When you get a personal invite to an event from the esteemed Theatre Royal you don’t pass it up — and we certainly didn’t when this one pinged into our inbox last week. A private viewing of a festival of five minute climate-themed plays, performed by Curious State and written by none other than the school children of Waterford…well, let’s just say it was a very easy yes.
All of our Open Call projects are very special to us, but we were particularly excited about The Climate Stage is Yours. After all, the future of the climate is in the hands of our young people — to get to hear their views on it firsthand is both a treat and an education. The sunny October Thursday of the festival came around quickly, and we strolled (very eco-friendly transport choice) across town excitedly to see what Waterpark NS, Scoil Lorcáin, Gaelscoil Phort Láirge and Presentation NS had cooked up for us.
The Crowd Went Wild
We’ve been lucky enough to attend many plays over the years, and we can honestly say we’ve never seen a crowd so excited that they’re cheering for the fire safety announcement. The energy that eight classes of primary school children (each school brought along the class that wrote the plays, and also a buddy class to tag along and watch) bring to a venue is electric. Artist-in-residence Nick Kavanagh must have felt like Harry Styles when he stepped onto the stage and heard the whole theatre erupt and scream his name — if anyone wondered if the kids were interested in the playwriting process, the answer was immediately obvious.
Each school had written two pieces, with support from writers Hannah Carberry and Mary O’Donohue. The plays were performed by Curious State to rapturous applause and peals of laughter from a most appreciative young audience. Any actor would be delighted to take the stage in front of this lively group, who will hopefully be theatre-goers for life.
The Magnificent Plays
The plays were every bit as bonkers and brilliant as you’d expect. We fell in love with characters like Bark the dog, Green Girl and even the grumpy Old Mr Nettles. We joined in on the raucous booing of a certain pesky former US president, taking to the stage cleverly disguised in a false moustache, and heckled a sneaky business man trying to get away with greenwashing. We even developed a strange affection for a walking and talking slice of pizza, such was the quality of the storytelling.
However, when we scraped beyond the entertainment factor we were left feeling one thing — hopeful. It’s clear that the new generation are not only highly educated about the climate crisis, they’re passionate and full of practical ideas of how they can help.
As the young writers filed into the vestibule for an after-show debrief, we slipped away feeling confident that the climate stage is in capable (and hilarious) hands.