Award-winning play tunes iPod Gen to Global Mission


Catholic Mission’s Village Space's Highly Commended Award from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.
Catholic Mission's Dorothy Makasa and Jenny Collins-White with the ARRCC Award.
Catholic Mission’s Village Space performance group has won a prestigious community award for its theatre-in-education play “Climate Change and Poverty”.

The play, which dramatises the challenges of climate change for ordinary people, received the Highly Commended Award from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), a multi-faith environmental network dedicated to raising ecological issues in faith.

Village Space’s “Climate Change and Poverty” relates the true stories of people in disparate part of the world who are joined by the common challenge of climate change. Episodes deal with drought-ravaged Australia, cyclonic flooding in Bangladesh, Inuit people confronting poisoning of the Arctic food chain, rising sea levels in Kiribati and the impact of bio-fuel production on food prices in Brazil and Mexico.

“Village Space is Catholic Mission’s way of bringing global mission issues to young Australians with the immediacy of theatre,” Catholic Mission’s National Education and Advocacy Officer Jenny Collins-White said. “Our plays are designed to make them think of issues that are outside their own experience.”

Past subjects tackled by Village Space have included child soldiers and street kids.

“Climate Change and Poverty” has so far played to audiences of over 12,000 in Queensland, NSW and the ACT. Designed for senior primary and high school students to work within the school curriculum’s Key Learning Areas, the play includes teachers’ notes and includes a debriefing session where the audience can respond to the ethical questions that have been raised in the performance.

“The play is still running because schools keep requesting it,” Jenny Collins-White said. “It is popular because it isn’t passive but engages the audience. It invites participation. It challenges them to act on the issues it raises.”

Jenny said the success of “Climate Change and Poverty” was also due to the artistry of the touring troupe Kinetic Energy under co-directors Graham Jones and Jepke Goudsmit.

“The troupe can transform the familiar classroom or school hall into a labyrinth. It is in this space that the actors take the audience on a journey of self-awareness where they will encounter God and recognise truth.”

“Climate Change and Poverty” will be touring in Queensland in August and western NSW in September. Bookings for Sydney-based performances are available in October and November. The 2011 schedule will be available in July.

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