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 worked with three texts selected from the Climate Change Theatre Action’s 2021 call-out that addresses the central theme of Action (see below). We were 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 were: 

  • 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 was 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. Participants received access to the selected plays that were explored before this session. Josephine Reid also designed the staging element for our live event.

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). 


Lucy Heathcote is a Brisbane based actor and writer originally from Regional NSW. She is an acting graduate of QUT’s Bachelor of Fine Arts where she studied from 2018-2020. Lucy was recently in Queensland Theatre’s production of Our Town and acted in QUT’s productions of Three Sisters, Incognito, Dinner and Richard III.

Aldrick Dugarte is a comedian and actor currently based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Originally from Venezuela, Aldrick moved to the United States at age three, and later to Canada at age 11. His keen interest in migrant justice informs his politics as an abolitionist and his performances as a theatre practitioner.