Stars of stage, screen and science
Campaigners can easily become despondent about the slow progress on many vital fronts, from limiting global temperature rise to curtailing pesticide use, but there are signs that the arts – particularly cinema and theatre – are connecting with the issues and looking for new ways of bringing the message home.
In Ten Billion, for example, which debuts at London’s Royal Court theatre in July, scientist Stephen Emmott is working with director Katie Mitchell to deliver “a new kind of scientific lecture, highlighting key issues being lost in translation in our discussion of the environment … a vivid portrait of a species with its head in the sand.”
Dominic Cooke, artistic director at the Royal Court, says, “It isn’t a play, it may not even be described as ‘theatre’ and we have never put a scientist centre stage at the Royal Court before, but it could just be one of the most important projects I’ve ever worked on.”
Emmott is head of computational science at Microsoft Research and professor of computational science at Oxford University. His lab is recognised for its pioneering approaches to tackling “outstanding problems in predicting the future of the climate, and the future of life on Earth.”
Equally innovative is Climate Refugees The Opera, described as a piece of musical theatre specially written to be performed simultaneously in Rio, London and Cape Town in real time. Work is underway for staging next year.
Looking at the Big Picture this week is Four Horsemen, in which international thinkers discuss the power elites of today's global economy and explain how the majority has been made to pay for what the filmmakers describe as "the greatest heist in history”.
There are also screenings of documentaries about the potentially catastrophic spread of nuclear arms, Countdown to Zero; on Prince Charles’ environmental thinking, Harmony; and Marx Reloaded, a look at the thinker’s continuing relevance.
On the photo front, on 10 May Somerset House launches an exhibition on floods, Drowning World, which it describes as "somewhere between photojournalism, climate change activism and art".
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