For all of the political, economic, and technological obstacles that stand in the way of addressing climate change, perhaps the greatest challenge is in the realm of imagination. Can we envision a better world? What might an equitable, sustainable, decarbonized, and just society look like? What if the concept of a Green New Deal—the initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while addressing interwoven social problems like economic inequality and racial injustice—could become reality?
The Future Is Not Fixed presents a dazzling variety of answers to these questions in the form of fifty plays—from writers representing all inhabited continents—commissioned for Climate Change Theatre Action 2021, a global participatory theatre festival that brings communities together around climate issues. The pieces gathered here feature a wide range of styles and perspectives, from realist dramas to experimental works, encompassing the dangers that we face as well as ecstatic possibilities for a renewed social contract. With contributions suitable for both conventional and nonstandard theatrical settings, these plays can be performed in intimate readings, staged productions with extensive sets and props, and everything in between. Climate Change Theatre Action plays have been performed on street corners, at the foot of glaciers, in churches, schools, libraries, backyards, community centers, and bars. They have been enjoyed by audiences as diverse as water treatment workers in Montana; homeless youth in London; refugees in Denmark; children in New York City, Iran, and Nigeria; faith communities in Florida and Washington State; unsuspecting passersby in Brazil and New Zealand; and students in every corner of the world. Regardless of style, audience, or venue, each play offers a bracing, affecting vision of how we might come together to face the challenge of global climate change.
Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator. In her capacity as artistic director of the Arts & Climate Initiative, she has been instrumental in helping theatrical and educational communities, as well as diverse audiences in the United States and abroad, to engage in climate action through programming that includes live performances, talks, publications, workshops, and national and international artist gatherings. In 2019, she was named one of "8 Trailblazers Who Are Changing the Climate Conversation" by Audubon Magazine.