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NIDA writers tackle climate change

Students from NIDA’s Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) cohort are taking a leadership role in a group to encourage global action on climate.

Photo: NIDA MFA (Writing for Performance) students Samira Spring and Bryce Bofinger in rehearsed readings at NIDA Open Day as part of Climate Change Theatre Action. (Photo: Patrick Boland)

Students from NIDA’s Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) cohort are taking a leadership role in a group to encourage global action on climate. The NIDA Climate Action Group (NCA) is an initiative between staff and students at NIDA to address the ecological crisis through the arts.

The group is affiliated with Climate Change Theatre Action, a global participatory project that ‘uses theatre to bring communities together and encourage them to take local and global action on climate’ (more information on their website here).  CCTA annually commissions 50 playwrights from around the world to write a short play that is then made available to theatre companies to produce as part of their commitment to climate change theatre. NIDA’s Course Leader Writing for Performance Dr Stephen Sewell has been commissioned three years in a row, and is one of the 50 writers.

The NIDA Climate Action Group (NCA) ran half-hour readings of two short plays at NIDA’s Open Day, ‘Absolutely Nothing of Any Meaning’ by Sunny Drake, and ‘The Reason’ by Stephen Sewell. Both plays were sourced through the online ‘Climate Change Theatre Action’ movement, chosen because they interrogate different facets of the ecological crisis. ‘Absolutely Nothing of Any Meaning’ engages with the role of consumer apathy, and ‘The Reason’ a tense duologue of a couple deciding whether or not they should have kids in the face of impending doom.

The readings were followed by an open conversation about the arts as knowledge translation, personification of crisis, and how to make plays like these more accessible.

‘We are currently exploring how we are best able to use our skills as young emerging artists to engage meaningfully and productively with the ecological crisis,’ explained chair of the NIDA Climate Action Group (NCA) Johanna Williams. ‘We’re planning to host evenings of play readings inviting all the NIDA students, and a forum focused around these issues, engaging emerging artists and industry professionals on how we can not only use our individual practices to tackle the changing climate, but also how we in our industry can move towards making eco-friendly art.’

‘I am very proud of the student writers, who are taking a leadership role in this important action,’ said Stephen Sewell.

To find out more about NIDA’s MFA (Writing for Performance) course  or to apply to study in 2020:

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