Climate Dramaturgy

Climate Dramaturgy – an overview

Climate Dramaturgy is the new artistic approach we take at HighTide when commissioning and producing theatre.  It is an ever-evolving artistic practice that centres climate-positive choices and climate justice.  We believe it helps us make joyful, inclusive and future-looking theatre.

Climate Dramaturgy essentially means: 

1. Artists and producers, together, making climate-positive and carbon-reducing choices in their theatre-making. 

2. All collaborators talking about these climate-positive choices in every creative conversation, from the very beginning of a project.

Climate Dramaturgy is not only for ‘plays about the climate crisis’.  Instead, it’s an artistic practice that recognises that every play written today, every production made today, exists within a climate crisis.  So how do we respond? 

We have found that if we use the principles of Climate Dramaturgy, from the very beginning of every project, then it gives the green light to the practical framework of the excellent Theatre Green Book when it comes to actually realising the show.

As a guide, we have developed:

However, we at HighTide are not experts in Climate Dramaturgy!  It’s new and ever-evolving.  It will also mean different things to different artists, in different situations at different scales – and that’s ok.  We aren’t seeking perfection in environmental action; we’re just trying to rehearse a better way of making theatre.  We’re keen to share this artistic practice with you and learn from you too.

The term Climate Dramaturgy was first developed by our Artistic Associate, Zoë Svendsen, when working with Clare, our Artistic Director, at the Donmar Warehouse in London.  Much of our practice at HighTide has come from Zoë’s work.  You can read more about that research project here.

Below, you can find more information and some free resources you can take and adapt for your own work.  

If you’d like to learn more about this practice, feel free to email our Artistic Director, Clare at [email protected]

The Ten Steps of Climate Dramaturgy The Three Elements of Climate Dramaturgy A Climate Careful Production Timeline Theatre Green Book Production Decision Impact Tracker Production Materials Tracker Clauses for freelancer contracts Environmental Action statement in company Welcome Packs Environmental Action Touring Rider Environmental Action Glossary – words are important Other Environmental Action resources Climate Conversations – a Climate Dramaturgy research report