Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors
Jonathan Pitches ([email protected])
Libby Worth ([email protected])
Training Grounds Editor: Maria Kapsali [email protected]
Green Trainings (Issue 15.3)
If not now, when?
We are living in a time of an unprecedented global environmental crisis. Scientists have developed a sophisticated understanding of the Earth’s climate system and we know with high confidence that climate change is happening today as a result of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. Negative impacts from climate change, including extreme weather events, the acidification of the oceans, declining glaciers and sea ice, and rising sea temperatures are already being felt and will continue to increase into the future. Radical action to limit future global greenhouse gas emissions is essential if we are to restrict future changes in the climate system. A key target emerging from COP27 (November 2022) is the pressing need to effect the shift from pledging to implementation. In this time of climate emergency we must collectively accelerate, scale up, replicate success stories and bring about transformative action. Conscious of the ubiquitous, and iniquitous acts of greenwashing and virtue signaling, this call for transformative activism must at the same time be expressed honestly with open acknowledgment of the barriers to change, the impediments, and potential failures and the need for persistence – to try and then to try again.
In the last 20 years, there has been an increase in arts-based training for environmental awareness, and a rich history of practitioners working outside, drawing for instance from paratheatre, somatics and bodyweather. There has been a concomitant process in Fine Art – Suzi Gablik’s The Re-enchantment of Art (1991) is a key frame of reference and Natalie Loveless’s How to make Art at the End of the World (2019), has also been very influential more recently. Their focus on pedagogy, responsibility and ethics is instructive for thinking across disciplines. In parallel with this movement there has been a too-late acknowledgement of indigenous/first peoples’ training methods, and the capacity they have to spark new thinking about old training methods, and thus to decolonise the training studio – Te Rākau’s Theatre Marae for instance in Aotearoa/NewZealand (Pearse-Otene, TDPT 12.1) or Cricri Bellerose’s ecosomatic attentiveness through which she becomes an ‘apprentice to the land’ (TDPT 13.2).
In the UK and the US, there have been logistical and industrial responses to the crisis, with a focus on finding ways of operating more sustainably and with less waste. The emergence of the Theatre Green Book, now complete at 3 Volumes, provides free guidance for theatre-makers on what everyone can and should be doing to change their practice, and is evidence of the UK theatre sector’s commitment to creating a common standard for sustainable theatre. Similarly, in the US, the Broadway Green Alliance has paved the way for an initiative dedicated to educating and inspiring producing theatres to implement environmentally friendlier practices, with their Green Captain programme providing advocacy and support for professional theatres and college theatre departments. In the UK, some institutions have adopted Green Captains, highlighting their commitment to future sustainable practices. These programmes are, however, almost exclusively focused on theatre production, buildings and operations. If we look to the training methods of performers employed in these contexts, there is scant (published) evidence of sustainable, or ‘green training’ practices.
Cognisant of the urgent need to address the often problematic issues around responsibility for engagement and action, our discipline is provoking ways to respond. For example, the 9th edition of the International Platform for Performer Training (Chiusi, Italy, January 2023), where this Call for Papers was first developed, included New Creative Ecologies: Non-anthropocentric Spaces, Geopoetics and Climate Change in Performer Training as one of its four key themes for exploration, while RiDE’s forthcoming Special Issue, Confronting the Global Climate Crisis: Responsibility, Agency, and Action, seeks to ‘confront the climate crisis with a revived interest in the diverse pedagogical, ethical, aesthetic, and sensory qualities’ of applied theatre research and practice.
In this Special Issue of TDPT we seek to discover green trainings’ roots, to document forms of green training which already exist, and to debate what new forms might emerge. As such, our questions for this special issue may be conceived in three interrelated parts – sources, contemporary practices and imagined futures:Continue reading