19th APRIL 2019
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR hashtag #ExtinctionRebellion
NEW – What emergency? https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/the-emergency/
11am TODAY: Extinction Rebellion ‘Day of Love’ at Oxford Circus with special performances from Emma Thompson, Lee Ross and Paapa Essiedu
At 11am today at Oxford Circus, Letters To The Earth will team up with Extinction Rebellion Youth, Emma Thompson, ‘White Gold’ star Lee Ross, BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Paapa Essiedu, and Royal Court Young Agitators for a specially curated performance
Letters To The Earth is the first project of the newly launched Culture Declares Emergency, which brings the arts and cultural community together for an appropriate response to the climate emergency
Letters received include submissions from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, American author Rebecca Solnit, award-winning poet Kate Tempest, British playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters and Nick Drake amongst others
As thousands of rebels continue to hold the streets of London, Extinction Rebellion launches a ‘Day of Love’, with a procession of Youth Strikers marching from the Eros Statue at Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus. They will be joined by actor and writer Emma Thompson, ‘White Gold’ star Lee Ross, and BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Paapa Essiedu.
Together, with Royal Court Young Agitators and activists from Extinction Rebellion, they will present a special performance of Letters To The Earth, a selection of over 1,000 letters written by celebrities, writers and members of the general public in response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency. The event will end with a song specially submitted by Yoko Ono, ‘I Love You, Earth’.
The event will take place at 11am at Oxford Circus followed by interviews with performers, activists and the team behind Letters To The Earth.
The Letters To The Earth text being presented tomorrow is a specially curated piece that was released to the public on Monday 15 April for performance anywhere in the world for 2 weeks, coinciding with the School Strike For Climate and Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion. It includes many of the voices from the hundreds of submissions received.
Within one month, over 1000 Letters were submitted by writers, including Yoko Ono, Nick Drake, Rebecca Solnit and Kate Tempest in response to the current climate and ecological emergency, and were read by the public and performers including Andrew Scott, Alison Steadman, Tamaryn Payne and Alex Lawther, at more than 50 venues worldwide on April 12th and online.
Notable submissions include letters from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, American author and leading feminist thinker Rebecca Solnit, Jackie Morris, writer and illustrator of The Lost Words, award-winning poet Kate Tempest, Director of Julie’s Bicycle Alison Tickell, writers Jay Griffiths, Jo Baker and Rob Cowen, TV Presenter and Vicar of Firle Peter Owen-Jones, award-winning writer, journalist and LGBT activist Matthew Todd and playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters, Nick Drake and Nina Segal.
Cyrus Jarvis, Youth Strike 4 Climate activist says: ‘I think one of the most important things when fighting for change is creativity and becoming the people who create culture rather than consume it. It plays a huge part in changing the tide and has a very powerful impact.’
Daniela Torres Perez, XR Youth Strike 4 Climate activist says: ‘I want to spread awareness of a topic people would consider “controversial”. I speak for my people, for my Amazonian ancestors in Peru and for my brothers and sisters out there struggling to live their day to day because of the greediness and unjustified priorities that have been forced on to us from past generations.’
Paapa Essiedu, actor: ‘In these times of uncertainty and environmental chaos, we need strong and brave artistic voices to be heard to propel us into a more positive and hopeful future. Meaningful action is urgent or we’re heading to catastrophe’
Lee Ross, actor: ‘Humanity is at tipping point. Ideology has betrayed us. So now we need each other more than ever. Extinction Rebellion.’
Kay Michael, one of the Letters to the Earth organisers and director, said, “Letters To The Earth has been about inviting the public to start a process of meaningful engagement with the climate crisis that starts from a personal place, can bring people together in community and that can transform into collective action. Extinction Rebellion’s courageous action this week stems from great love for our planet Earth. There couldn’t be a greater platform to express our Letters To The Earth as part of the demand for change.’
About ‘Letters to the Earth’
We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction event. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. Carbon emissions and temperatures keep rising; ecological collapse has begun.On this course we are likely to see abrupt and irreversible devastation. The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.
Letters to the Earth urged people to write a letter of response to this crisis. These could be a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea was open to interpretation: it could come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation was open to all - to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis. It’s an opportunity to ask how this existential threat affects the way we wish to live our lives and the action we take.
All submitted letters were released for presentation on one day of joint action on Friday 12th April across theatres, arts venues and community spaces. Some venues are opening their doors free of charge to the public, others are live-streaming. High profile readers alongside young people and local communities are involved in the presentation of these letters. Some venues are holding open conversation as part of the day's activity to bring people together in the face of this crisis.
The pieces will then be made rights free and available for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15th – 28th April, coinciding with the International Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate. These pieces could be taken up to be presented and performed globally, when hundreds of thousands of people will be taking to the streets worldwide to demand that governments tell the truth about climate collapse and act accordingly.
Culture Declares Emergency, created by a group of concerned individuals and institutions from the arts and culture sector, launched 3rd April, with more than 190 leading UK arts and culture institutions and individuals having today declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. The first wave of Declarers include some of London’s best known arts and cultural venues including The Royal Court, The Lyric Hammersmith, The Gate Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre as well as actor Tamaryn Payne from Hollyoaks and Peter Kosminsky, director of Wolf Hall and Secret State.
The Royal Court Theatre’s Young Agitators are a group of fifteen 18-25 year olds who are part of the theatre’s programme of work for young people. They participate in a year-long programme that integrates young adults into the heart of the Royal Court; developing deep understanding of the uniqueness of how the theatre works. With the aim to support the development of future theatre makers and provide pathways into the theatre industry. The programme includes; dramaturgical and facilitation training, expertise workshops with industry professionals across all theatre departments, dinners with political activists to discuss and debate issues they want to interrogate, attending rehearsals for Royal Court shows, curating Rapid Responses and supporting the curation of Big Idea events, contributing to post show discussions with playwrights and directors and being mentored by a member of the Royal Court staff team.