NAC is extending performance and event cancellations and postponements until August 31

Climate change

The Earth is Watching…Let’s Act.

The Green Rooms: The Earth is Watching… Let’s Act

What it is:

All Green Room events are in English only

As part of its response to the escalating climate crisis – and in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic – NAC English Theatre in partnership with Festival of Live Digital Art (FOLDA), the Canada Council for the Arts, The City of Kingston, HowlRound Theatre Commons and The National Theatre School is bringing together participants for an extraordinary three-day/three-country digital experiment to re-imagine the future of theatre.

Join us for spirited conversations with leaders in fields such as climate activism, ecological economy and environmental humanities, as well as with theatre artists and leaders who have found innovative ways to engage with the climate crisis.

A limited number of active participants will join the event on Zoom, from eight cities across three countries: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, and Halifax, as well as London (U.K.) and New York. In addition, a livestream of the event will be accessible to spectators everywhere.

Please note: If you are not in one of those cities, you can still participate by joining the city closest to you or the one most meaningful to you!

Co-curated by Sarah Garton Stanley and Chantal Bilodeau.

Schedule: (subject to change)

DAY 1: Wednesday, June 10, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (EDT)

  • Opening Picnic

    Wednesday, June 10, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (EDT)

    Imagine a park with a presenter on stage and the audience sitting on eight picnic blankets, representing eight cities, around the stage. Each blanket seats 16 people, all digitally distanced and environmentally engaged, each person with their own food and food for thought. This is the vision that inspired The Green Rooms Opening Picnic, the launch event for The Green Rooms.

    Featuring keynote speaker Eriel Tchekwie Deranger from Indigenous Climate Action, a performance by circus artist Erin Ball, a live song off of LAL’s brand new album Dark Beings, plus sound compositions from Matt Rogalsky, Debashis Sinha, Jose Rivera, and much much more.

    Participants are asked to join one of eight Zoom calls representing the eight participating cities and invited to co-create the event with us through sounds and visuals. In contrast, viewers who watch the livestream will be spectators of what the participants are creating.

DAY 2: Thursday, June 11, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. (EDT)

  • Climate Despair: Harnessing Grief as an Agent of Transformation

    Speaker: Jennifer Atkinson
    Thursday, June 11, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT)

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    The age of climate crisis is upon us, and emerging research is linking ecological loss to immense emotional and psychological distress. Terms like “eco-grief,” “climate anxiety” and “pre-traumatic stress” have become part of our vocabulary, and mental health experts report I also want to thank our partners - FOLDA, the Canada Council for the Arts, The City of Kingston, The National Theatre School, and HowlRound Theatre Commons - for their support. numbers of people struggling from the dread of anticipated loss or trauma from directly experiencing climate disasters. Meanwhile, frontline communities – particularly poor communities, people of color, and other historically-marginalized groups – are shouldering the brunt of climate disruption and suffering significant mental health impacts. 

    In this talk, Dr. Jennifer Atkinson will discuss the emotional dimensions of our climate crisis and share strategies for confronting grief and anxiety over loss without retreating into despair. Having taught one of the first college seminars on eco-grief in the U.S., Atkinson draws on her experience helping students and activists build the resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions over the long run.

  • How Artists Respond: Climate Crisis

    Speakers: Kendra Fanconi, Anthony Simpson-Pike, Ken Schwartz
    Moderated by Kevin Matthew Wong

    Thursday, June 11, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT)

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    This panel conversation will feature theatre artists from Canada and the UK who have shown a commitment to addressing the climate crisis through their work – questioning their aesthetics and practices to better fight injustices, developing partnerships with scientists and various organizations, engaging with their community in new ways, and demanding systemic change.

  • Leadership and Structures for Change

    Speakers: Emma Stenning, Ravi Jain, Lucy Davies
    Moderated by Brian Quirt

    Thursday, June 11, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. (EDT)

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    This panel conversation asks leaders from Why Not Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre in the UK to reflect on the structural changes that their institutions are undertaking to respond to the climate crisis in all its manifestations. Their insights might help other leaders think about how their organizations can support and promote values that make deep and lasting change possible.

  • Averting Climate Breakdown: Insights from Ecological Economics

    Speaker: Tom Green
    Thursday, June 11, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (EDT)

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    A small but growing group of economists has been warning for over half a century that the way modern society defines and measures economic progress is at odds with biophysical constraints. The more GDP goes up, the better off we are supposed to be. Yet soaring levels of inequality have pushed many into despair and aggravated the pandemic. Humanity urgently needs to bring carbon emissions down to zero, but despite climate agreements and policies, emissions continue to closely track the size of the global economy and the more the economy has grown, the more species we have left behind for eternity.

    Ecological economists, who ground their theories in biophysical realities, offer new ways to understand the economy and wellbeing. In this session, we’ll explore why the economics profession has been so willingly blind to the climate crisis, and how aiming to live within the donut can be good for people and the planet. Ambitious climate action is stalled by those who see a course correction as a threat to economic progress and business interests. How can artists play a role in lifting society’s economic blindfolds and offer glimpses of alternative futures?

  • The Future: What is it?

    Speakers: Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and Jordan Tannahill
    Thursday, June 11, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (EDT)

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    Two of Canada’s finest playwrights and thinkers take to the stage to share experiences of activism and how those intersect with their work. From Extinction Rebellion, queer politics,  anti-racist action to equity, inclusion and diversity work, these late night conversants will be digging deep into possibilities for the future.

  • Dance Like The Earth Is Watching

    DJ Syrus Marcus Ware
    Thursday, June 11, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (EDT)

    Join us for a socially-distanced, emotionally-connected dance party across eight cities and three countries. For 50 sweaty minutes, we’ll turn off our brains and groove to the beat of DJ Syrus Marcus Ware’s music. Dress casual or fabulous. Show us your moves or watch those of others. Let’s give the Earth a big Old Hug.

    Participants are asked to join one of eight Zoom calls representing eight participating cities and will be on the dance floor with us. In contrast, viewers who watch the livestream will be spectators of what the participants are creating.

DAY 3: Friday, June 12, 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT)

  • The Closing Act

    Featuring active participants from 8 cities
    Friday, June 12, 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT)

    The conclusion of The Green Rooms is a co-creation event. Gathering participants from eight cities and three countries, and working with the sounds of Matt Rogalsky and others, we plan to create a 5-7 minute piece inspired by our shared vision of a different world. We will go live at 2:30 pm EDT to share our creation and to close our three days together in style. It’s The Closing Act.

    Participants are asked to join one of eight Zoom calls representing the eight participating cities and invited to co-create the event with us through sounds and visuals. In contrast, viewers who watch the livestream will be spectators of what the participants have created.

How to participate:

The Green Rooms are an online gathering space where we will engage with the climate crisis. There are two ways to get involved:

As an active participant

If you wish to actively participate, experiment and play, send an email expressing your interest to

Please note, there is limited availability for active participants. If interested please be in touch at your earliest convenience:

During the three-day event, active participants will be called upon to help create an environment of curiosity and play. This multi-layered gathering has never been tried. As an active participant you will be part of creating a raucous space that is part-picnic, part-convening and part co-creation.

As a spectator

Spectators can join the livestream throughout the scheduled times above and witness all the sessions, discussions and performances over the three days.

For more information: