“In 2019, I was arrested as part of the October XR rebellion outside Whitehall. It was the day before my birthday. I didn’t particularly want to be arrested and I have mixed feelings about the efficacy of it as a way of protest but I felt out of options.
I’ve stood for the Green Party several times, marched, shouted, signed petitions and done some stuff; probably not enough. I often feel like I am the conscience at work and the voice of doom around climate and our behaviours. To be clear: I do not always practise what I preach, definitely not. But having some awareness of it makes for uncomfortable living.”
Since 2019, I have been lucky enough to be working with a brilliant group of young climate activists from Gloucester. I met this group of striking young climate activists shouting in the streets.
They are a small group of extraordinary young people aged 14-18. Protesting with banners and their voices and shouting for their future with words of wisdom and speeches beautifully crafted that would put many politicians to shame, they were often met with abuse.
We offered them some office space to hold their meetings in and two years later we have co-created a new live show with them co-written by them and writer/director Anna Himali Howard.
It feels more meaningful to me than being arrested and a better use of my skills. It’s going on tour in October/November this year and we’re all coming up to COP 26 to perform the show and be present for the conference.
I stand for what I stand on is a live show performed by four young climate activists from Gloucester and a global digital cast. The show is performed directly to each audience member through headphones with original sound and digital design. Drawing on autobiographical experiences, a love of Harry Styles and Abba, an extraordinary understanding of the climate crisis and using cardboard protest signs, I stand for what I stand on share’s the young international casts’ thoughts and fears about the impending climate crisis and explores the reality of being a teenager and growing up in the shadow of the climate emergency.
Here’s a link to a trailer from the scratch performance from last year.
I read the final draft on a train journey this week and I laughed out loud and cried. I’m proud of lots of the work that I have been involved in but this is maybe the one I’m most proud of.
Apart from helping make this brilliant show, I’m not sure what else? What else to do and who else to talk to. I know that there is loads of brilliant stuff going on and I don’t want us to reinvent the wheel.
We’d like to connect with other artists/arts organisations/people in Glasgow when we’re up there. People who are thinking about their work, young people, co-creation, the climate emergency and actually what the fuck do we do?
We had three brilliant away days at Strike A Light last week and we started talking about our response to the climate emergency. Frankly it was uncomfortable. Not because we don’t care – we do – but it’s overwhelming and scary and loaded with bombshells.
One of our producers said that “it feels like posh white people talk about it and it annoys me; I know that it shouldn’t but it does”.
I am definitely one of those ‘posh white people’ and I get it. I get it can be annoying and seriously depressing. At the end of the session it was suggested that we did something to cheer us all up. I said that maybe it was ok to sit with discomfort; it’s real.
We also all agreed that we felt passionately about I stand for what I stand on and the support that we want to give to the brave young people who have made this show and literally feel that they are fighting for their future. That did cheer us up.
So in summary; I don’t have any answers. I feel sad and frustrated a lot of the time. I’m bursting with pride that we have genuinely co-created a performance with some amazing young people. We’d love to meet up with you in Glasgow if you’re there. Maybe organise an event, have a conversation, share some ideas, cry together but essentially be together in this, be a community.
I’ve lifted some text from I stand for what I stand on. It says it so much better than I can.
Everyone in their lives inevitably runs into something that they can’t deal with alone, or faces an issue that is affecting many people…We realised that climate change is not an isolated issue, there are so many other factors that contribute to how heavily you are affected by it, like social class, race, gender, age. In order to tackle climate change there are so many other issues that simultaneously need to be addressed. You as individuals may have interests and goals too, issues you care about that you’d love to take action on, but on your own you don’t know where to start. You need to make connections and find people who share the same view, or even convince someone to change theirs.
A community allows you to give and receive care, to look after one another and to have people to rely on. We need these local and global communities to be stronger than ever as we face the impacts of the climate crisis. Living life only doing things for yourself is difficult and needless, and the world would be such a better place if we all communicated more and cared for each other.”
A personal response from Sarah Blowers (Co-Artistic Director)