Theatre News

First London Climate Change Festival to be co-produced by Janie Dee in spring 2020

Charing Cross Theatre will play host to the inaugural event that raises awareness around climate change

Janie Dee
Janie Dee
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The first London Climate Change Festival will take place in spring 2020 with Janie Dee starring in the London transfer of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, it has been announced today.

Charing Cross Theatre will host the inaugural showcase of work from the arts, science and business industries to explore ways in which we can live in better harmony with our planet. Proceeds from the events will be split between a range of climate change charities – including City to Sea, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth – as well as go towards further activities for future festivals.

The festival will run alongside the London transfer of Christopher Durang's Tony Award-winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, starring Olivier Award-winner Dee as well as Rebecca Lacey and Michelle Asante. The show will be directed by Tony Award-winner Walter Bobbie and first played in the UK at Theatre Royal Bath's Ustinov Studio in summer 2019.

On Monday and Tuesday evenings, there will be post-show cabaret events in the venue bar, with performers including Angus Barr (23 March), Natalie Fee (24 March), Cantabile (14 April), Joe Stilgoe (28 April), Rob Brydon (5 May), Jay Rayner (4 May), Sumudu (11 May), Guy Barker (12 May), Issy van Randwyck, Giles Terera and Alistair McGowan.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays across the festival, there will also be talks with leading scientists, environmentalists, psychologists and psychotherapists including Bella Lack (30 March), Caroline Hickman from Climate Psychology Alliance, John Sauven from Greenpeace (31 March), Tessa Clarke from Olio (1 and 29 April) and Prof Martin Siegert, Dr Audrey De Nazelle, Dr Ajay Gambhir and Dr Neil Jennings from the Grantham Institute.

During the day, Wild Geese Theatre Company will provide workshops for school groups, encouraging them through games and scenes to write their own one act play on the subject of the planet. The Victoria and Albert Museum has also donated some of their recent FOOD: Bigger than the Plate exhibition – displays providing viewers with key information on climate change and how to individually reverse it.

As one of the festival's producers, Dee comments: "The festival is to inform, inspire and bring hope. We as individuals can make a huge difference if we have help and focus. The Charing Cross Theatre is a perfect intimate venue with its cafe/restaurant, bar and gorgeous theatre – a great place to safely have some possibly difficult, but always fascinating conversations and move forward with knowledge. Together – we're all responsible. Watching my son marching last year through the streets of London shouting 'Save our Planet' was all I needed to want to encourage this."

The London Climate Change Festival will run from 23 March until 16 May. A full schedule of participants will be announced in due course.