Climate change catastrophe! – to be shown at COP-26

Hannah Goudie-Hunter and Liam Scarth in Climate Change Catastrophe!

A new show about climate change, Climate Change Catastrophe, made by children for grown-ups, will be shown at COP26 , the United Nations annual climate change conference being held in Glasgow, UK, on 12 November.

Hundreds of primary school children from across the North of England worked with Newcastle University climate scientists and engineers, and Cap-a-Pie theatre company, to create a show about one of the biggest challenges of our time. Climate Change Catastrophe! tells us what children think about climate change – their hopes, fears and ideas for the future. 

Artistic Director Brad McCormick explains why Cap-a-Pie wanted to make a show about the climate crisis:

“Climate change will affect us all, but it’s the younger generation who will bear the brunt, so we wanted to get children’s perspectives, to tap into their imagination as well as broadening their understanding of climate science and engineering solutions from people with real expertise.”

‘It’s clear from the ongoing Youth Climate Strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg, and the international Youth4Climate Summit taking place in Milan this week, that children and young people care deeply about the climate crisis and want to take action. World leaders will meet in Glasgow to make important decisions about how humanity tackles the climate crisis, so we’re honoured to be able to take the voices of hundreds of school children from across the north of England to COP26, where their ideas will be heard by an international audience and have the potential to make a real difference.”

Created in partnership with Newcastle University’s School of Engineering and with funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Climate Change Catastrophe! offers inspiring perspectives on climate change and is performed by professional actors for an audience of all ages. 

Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University, said:

 “It is refreshing to see the climate change emergency through the eyes of children, and to hear about their inventive solutions. We all need to wake up to what children already know – a climate catastrophe is coming. This show effortlessly blends the enthusiasm and unconstrained ideas of youth with the science and engineering needed to build them. Hopefully the next generation will inspire us to reach for Net Zero, to make changes to our lifestyles to benefit us all, and leave a better world for them to inherit.” 

Cap-a-Pie has built a reputation for creative collaborations with universities and schools, working with academics and experts alongside their local communities. For Climate Change Catastrophe! the team worked with the children – in classrooms before the pandemic, and remotely during lockdown, supporting teachers to deliver homeschooling and creative activities. Alistair Ford of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering has worked on climate change research for over a decade, particularly looking at how our cities might change to reduce their carbon footprint and make themselves more resilient to extreme weather.

Alistair said:

“I was really excited to collaborate with Cap-a-Pie on this project. It’s totally different to my day job and working with 8-year-olds was a complete contrast to writing computer models for local and national governments. Making a complex subject like climate change accessible to school kids was a great experience, making me think differently about the work I do.”

Climate Change Catastrophe! will be screened in the Green Zone at COP26 at 12.30pm on 12 November. Events will be live-streamed on the COP26 YouTube channel. The show is also available to watch as a free six-part online series from 1-21 November 2021, with an accompanying education pack and creative activities.

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