©2019 Letters To The Earth

PRESS RELEASE - 5th APRIL 2019

 

Download this press release (.docx):

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Email: culturedeclaresmedia@gmail.com

Phone: +44(0)7561098449 / +44(0)7802 865819 / +44(0)7479234522

website: www.letterstotheearth.com

Twitter: twitter.com/CultureDeclares; #LetterstotheEarth #CultureDeclaresEmergency

Photos/videos:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1kM9iUomref74GWrkeyTSpwQnu0GqFMGx

Highlights video of Alex Lawther:

https://youtu.be/4Kyy8opvmr8

Highlights behind the scenes video available of Alex Lawther rehearsing reading letter written by the son of award-winning playwright Simon Stephens, where he addresses his father about the climate and ecological emergency

‘End of the F**king World’ star Alex Lawther reads one of 1,000 Letters To The Earth being presented at 50 global arts venues on Friday 12 April

 

  • More than 50 theatres, arts venues and community spaces across the world, including the Liverpool Everyman, Bath’s Walcot Chapel, Aberdeen Performing Arts in the UK, to venues in Zambia and Canada, Latvia and New Zealand, will host readings of the Letters to the Earth as part of a day of action on Friday 12 April

  • An astounding 1,000 Letters were received from the public as part of the call to respond to the climate and ecological crisis

  • Behind the scenes highlight video of ‘End of the F**king World’ star released today with Alex Lawther rehearsing reading letter written by the son of  award-winning playwright Simon Stephens, where he addresses his father about the climate and ecological emergency

  • Letters received include from American author Rebecca Solnit, award-winning poet Kate Tempest, British playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters and Nick Drake amongst others

  • 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

  • Day of action coincides with the Global Youth Strike for Climate, and is part of the lead up to Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion which begins Monday 15 April

 

At the end of February a call was put to the British public for a cultural response to the climate and ecological crisis. Within weeks, more than 1,000 Letters to the Earth had been submitted - from 4 year olds to great grandparents - from every corner of the world and from all walks of life.

 

Next Friday 12 April, following the launch of Culture Declares Emergency, 50 arts venues [1 - full list below], theatres and community spaces across the world, from Zambia to Canada, from Latvia to New Zealand, will host readings of these Letters to the Earth, to coincide with the Global Youth Strike for Climate and as part of the lead up to Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion which begins Monday 15 April. 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.

 

Alex Lawther - ‘End of the F*cking World’

Today a video featuring actor Alex Lawther (Netflix/Channel 4 ‘End of the F*cking World) is being released to highlight the power of the Letters that have been received, the Letter he reads is by the son of award-winning playwright Simon Stephens about the future that the older generation have left for the children of today. Lawther’s video of Stephen’s letter will be made public on 12 April alongside the hundreds of other voices who penned their letters in response to the current climate and ecological emergency.  

 

Simon Stephens said: “There is no greater threat to my children and to the future of this country than the catastrophic instability of our ecology. I wanted to take part in the Letters To The Earth event because I think story tellers can change the way people think about their world. I wanted to help make people aware of how fragile our planet is. But I didn’t want to hector them or browbeat or congratulate them for coming to a theatrical event about ecological stability. What right do I as a middle aged man have to patronise theatre audiences with ideas they already know about?

So I had an idea. I asked my son to write a letter to me telling me about his ideas about my responsibility for what is about to happen to our planet. And he did. It is one of the most important artistic decisions I have made. He wrote a letter that startles me to my core. I urge you to read it.”

 

Notable submissions

Other notable submissions include letters from 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.

 

Venues will also be hosting post-show conversations and activities to generate discussion that can drive further action. Theatre 503 will be hosting a conversation with environmental activists and climate scientists; young actors from Young Everyman Playhouse company will be performing and running an event at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse; and National Theatre Wales will be inviting their local Welsh community to write responses together on the day too.

 

Letters to the Earth [2] is organised by members of the creative industries - including actors, directors and novelists. It is the first event of a wider campaign, Culture Declares Emergency,[3] which calls on culture to do its part to tell the truth about the climate and ecological crisis and take necessary action.

 

The submitted letters will be made public for two weeks from the 15-28th April to be performed by anyone anywhere in the world during Extinction Rebellion’s, International Rebellion Week. [4]

 

Quotes

 

Alex Lawther - ‘Jo [McInnes; Letters To The Earth team and director] called me. She said they had sent out a call and it had been answered by nurses, by poets, by grandmas, by nine year olds, they had all written letters. Art has to be part of a conversation with the rest of the world and right now our planet is dying. She asked me to read Oscar’s letter, and so I said yes.’

 

Edward Nelson, Letters To The Earth team and actor - “We want to provide people an increased understanding of what the current state of planetary crisis is, the desire to learn more about it and a sense of empowerment to take relevant action in their local community.”

 

Anna Hope, Letters to the Earth team and novelist - “The letters have moved, humbled and inspired us by their number, their depth of feeling, and their call to action. They do not shy away from the terrifying scale of the threat we all face, and offer no easy answers, but there is soul medicine in their words. We believe they constitute the largest creative response to the climate crisis the world has yet seen.”

 

Alice Malin, Letters To The Earth team and director - “Reading responses to the climate crisis from children all over the country, I was overwhelmed by how articulate, passionate and wise so many of those letters were. Most of all, I was struck by their bravery. As these letters attest, a generation of children is bearing the emotional load of bearing witness to, and leading the fight against, climate change. This should not be their burden. In granting us the privilege of reading their letters, I hope the young people of today grant us all a share of their courage in facing the truth.”

 

Kay Michael, Letters To The Earth team and director - “In putting this story front and centre and making space for this emergency we have the ability to shift the global narrative and generate the necessary political will to act. The time for action is now.”

 

Coming up:

 

  • 15 AprilInternational Rebellion – Global. Extinction Rebellion activists in the UK and around the world are calling for a full-scale international rebellion: to demand decisive action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world. Come to stay and book time off work.

 

Lines from letters:

 

‘You used to be all beautiful, clear skies and growing trees. A happy place to be. But we have made your skies dirty and smoky and chopped down the trees…. I may be only 12 years old but I care and you should too’

 

‘Please, on behalf of all of those with no voice, use yours to bring change, so we may all have a future.’

 

‘I am every river, every flower, every wave, every stone and they are me, the hunted and the hunter.’

 

‘Why should we care? My dad said that we should worry about our own life, not the rest of the world. It won't affect us. But I disagree with that because in the year 2050 the world will be completely different, in a bad way.’

 

‘You realise, that your mother could die/and you know, you know you’ll do anything’

 

‘We are tiny. We watch parliament cut itself to pieces. We watch the cars belt past our house, planes tear across the sky. We feed the bees. And we are afraid.’

 

Notes for Editors:

 

[1] The 50 Venues hosting presentations of Letters To The Earth throughout the day on Friday 12 April are:

 

Aberdeen Performing Arts

Angora Poets, Paris

Arcola Theatre, London

Arts Admin, London

As It Is Theatre Company

Ashburton Arts Centre

Auburn University, Alabama USA

Baltic Climate Chain, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia

Battersea Arts Centre, London

Bunker Theatre, London

Cambridge Junction

Canada, via Zoom, hosted by Pegi Eyers in Otonabee Ontario

Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales

Centre for Contemporary Art and The Natural World, Dartington

FarnhamLoveYogaStudio

Fruits and Roots, Johannesburg, South Africa

Hallowell, Maine USA

Kaleider, Exeter

Kanyama compound, Mumbwa road, Zambia

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Lucit, Pretoria, South Africa

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London

Metal Culture, Liverpool

Metal, South End

Museum of Liverpool

National Theatre Wales

North Wall, Oxford

Northwich Town Centre

ONCA Gallery, Brighton

Paddington Conservative Club, London

Pleasance Theatre London

Queen's Gardens, Nelson, New Zealand

Royal Court Theatre, London

Royal Exchange and Take Back Theatre, Manchester

Shakespeare's Globe, London

Shop Front Margate

St Augustines Parish Centre, Darlington

The Blue House, Mullumbimby, Australia

The Gate Theatre, London

The George Inn, Newnham

The Space, Isle of Dogs, London

Theatre 503, London

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Trowbridge Town Hall

Ukranian Club, Huddersfield

Unit Four: The Cornucopia Room, Hawick Scottish Borders

University of St Andrews

UpStage (online platform)

Walcot Chapel, Bath

Young Vic Theatre, London


 

[2] 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 will be 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.

 

[3] About Culture Declares Emergency

 

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.

 

[4] About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

 

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by its Government.

 

Extinction Rebellion’s topline demands:

  • The Government must admit the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse all policies inconsistent with addressing climate change, and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens

  • The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels

  • A national Citizen’s Assembly must be created, to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

 

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

The Extinction Rebellion Climate Factsheet for Rebels

https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/

 

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events

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4th APRIL 2019
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20th March 2019
 

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