Reflection on Climate Change Theatre Action 2019 in Shanghai & Nanjing, PRC

First off, my thoughts are with China in this time as they battle coronavirus. 加油中国!

CCTA SH poster new qr code

Shanghai Event – November 13, 2019

The Shanghai CCTA event was produced and organized by myself and 张沁心 Ivy Zhang. It was held at the EF People’s Square Center and featured the fellow artist-collaborators in the following CCTA plays:

  • “Steamy Session in a Singapore Spa” by Damon Chua, directed by Sam Sanford, featuring actors Rebecca Baynes and Andrew Wells-Qu
  • “The Donation” by Jordan Hall, directed and featuring actors Diko Kissimon and Howard Whiteson
  • “there are a lot of stories you can tell about humanity” by David Finnigan, featuring Alyssa Cokinis
  • “Appealing” by Paula Cizmar, directed by Georgie Hays, featuring actors Amaury Casery Madueño and Jintong Yu

Special thanks to Claire of EF for helping us to secure the space!

The event turned out great! We did a short reading of the plays and then we opened it up for a discussion. More than half of our audience was Chinese, and it was really significant to hear about climate change from a perspective other than a Western one. We had nice dialogue between expats and Chinese nationals in the room, including discussing the successes and also failures of Shanghai’s new recycling/garbage-sorting program. Having the plays really sparked our conversation.

Nanjing Event – December 16, 2019

The Nanjing CCTA event was produced and organized by myself and 张沁心 Ivy Zhang. It was held at NIO House in Xinjiekou, the Nanjing city center, and featured the following artist-collaborators in original pieces** and CCTA plays:

  • Theatre: “Steamy Session in a Singapore Spa” by Damon Chua, directed by Ryan Averill, featuring Joseph Strickland and Muhammad Ghazanfar Abdullah
  • ** Short Story: “Today’s Debate” by Patrick Phelps, read by Violet Chai and Alyssa Cokinis
  • Film: “Dust” by Marcus Youssef, directed and shot by Joseph Strickland, featuring Matthew Bedell (** “Dust” is a CCTA play, but it was creatively adapted for film by Joseph Strickland for the event.)
  • Theatre: “The Reason” by Stephen Sewell, directed by Ryan Averill, featuring Rain Barrios and Anis Khan
  • Theatre: “Absolutely Nothing of Any Meaning” by Sunny Drake, directed by and featuring Amaury Casery Madueño and Alyssa Cokinis
  • ** Video: Untitled by Napsugar Hegedus
  • ** Theatre: “Into the Middle” written, directed, and performed by Bill Aitchison

CCTA in Nanjing was very lively! People appreciated the performances and films presented. Our discussion was incredibly lively and divisive in the best way: we had a real, productive dialogue about the use of CCTA as a whole: how do we make events like these more interesting/relevant to a Chinese audience, if the event is held in China? Why are many Chinese people typically not interested in getting involved, or how can we provide an easier platform for them to get involved? The production around this was multi-sided. We also discussed about how China is often blamed for climate change–and while they are one of the biggest polluters on the planet, how they are making the majority of the planet’s products as well–and if the corporation and/or the individual is at fault. We also discussed what the likelihood would be of finding a solution. Overall, the Nanjing event was very impactful, and the whole CCTA Nanjing team was really grateful to have praise, constructive criticism, and productive discussion. I think the main thing of CCTA was that many Chinese people felt that it could start a conversation but that it was not entirely relevant to their own climate change experience in China. However, this opinion differed in Shanghai compared to Nanjing, which is a smaller city of only 8.5 million people compared to Shanghai’s 24 million people.

Once again I’d like to provide a big thank you to every single collaborator who participated in the events in Shanghai and Nanjing: this would not have happened without you. I learned even more about event-organizing and -producing (especially how to go about it in a country like China or a foreign country in general). I’m happy to have had these experiences and look forward to continuing this climate change theatre momentum every two years.

Stay tuned: In conjunction with and co-sponsoring CCTA in China, the literary magazine I founded, some scripts literary magazine, has now released its third issue, “The Era of Climate Change”!

For more info on Climate Change Theatre Action: http://www.climatechangetheatreaction.com/ 

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Published by Alyssa C.

Writer & theatre artist from Iowa. Currently quarantining in the Pacific Northwest. MA in Intercultural Communication Studies from Shanghai Theatre Academy (expected 2021).

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