Natalie’s Blog – A New Partnership with York St John University

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I’m excited (and mildly terrified!) to announce that I’ve started a PhD in Theatre and Environmental Justice! As a theatre director and creative practitioner I get to collaborate with a diverse range of artists, community groups and young people. My work is often inspired by socio-political issues, including the climate crisis. This means that whilst continuing my work, I will begin to ask big questions about the role of theatre in the fight against the climate crisis. For starters, ‘How can theatre be used as a tool to amplify the voices of young and marginalised communities within the Environmental Justice Movement?’

I’m going to begin by assembling a group of Bradford based young people and asking them: How do you want to use our theatre company to tackle environmental injustice in our local community? Much like the Youth Board at Freedom Studios, this group (name TBC!) will be invited to join me as co-researchers and decide what action we take and what questions we ask.

Perhaps we will commission a Bradford playwright to help us interrogate the barriers and biases surrounding the theatre and the environmental justice communities? Or should we organise a creative climate protest to help us investigate how theatre can develop our skills, such as leadership, collaboration and agency? Maybe we could create a podcast that discusses how to look after our mental health under the cloud of climate anxiety?

You could say that the last six months has brought a little uncertainty into our world. All I know is that in a world that is burning, in an industry on its knees, meeting with the young people of Freedom Studios Youth Theatre each week gives me a jet-fueled injection of hope. Their openness, playfulness and curiosity; their desire for a just and sustainable future is infectious. They don’t just need to be listened to, they need to be in charge! So really, my question is this, how are we going to demand a better future and build it for ourselves.

So, if you are a young person (between 14 – 21 years old) who has some creative curiosity and a passion for change, get in touch with me on Natalie@freedomstudios.co.uk

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