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Climate Change Catastrophe!

Published: 11 February 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

NE theatre company Cap-a-Pie, which partners with those engaged in thinking, learning and discovery including communities, educators, researchers and scientists, is working with children from Hotspur Primary School in Newcastle, along with climate scientists and engineers from Newcastle University, and singer-songwriter Katie Doherty to produce a new show about cimate change.

Climate Change Catastrophe! is about what children think of climate change—their hopes, fears and ideas for the future. The result is a journey into the mind of an eight-year-old to make adult audiences think.

“For some time now, we’ve wanted to do a project around climate change,” Cap-a-Pie Artistic Director Brad McCormick explained. “It’s one of the biggest issues of our time and feels particularly relevant at the moment when experts are telling us that the clock is ticking to do something about it.

“Climate change will affect us all, but it’s the younger generation who will bear the brunt so we felt it would be interesting and useful to get their perspectives and to broaden their understanding of climate science and the engineering solutions from people with real expertise.”

Funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious scheme and created in partnership with Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, the show will be performed by professional actors Ree Collins and Liam Scarth.

Alistair Ford of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering has worked on climate change research for over a decade, particularly looking at how our cities might change to reduce their carbon footprint and make themselves more resilient to extreme weather. “I’m really excited to be working with Cap-a-Pie on this project,” he said. “It’s completely different to my day job and working with 8-year-olds is a complete contrast to writing computer models for local and national governments. Thinking about making a complex subject like climate change accessible to school kids is a great experience, making me think differently about the work I do.”

Previous shows by Cap-a-Pie have dealt with the importance of magic and divination on the Home Front during World War I (The Important Man—Alphabetti 2018), Archaeology (Woven Bones—also Alphabetti, 2018), Town Planning (The Town Meeting—Cheviot Centre, Wooler, 2015) and Human Geography (Under Us All—Customs House 2013), as well as a number of evenings in Stage 3 at Northern Stage when different pieces of research in a number of different subjects from Newcastle University have been explored.

Director Brad McCormick is joined by designer Verity Quinn (How To Win Against History at The Young Vic), with original music by award-winning North East singer-songwriter Katie Doherty, who regularly composes for theatre companies including Northern Stage and Open Clasp.