Doing Nothing Is Not An Option – a house and TippingPoint commission

One species, ours, has by itself in the course of a couple of generations managed to powerfully raise the temperature of an entire planet, to knock its most basic systems out of kilter. But oddly, though we know about it, we don’t know about it. It hasn’t registered in our gut; it isn’t part of our culture. Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas?
What The Warming World Needs Now is Art, Sweet Art, Bill McKibben, 2005

This is the provocation that inspired the creation of TippingPoint, an organisation committed to energising the cultural response to climate change. Following Doing Nothing Is Not An Option, their latest three-day gathering of artists, activists and climate scientists, House has teamed up with TippingPoint to create a seed fund of £7500 to invest in one or more new theatre projects that address climate change.

The seed funding will be awarded to partnerships between theatre makers and venues in the house network and we’re particularly looking for projects that engage a potential audience through the creative process.

Two themes particularly struck us during the Doing Nothing Is Not An Option gathering and we hope that the seed funded projects might speak to these in some way.  The first is about the potential power of shifting the paradigm from one of doom and apocalypse, to one of positive possible futures; from ‘how do we avoid this’, towards ‘how do we build this’.  The other is about how we discuss issues relating to climate change with people across the political spectrum.  Climate change has become a deeply divisive political issue, particularly in the States where your response to the question ‘Are you concerned about climate change’ is the second greatest indicator of your political allegiance after ‘Do you think Obama has been an effective President?’.  And yet this has not always been the case; for instance in the UK, impassioned calls to arms were made by Conservative leaders during the late ’80s and ’90s.  One mistake has been to point a finger of blame at people we should have been trying to recruit, and failing to find the arguments that resonated with their values (such as conscientiousness, love for the natural world, and an aspiration for happiness).  This is examined in greater detail by Climate Outreach in publications including How Narrative Workshops Informed a National Climate Change Campaign and Climate Silence (and How to Break It).

As well as projects that respond to these ideas – both in terms of content and process – we’re particularly interested in partnerships with venues that are keen to explore climate change in greater depth with their audiences and also those venues that have less of a track record for supporting new work.

Applications will need to be made through our online form and be a partnership between a theatre maker and a venue.

The deadline for applications is midnight, Friday 21 October 2016. Apply online.

Applications will be short-listed by Monday 24 October and short-listed projects will be asked to provide a budget – we don’t need an indication of how much you are applying for before this.

To discuss an idea in more detail, or if you have any other questions, contact Richard Kingdom on 07714 216519 or  richard@housetheatre.org.uk.

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