It can be difficult to track from afar the efforts of artists to tackle climate change. For theater, issues of copyright and publishing are complicated because plays are often created not for the disembodied world of the internet but to be performed on particular days in particular locations. To fully experience them, you have to be there.
One compelling exception comes from the work of social science researcher Joanne Jordan in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As part of her investigation of the lived experience of climate change in one large slum in that beleaguered city, Jordan worked with theater students at the University of Dhaka to create and perform a Pot Gan, a traditional form mixing song, dance, pictures, and drama.
She and other partners then created teaching resources and several videos, including one about the project, another of an actual interactive performance, and three mini-portraits. All this and more (in both English and Bengali) is on this fascinating website: “The Lived Experience of Climate Change: A Story of One Piece of Land in Dhaka.”
For something that might be closer to home, check this site: “Theatre in the Age of Climate Change.” There you will find short posts about the topic and a call for help with the next bi-annual Climate Change Theatre Action project, 50 plays to accompany the U.N. Conference of Parties 25 (COP) meeting this fall. The theme this time is “Lighting the Way.”
Editor’s note: Updated on September 6, 2019.
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.