuri and others, which has inspired works presented across the world, will be a roadmap for the group’s creative time, and a springboard for recentering our individual and collective epistemologies around arts practice.
We are aware that representational challenges (time scales, climate phenomenology, and globalized socio-economic shifts) pose particular complexities in making coherent, relevant, and provocative narratives that aren’t just dressed-up science or sociology presentations. Armageddon is inevitably depressing, so how do we infuse stories about the end of life as we know it with humor, satire, optimism, and decolonized imaginings of bio-diverse futures while still keeping our eye on science and policy shifts?
The working group’s focus will allow participants to move into practice. Time will be structured for discussions, presentations of case studies of humor, satire, mockery, inversions of anthropocentrism and laughter, generation of writing and performance, and showings of what is created, with an excursion into a “green” space in Mexico City for at least one of the days.
Languages spoken/understood by conveners:
Conveners speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Una Chaudhuri (she/her) is Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. A pioneer in the field of “eco-theatre”—plays and performances that engage with the subjects of ecology and environment—as well as the interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies, in 2014 she published books in both of these fields: Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (co-edited with Holly Hughes) and The Ecocide Project: Research Theatre and Climate Change (co-authored with Shonni Enelow). Her monograph, The Stage Lives of Animals: Zooësis and Performance, was published in 2017 by Routledge Press. Professor Chaudhuri participates in collaborative creative projects, including the multi-platform intervention entitled Dear Climate. She is a founding member of the artist collective CLIMATE LENS.
Elizabeth Doud (she/her) is a Miami-based artist with a background in creative writing and performance, and in depth experience as arts organizer and educator, with an emphasis on international cultural exchange and climate arts. She has worked extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean in the performing arts, and co-created Climakaze Miami with FUNDarte in 2015, an annual climate performance and dialogue platform. She lead the Performing Americas Program of the National Performance Network from 2007-2018, and holds a PhD in Performing Arts at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. She was recently a visiting professor/practitioner at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights at the University of Texas in Austin, and received a 2018 Knight Foundation Challenge Grant to create eco-performance in South Florida.
Robert Duffley (he/him) is Editor and Assistant Dramaturg at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. As part of the A.R.T.’s “Act II” program, Robert designs and facilitates events which convene diverse publics in acts of transformative dialogue and imagination. He has developed new work with the A.R.T. (including works co-commissioned by the Harvard University Center for the Environment), LubDub Theatre Co, Organic Theatre, and the Moscow Art Theater. Writing includes pieces for Contemporary Theatre Review, HowlRound, The Theatre Times, and Six By Eight Press. He is an Affiliated Faculty Member at Emerson College’s Department of Performing Arts and a resident in the Orchard Project’s NYC Greenhouse.
Dr. Adilson Siqueira (he/him) currently works at the Department of Literature, Arts, and Culture (DELAC), Federal University of São João del-Rei where he teaches in the Theatre Course and in the Postgraduate Program in Performing Arts. He is also a professor and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Arts, Urbanities, and Sustainability. Adilson does research in performing arts and its relation to Sustainability and Climatic Change, Performer Training and Theatre teaching. His current project is Ecopoéticas cênicas, performáticas e transdisciplinares.
Georgina H.L. Escobar (she/her) is a Ciudad Juárez native and New York-based playwright and theatre maker whose most notable work includes Then They Forgot About The Rest, (Brooklyn Generator 2018), Bi-(be) (Teatro Milagro Tour 2018), Penny Pinball Presents The Beacons (INTAR NewLab Workshop, Marfa Live Arts), Sweep (Aurora Theatre 2017), Death and the Tramp (Milagro 2016), Ash Tree (Duke City Repertory 2012), among others. She’s written and directed for and with Milagro, New York Children’s Theatre, the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Clubbed Thumb Emerging Writers Group, and at Marfa Live Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Djerassi, and the Fornés Writing Workshop. She’s a recipient of a Kennedy Center National Theatre for Young Audiences Award, and an Outstanding Service to Women on the Border Award for her production of VDAY Spotlight on the Women of Juarez. She is on the Advisory Committee for the Latinx Theatre Commons, and sits on the Board of Marfa Live Arts.
- Alejandro Chellet
- Brontë Velez
- Eli Nixon
- Emma Morgan-Thorp
- Grisha Coleman
- Hallie Abelman
- Jacinta Yelland
- Julia Barbosa Landois
- Kathleen Schaag
- Katie Pearl
- Kiyo Gutiérrez
- Lawrence Bogad
- Mady Schutzman
- Marco Guagnelli
- Maria Firmino-Castillo
- Marina Guzzo
- Michele Minnick
- Paul Bonin-Rodriguez
- Rodrigo Malvar
- Sandra Valeria Navarro Magallón
- Sarah Kanouse
- Tanya Kalmanovitch
- Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal