A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction at Shakespeare North Playhouse

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction at Shakespeare North Playhouse
Image courtesy of Helen Murray.

A Play for the Living in the Time of Extinction at Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot 16 — 20 May 2023 Tickets from ££3.00 (plus transaction fee) — Book now

A first-of-its-kind theatre production comes to Shakespeare North Playhouse’s Cockpit Theatre this May. A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction is a dark, humorous one-woman show about climate change, powered by bicycles.

A dark, humorous one-woman show about climate change, powered by bicycles.

Written by Miranda Hall and co-produced by the Barbican and Headlong, A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction has been described as “a bold experiment in eco theatre-making”. The show opened at the Barbican and will be performed in Merseyside as part of its UK tour. However, the show also uses a pioneering new touring model, the first of its kind in the UK: the play will tour, while its people and materials do not. A vital investigation into making theatre more sustainable, the show will be staged by a different local creative team and feature a different performer at every venue it visits.

Most interestingly, in addition to the production being staged sustainably, the show’s content also tackles environmental themes. The narrative focuses on Naomi, a young theatre worker who is staging her own play about climate change and the destruction of our environment. Billed as “part ritual, part battle cry”, A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction takes its audience on a journey to discover what it means to be human during an era of man-made extinction.

When the play was staged in Canada, theatre critic Savannah Stewart said, “For a show about mass death, it expertly avoids plunging its audience into insurmountable existential dread. The message it leaves the viewer with is one of hope, not despair.”

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction at Shakespeare North Playhouse
Image courtesy of Helen Murray.

An innovative exploration to reimagine theatre in a time of climate crisis.

The show forms part of an innovative exploration to reimagine theatre in a time of climate crisis. The concept has been developed as a way to reduce the theatre industry’s impact on the environment while also preventing the need for transportation. The show comes with a ‘touring score’ (a set of guidelines) that states that the show should be off-grid, powered by 10 cyclists onstage, who pedal throughout the performance to generate the energy to cover the performance, with locally produced set and costumes and a community choir.

The show invites a community to imagine an alternative way of creating and experiencing theatre.

We love that this ground-breaking model of performance allows a new local team of theatre-makers to put a new twist on the show. A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction will be assembled by a local crew in Merseyside with Northern actor Shareesa Valentine (Forgotten Voices) set to perform the show, alongside a new director, choir and creative team.

Hopeful and bold, A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction encourages opens a discourse around environmental responsibility, green policy and theatre-making, and invites a community to imagine an alternative way of creating and experiencing theatre.

A Play for the Living in the Time of Extinction at Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot 16 — 20 May 2023 Tickets from ££3.00 (plus transaction fee) Book now

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Where to go near A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction at Shakespeare North Playhouse

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Liverpool
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Liverpool’s Sudley House is the only surviving Victorian merchant art collection in Britain still hanging in its original location.

Metal Liverpool at Edge Hill Station
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