Founded in 2015, Climate Change Theatre Action is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings.
Who We Are
CCTA was originally founded by Elaine Ávila, Chantal Bilodeau, Roberta Levitow, and Caridad Svich following a model pioneered by NoPassport Theatre Alliance. It has since evolved into a U.S.-Canada collaboration between The Arctic Cycle and the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.
The Arctic Cycle uses storytelling and live performance to foster dialogue about our global climate crisis, create an empowering vision of the future, and inspire people to take action. Operating on the principle that complex problems must be addressed through collaborative efforts, we work with artists across disciplines and geographic borders, solicit input from earth and social scientists, and actively seek community and educational partners.
The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) views sustainability as the intersection of environmental balance, social equity, economic stability and a strengthened cultural infrastructure. Seeing itself as evolved out of the principles of the 1987 Brundtland Report and 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the CSPA aligns itself with the policies of Agenda 21 for Culture as a resource to artists and art organizations.
How We Do It
CCTA uses theatre to bring communities together and encourage them to take local and global action on climate. By providing tools (a series of plays) free of charge, some guidance on how to produce events, marketing support, and a model that encourages leadership and self-determination, we make it easy for everyone to engage with an art form they may not be familiar with, and we empower them to harness their creative potential and put it in service of the greater good.
Every other year, 50 professional playwrights, representing all inhabited continents as well as several cultures and Indigenous nations, are commissioned to write five-minute plays about an aspect of the climate crisis based on a prompt.
This collection of plays is then available to producing collaborators interested in presenting an event during the project’s time window, typically in the fall. Events can be in-house readings, public performances, radio shows, podcasts, film adaptations – the possibilities are endless! Collaborators can design their event to reflect their own aesthetic and community, and include additional material by local artists.
To emphasize the “Action” part of Climate Change Theatre Action, collaborators are also urged to think about an action – educational, social, or political/civic – that can be incorporated into their event. It may involve the scientific community, other departments within a university, local environmental organizations, etc. Examples of actions from previous years include: presentations by scientists; donations to hurricane relief efforts and food banks; conversations with social justice and environmental organizations; writing letters to legislators, and; sharing tools for sustainability at the local level.
In 2019, through our Canadian partner, the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, Climate Change Theatre Action had the honor of receiving a Climate Arts Award from NewArts and a President’s Sustainability Leadership Award from York University, both located in Toronto, Canada.
Also in 2019, Climate Change Theatre Action was one of two runners-up for a Climate Change Public Engagement Award, given by Climate Outreach in the UK as part of their Climate Communication Awards.