A photograph of a puddle on the forest floor. The puddle has several small ripples in it and is filled with brown leaves and pine needles.

Theatre Pedagogy and the Climate Crisis

Thursday June 10, 2021 | 13:30-15:00

Live panel on Zoom; spoken in English. No ASL interpretation or translation will be offered for this event.


Join Now in room C

This proposal is submitted by one of the co-editors of and co-contributors to Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis (Routledge, in production), and on behalf of its Canadian contributors. This volume was written, edited and assembled during the ongoing pandemic, a catastrophe that has temporarily thrown into abeyance awareness of the accelerating climate crisis. But, as the co-editors note in their co-written Introduction, the connection between this pandemic and the climate emergency is that both are functions of the overall environmental crisis, which abides in many human societies’ instrumentalist, deranged, and dysfunctional relationship with the nonhuman. How ought current theatre practice—and the pedagogy that feeds it—respond to this predicament? Theatre has been the most anthropocentric of all the arts, its subject always and continually the human. As Una Chaudhuri has written, the theatre is “the least environmentally aware, most eco-alienated, and nature-aversive of all the arts of the Western world” (Stage Lives… 102). 

How must our teaching practices respond to this Cerberus of existential crises? Contributors include scholars in applied theatre, (Lara Aysal, PhD candidate, UBC; Rachel Rhoades, Brock U; Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta, U Vic), acting pedagogy, (Conrad Alexandrowicz, U Vic; David Fancy, Brock U), and performance studies (Katrina Dunn, U of Manitoba). Conrad Alexandrowicz and David Fancy, co-editors of the volume, would host and co-ordinate the discussion.


Conrad Alexandrowicz, MFA, is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Victoria, where he teaches movement for actors. Over a decades-long career in performance he migrated from dance to theatre and has been a dancer, choreographer, writer of texts for dance, playwright, actor, director and producer. He created over fifty dance- and physical theatre works, many of which were presented across Canada, and internationally. His writing has been published in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Studies in Theatre and Performance and Theatre Topics. His first book, Acting Queer: Gender Dissidence and the Subversion of Realism, was published by Palgrave in February 2020.

Lara Aysal is a climate justice and human rights activist, performance artist and facilitator of community-oriented projects. Her work mainly focuses on migration, ethnic minority conflict and climate crisis. She is one of the co-founders of AA+A Contemporary Performance Research Project and Ray Performance Collective. She gave acting classes at Beykent University. She is interested in the role of theatre to address, organize and take action within climate justice context though decolonizing methodologies. Lara recently completed her artist in residence at Greenpeace Canada and the International Center of Arts for Social Change. She is currently a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC.

Katrina Dunn is assistant professor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media where she teaches in the Theatre Program. Her scholarly work explores the spatial manifestations of theatre as well as ecocritical theatre. Katrina’s long career as a stage director and producer has had considerable impact on the performing arts in western Canada and has been recognized with numerous awards. Malus fusca is a North American species of crabapple tree. The singular tree that contributed to this chapter has its roots in Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

David Fancy is professor and chair in the Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University. He brings his philosophical interest in immanentist thought to performance studies, science and technology studies and critical disability studies. Recent publications include Fancy, David and Hans Skott-Myhre, Eds. Immanence, Politics and the Aesthetic: Thinking Revolt in the 21st Century. McGill-Queens University Press, 2019; and Fancy, David and Lillian Manzour Eds. Teatro de Tres Americas: Antología Norte. Ediciones Sin Paredes, 2020. Fancy has an extensive practice as a playwright, and director of theatre, opera and circus; he is the editor of a website on the subject of actor training and diversities.

Rachel Rhoades currently serves as assistant professor of applied theatre at Brock University. She has worked as an applied theatre practitioner, educator and researcher with young people from Grade 1 to the graduate level for 14 years. Her current community-based research interrogates the potential for ensemble devising to serve as a site for cultural sustainability, social resilience and equitable acculturation with refugee and newcomer adults to the Niagara region in Canada. Her doctoral research examined how racialized, socioeconomically under-resourced secondary school-age youth in Toronto conceptualize their current and future roles within contemporary social movements and the larger political sphere through ethnodrama.