Where: Elephant

When: 17th March 2024 at 4:30 pm

Who: Caitlin, Nathan, Duncan, Paul

The session began hopelessly, as the discussion concluded that Theatre cannot avert Armageddon if it were inevitable. The genie is out of the bottle, and the problem lies with governments showing little to no interest in Theatre as a force for social or political change.

Examples were given of theatre that significantly impacted but did not contribute to averting the climate catastrophe. For instance, the live reading of the 1.5 degrees climate change report at the Edinburgh Fringe did not change government actions, and climate predictions have worsened.

Points were made about Theatre's potential power and the idea that global mass theatre would only impact if it took on grassroots forms and was pervasive. It was suggested that introducing theatre and storytelling into early education could foster a generation that cares deeply about the planet.

The discussion concluded that theatre makers feel helpless in the face of climate catastrophe, the rise of AI, and potential nuclear war. However, examples were mentioned where TV and film significantly impacted, such as the ITV series on the UK post office scandal, suggesting large corporations and governments might avoid repeating mistakes by looking first at computer errors before human error or criminality.

The conversation explored if a theatrical piece could prevent world superpowers from initiating a nuclear war by immersing them in the consequences of their actions, suggesting powerful Theatre might disrupt their decision-making towards peace.

Eastern European countries like Bulgaria hold arts festivals that address deep national questions, suggesting the Arts can play a significant role in inspiring and guiding governmental decisions.

The session ended on a note of both hope and despair, suggesting Theatre could avert Armageddon by confronting superpowers with the consequences of their actions but acknowledged the piecemeal impact of theatre on the mass population.
So impactful theatre could be verbatim, immersive and focused to consequences.
Holding up a mirror of the future might also be a way forward.


1. Theatre is deemed ineffective in averting an inevitable Armageddon, with the main issue lying in governmental disinterest.

2. Despite powerful examples, Theatre has not changed governmental stances on climate change.

3. Theatre's potential lies in grassroots movements and early education integration, fostering environmental care.

4. Theatre makers feel helpless against the backdrop of global crises.

5. TV and film examples suggest media can influence corporate and governmental behavior.

6. A hypothetical theatre piece could potentially prevent nuclear war by showing the consequences of such actions.

7. In Eastern Europe, the Arts address significant societal and governmental questions, suggesting a potential influential role.

8. The discussion highlighted Theatre's potential to confront decision-makers with their actions' consequences.

9. The impact of Theatre on the mass population remains limited and sporadic.

10. The session concluded with mixed feelings of hope and despair regarding Theatre's role in averting global crises.