I Stand For What I Stand On

We’ve been working with the most *amazing* group of Youth Climate Activists over the last year or so. We went along to their Youth Strike 4 Climate and were instantly blown away by their knowledge, conviction, maturity, confidence and energy. In Gloucester they are a small but vocal minority and carry on with their protests in the face of aggression from adults in the street and public criticism on social media. It started us thinking about what support and resources we could offer them as an arts organisation.

Earlier this year we helped support them to produce a Fundraising event for the Australian wildfire relief funds. They brought together awesome live musicians and activists to perform at Gloucester Guildhall. They also performed a very early extract of a performance they had been developing around their climate activism – ‘I Stand For What I Stand On’.

In February we went to a Youth Arts & Activism Symposium at Battersea Arts Centre. We spent two days with other youth activists from around the country undertaking workshops with brilliant activists like Viv Gordon and Richard Dedomenici. We all then watched the incredible ‘When it breaks it burns by ColetivA Ocupação’ which was phenomenally inspiring.

We went with the group to a climate strike in Bristol to see Greta Thunberg and then went to Battersea Arts Centre for a ‘Youth Arts & Activism’ symposium.

This summer they started working with an *incredible* Director Anna Himali Howard to develop their performance of ‘I Stand For What I Stand On’. They met weekly on Zoom for the first couple of months and then finally in September they could meet together in person.

We were also joined by a wonderful creative team, Munotida Chinyanga (Sound Designer), Will Monks (Lighting Designer), Hannah Churchill (Director Assistant) & Ethan Hudson (Production Manager).

“It’s been so great to be able to have something consistent and certain to be working on in such unpredictable times! We’ve been able to so easily adapt through restrictions and it’s so great to see and hear from everyone weekly. I’ve been able to experience an entirely new platform for how I usually go about activism and having such an amazing group of knowledgeable people supporting us has made so much possible that we could have never done alone.”

“It was a challenge to put this show together during a pandemic, but climate change does not stop for a virus and neither do we, so we took on the challenge and after many zoom calls and social distanced meetups we were able to produce the show.”

They were working towards a scratch performance in October where they could show what they had created so far. We were very excited and grateful to be able to offer them the opportunity to perform underneath Luke Jerram’s Gaia at Gloucester Cathedral. Big shout out to Gloucester Culture Trust & Gloucester Cathedral for their support!

“Being under GAIA felt so important for us. We were able to feel as though we were actively protecting our planet as it hangs from a thread above us.”

“To tell our story as climate activists under Gaia felt amazing. The very image of the world we wish to protect was floating above our heads. This has been such a step up from our previous actions as activists and it has opened up the world of performance art to us and the power it holds to influence peoples’ minds.”

The show was live streamed so it could be watched from all around the world. They reached out to climate activists nationally and internationally and introduced them as part of the show.

“Having never done anything like this before, I don’t think any of us knew what to expect, but somehow we put together this show from scratch and people loved it. We surprised ourselves. I have never been great at performing and never thought I would be able to perform the scratch in front of an audience. However we all did it. We had so much fun in the process creating so many memories and running jokes. This show has been an opportunity for all of us to improve our confidence and continue to spread UKSCN Gloucester’s message despite the challenges faced by a global pandemic.”

Plans are in place for ‘I Stand For What I Stand On’ to be further developed and performed in 2021 and we just can’t wait! If you’d like to find out more about the project or are a young climate activist who would like to get involved, get in touch with us