Reading group

The Ecoscenography Reading Group is a new virtual platform for theatre makers (and friends!) who are interested in exploring a variety of articles, books, plays and stories that forefront ecological ways of knowing. The Reading Group events aim to take place once a month, with each session focusing on a specific text (or series of texts) and featuring special guests to help generate dialogue for broader discussion. The event has been instigated as part of Ecoscenography’s engagement with the new PQ knowledge exchange platform. All Reading Group events are free and will be made accessible across a wide range of international time zones.

We are excited to announce our first two Ecoscenography Reading Group events in partnership with The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) and The Arctic Cycle’s Climate Change Theatre Action project (CCTA) in collaboration with World Stage Design 2022 (WSD2022), Triga Creative (Triga), Griffith University (Australia), Queensland University of Technology (Australia) and York University (Canada). These events will explore Eco-theatre and Ecoscenography through a discussion of six selected CCTA plays by a diversity of playwrights across the globe. 

The first sessions will be hosted by Queensland University of Technology and curated by QUT student Monique Roy, with the aim of integrating live and virtual performance readings and discussion. The information about our upcoming events is listed below. We can’t wait to have you join us for these exciting conversations!

Next CCTA Reading Group Events: 

September: Stories of Hope and Action 

Wednesday, September 22nd at 8:30pm Toronto time (GMT-4)
Thursday, September 23rd at 10:30 am Brisbane time (AEST)

Our September Reading Group will be working with three texts selected from the Climate Change Theatre Action’s 2021 call-out that addresses the central theme of Action (see below). We will be joined by guest playwright panellists, Chantal Bilodeau (New York, US), Keith Barker (Toronto, Canada) and Dr. Linda Hassall (Brisbane, AUS) to discuss the central themes of the play and how they explore environmental action within the arts community on a local and global scale.

Our selected CCTA plays for the September Ecoscenography Reading Group are: 

  • Initiation by Angella Emurwon (Uganda) 
    A reflection on the past and how our actions have impacted the earth. Encouraging connection to the earth for a hopeful future.  
  • Ranger by Yvette Nolan (Canada/Algonquin) 
    Imagining a climate utopia built around ecological conservation, the sacrifices made to start a new chapter for the world.  
  • Consultation by Dylan Van Den Berg (Australia/Palawa
    Learning from and forefronting Indigenous voices through active and deep listening, urging our community to understand the impact of colonization when navigating a new future.  

Our first session will be held virtually on September 22nd at 8:30pm Toronto time (GMT-4) / September 23rd at 10:30 am Brisbane time (AEST) through our Zoom Webinar platform hosted through our Zoom Webinar platform hosted by The Queensland University of Technology. Upon registering with our Eventbrite link, you will receive access to the selected plays that will be explored in this session. We encourage you to have a read through these plays beforehand to engage in our Q&A with our panel and attendees.

Guest panellists: 

Chantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright. As artistic director of The Arctic Cycle, she has been instrumental in getting the theatre and educational communities, as well as audiences in the U.S. and abroad, to engage in climate action through live events, talks, publications, workshops, national and international convenings, and a worldwide distributed theatre festival. In 2019, she was named one of “8 Trailblazers Who Are Changing the Climate Conversation” by Audubon Magazine. 

Keith Barker is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. He is a playwright, actor, and director from Northwestern Ontario, and the current Artistic Director at Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. Winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Playwrights Guild’s Carol Bolt Award for best new play, Keith was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for English Drama in 2018 for his play, This Is How We Got Here. He received a Saskatchewan and Area Theatre Award for Excellence in Playwriting for his play, The Hours That Remain, as well as a Yukon Arts Award for Best Art for Social Change. His short zoom play, in a little plastic bag, in a tiny little jar, on a mantel in the house premiered as part of the Stratford Festival’s Viral Transmissions Series in Spring 2021. His audio play, Every Minute of Every Day premiered as part of Factory Theatre’s You Can’t Get There From Here podcast play series in Spring 2021 as well.

Dr Linda Hassall (Senior Lecturer, Griffith University) has 30 years of experience as a director, playwright, and dramaturge in the professional theatre industry. Her artistic focus is on developing new work in Australian landscape performance. She is a practice-led performance researcher, and she links her artistic practice to scholarly investigations from ecocritical perspectives in contemporary performance. The research investigates the impact of climate change on the Australian landscape and the corresponding effects on the Australian character. She is an award-winning playwright Post Office Rose (2008) and director Salvation (2013) and has recently written a book linking her artistic and scholarly practice: Theatres of Dust: Climate Gothic analysis in contemporary Australian drama and performance landscapes (forthcoming).