Full Details Announced for the Royal Court International Climate Crisis Plays at the Edinburgh International Festival

Published on Fri 9 Aug 2019

The Royal Court Theatre returns to the Edinburgh International Festival for a major new residency that culminates next week with a series of lunchtime performances of new short plays written by some of the most significant international new voices. The five writers from Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Syria will share urgent perspectives from across the world on the global climate crisis through plays specially commissioned to premiere at the Festival. Each performance is open to the public and free to book and will be followed by a short Q&A with the writer. This series has been created in partnership with the British Council.

The International Climate Crisis Residency will take place Tuesday 13 August – Saturday 17 August 2019 each day at 12 noon in the Festival Theatre Studio in Edinburgh.

Writers: Luanda Casella (Brazil), Amy Jeptha (South Africa), Ghiath Mhithawi (Syria), Chen Si’an (China) and Swati Simha (India).

Translators: Victoria Lupton, Stefan Tarnowski and Jeremy Tiang.

Directors: Milli Bhatia, Joe Douglas, Aisha Khan, Sam Pritchard and Bryony Shanahan.

Performers: Hiran Abeysekera, Jeremy Ang Jones, Taj Atwal, Luanda Casella, Amir El-Masry, David K.S.Tse, Rebekah Murrell, Alison O’Donnell, Kwami Odoom and Lara Sawalha.

Each artist’s residency will also involve a visit to another partner organisation across the UK who has supported the development of their work, including further performances of some of the commissioned plays. Alongside the Royal Court (Luanda Casella), these include HighTide Festival (Amy Jephta), Leeds Playhouse (Ghiath Mhithawi), Live Theatre (Si’an Chen) and the Royal Exchange, Manchester (Swati Simha).

During their residency, the writers will also spend time forging new relationships with other international artists in Edinburgh and collaborators from across the UK. Taking part in the You Are Here strand of work, including The Departure Lounge project and the Morning Manifesto series at the Festival.

This project is curated in partnership with and supported by the British Council.


 Tuesday 13 August, 12 noon

Ocean Hotpot (<海水火锅>)
by Chen Si’an
Translated by Jeremy Tiang
Directed by Joe Douglas

An idyllic island in the midst of boiling oceans. Hot enough to cook a hotpot. One maverick entrepreneur sees a development opportunity and begins to devise the most absurd schemes for environmental protection.

Cast: David K.S.Tse, Jeremy Ang Jones.


 Wednesday 14 August, 12 noon

The Abyss
by Ghiath Mhithawi
Translated by Victoria Lupton and Stefan Tarnowski
Directed by Aisha Khan

‘I climbed up quietly, their screams became louder and farther away, I reached the top of the chimney and looked inside the Abyss.’ One conversation around a German dinner table turns to the topic of the climate crisis.

Cast: Lara Sawalha, Amir El-Masry, Alison O’Donnell.


 Thursday 15 August, 12 noon

This Liquid Earth: A Eulogy in Verse
by Amy Jephta
Directed by Milli Bhatia

  1. A global climate-refugee crisis looms. The Southernmost tip of Africa is the last place able to sustain human life. As refugees arrive from Europe and the Americas, two people find themselves on opposite ends of the largest mass migration in history.

Cast: Rebekah Murrell, Kwami Odoom.


 Friday 16 August, 12 noon

Climate Crisis Killjoy Quiz
by Luanda Casella
Directed by Sam Pritchard

What does it mean to kill happiness when we talk about the climate crisis? This ironic and interactive quiz explores the power behind fossil fuel lobbying, governmental policies, regulation acts, climate agreements…and the language that shapes them.

Performed by: Luanda Casella.


 Saturday 17 August, 12 noon

by Swati Simha
Directed by Bryony Shanahan

A theatre director is appointed by the State to create a street play for the local community about energy conservation. But in a town which has only had electricity for a decade, a struggle breaks out over what the message of the play should be.

Cast: Taj Atwal, Hiran Abeysekera.

For the full press release read here.