Getting There: Collective Creation and Performance for a Culture of Sustainability

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Guptill, Tracey
Theatre , Sustainability
My task, when I set out to research and write my Master’s thesis, was to explore the ways in which theatre can contribute to engaging people on topics related to sustainability. I thus wrote a play about a young woman disillusioned by her life at home and at school. Her journey through her adoption story overlaps with her attempts to make an impact with her environmental activism. My methodology has come out of my feminist orientation which pervades my entire approach. This includes the choice of writing a play, the type and content of the play that I wrote, and the collaborative method by which I co-created and co-produced it. I have chronicled my collaborative creation process which includes devising, using Augusto Boal’s Image Theatre and techniques inspired by the UK theatre group Complicite. The text of the play is included as Chapter 6 and an archive video of the performance is linked as well. The accompanying analysis that looks at the role of culture within sustainability discourse and political theatre is a post-process reflection. The bulk of my work falls under the category of Performance as Research (PaR). As I hope my work demonstrated, performance offers particular insight into one’s culture and the values we live by, and thus our identities. This entire project is in line with the research method of autoenthnography, for the play reflects and chronicles my own struggles with sustainability and what action we can take to ameliorate the unsustainable society we currently live in.
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