Launched in 2015, Climate Change Theatre Action is a worldwide festival of short plays about the climate crisis presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings.
Who We Are
CCTA was originally conceived 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 Arts & Climate Initiative and the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.
The Arts & Climate Initiative 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
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 potential organizers interested in presenting an event in their community during the festival’s time window. Events can be in-house readings, public performances, radio shows, podcasts, film adaptations – the possibilities are endless! Organizers 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, organizers 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.