Douglas College tackles climate change in new theatre production

Light the Way, a collection of seven short plays, is onstage to November 20 as part of Climate Change Theatre Action 2021

Audiences will take the reins on fighting climate change in the new Douglas College production, Light The Way. It's onstage to November 20 in New West | pcess609/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Audiences will take the reins on fighting climate change in Douglas College’s unconventional production of Light the Way – but you'll have to attend to find out how.

Light the Way is presented by the college's department of theatre and the department of stagecraft and event technology. Running to November 20, it's a collection of seven short plays that address the political, social and scientific factors affecting climate change.

Featuring Indigenous, LGBTQIA2S+ and international voices, the production’s playwrights include Keith Barker, Caity-Shea Violette, Faezeh Jalali, Elena Eli Belyea, Dylan Van Den Berg, Wren Brian and Jessica Huang.

While each play explores different facets of climate change, Light the Way’s overarching theme is that the climate crisis is a global issue, faced by communities everywhere.

To illustrate this point, the director, Deborah Neville, hinted that the play will feature a “non-traditional audience experience" meant to evoke a sense of togetherness among patrons. Neville also said the circle, as a symbol of shared consequences and united movement, will come into play.

“There is a flow and movement that a circle creates. Within a circle, any action affects everyone and everything, as if we are a single entity,” said Neville. “And if we’re to respond to climate change, it must be done as a collective.”

Light the Way is part of Climate Change Theatre Action 2021: Envisioning a Global Green New Deal. CCTA 2021 is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays that use stories to bring communities together and encourage them to respond to climate change. It coincides with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), a summit where countries meet to work toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

With COP26 concluding in Glasgow on Nov. 12, just before Light the Way begins, Neville believes the production is both urgent and socially relevant.   

“Our hope is to pull these issues open, lay out the stories and queries posed in the texts, join together with our audience and look at what comes next. In doing so, we ask ourselves in what ways we can plan and act as we continue into what may be the biggest global issue of our time,” said Neville.

Two of the performances will feature an extended talkback with the cast, crew and guests from Douglas College and the David Suzuki Foundation. Audiences are invited to join the talkback and explore the climate challenges we face as a global community.  

“We have a shared responsibility to respond to those dangers through collective action,” Neville said.

The cast includes Angel Amparo, Evann Hutton, Sophie Mildiner, Sophie Offei, Brenda Polidorio, Emily Wilkinson and guest actor Kayla Krishna. 

Performances take place at the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New Westminster campus, 700 Royal Ave. on November 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. Talkbacks will take place after the evening show November 19. There will also be a matinee November 20 at  2 p.m. 

In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, attendees will need to wear a mask as well as present both proof of vaccination and ID.