25 years ago, the conversation around climate change and global warming was beginning to take off in earnest among scientists and policy-makers. Then, in the early 90s, a well-organised campaign driven by the fossil fuel industry began to target the science and scientists behind what had until then been a relatively undisputed scientific phenomenon. Suddenly, the existence and extent of humanity’s impact on the earth system became a topic of contention and dispute. A scientific debate became a political debate and the issue has become a divisive issue in popular culture.
While there are no shortage of examples of the environment as a subject in theatre, the current climate crisis has generated its own unique array of theatrical responses. Rather than attempt to survey the entirety of a huge and swiftly-growing field, I want to explore the topic of climate change in performance from the perspective of a theatre-maker, looking at some of the challenges and opportunities created by the form and highlighting some specific lessons from plays which I have a personal experience of.