Just Stop Oil and Theatre's response to the climate crisis.

Just Stop Oil activists were back in the headlines last week, as they disrupted a performance of Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre in London. Freelancers make Theatre Work’s Paule Constable had these thoughts:

“It is a hugely complex situation. There is the feeling that our work is being undermined – that it is an act of aggression towards the arts and the artists involved; but at the same time that the cause is entirely valid. I personally have huge empathy for the Just Stop Oil cause, and others will have similar feelings. Our use of fossil fuels is killing the planet.  The climate crisis is undeniable.  How do we square our personal feelings about this with our professional lives? 

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“What will it take? There is – of course – a link between the perhaps naive aspirations of the student protests of Les Miserables and the potent anger of the protestors. Wherever one stands with this I would really appreciate knowing how theatre companies and performance venues are planning to give space to these more complex conversations, and would encourage a more open dialogue about environmentally responsible practices as regards our working lives.

“I would like to share this film of the brilliant conductor Vladimir Jurowski giving space to some climate protestors. I am not suggesting this is the answer – but it is inspiring to see an artist acknowledge the importance of these actions.”

As Paule says, it is a complex situation, and we’d like to hear from you with your thoughts. Have you been part of a performance which has been disrupted? Have you been part of a climate protest? Is there something we as individuals, as companies, or the industry as a whole could or should be doing? Let us know what you think – we’ll be discussing the subject in more depth during the coming weeks, and will try to represent as broad a range of viewpoints as possible. It’s a burning issue, so let’s keep the conversation going.

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