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8 - Climate Theatre

Enacting Possible Futures

from Part III - Ways of Telling Climate Stories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2022

Adeline Johns-Putra
Affiliation:
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Kelly Sultzbach
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
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Summary

Climate change makes demands on our collective imagination, reshaping understandings of what it means to be human in the span of geologic time. This chapter argues that theatre is uniquely positioned not only to bear witness to the lived experience of climate change by amplifying the voices of those people and places most impacted, but also to forward the necessary labour of imagining just and sustainable futures. This chapter also argues that a play is merely a blueprint for performance, and that to discern the role of theatre to leverage social change, it must be understood as a living art form, one in which people gather together in a material time and place to enact shared stories. The chapter examines how contemporary dramatists are innovating new forms, distinct from traditional Aristotelian dramatic structure, in order to leverage social change, engender empathy, and exercise democratic values.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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