A new RADICAL production aimed at creating food activists is due to be staged at the World Climate Summit in Glasgow this year.
It was created with help from NASA, a Game of Thrones linguist, the UN, a Grammy-nominated musician, and a leading food sustainability campaign group, as well as ‘an award-winning Scottish dance company.
WeCameToDance has already caused a stir at the Edinburgh Fringe where it is taking place until the end of this week, enlisting Scots in the fight against climate change.
This is the brainchild of Food Tank, a nonprofit organization founded in the United States to highlight environmentally, socially and economically sustainable ways to reduce hunger, obesity and poverty.
They work with Nourish Scotland to make sure the show has a legacy, with audiences given a
five point plan to help change consumer behavior. They are also encouraged to sign Nourish Scotland’s petition to the Scottish government to change food policy.
The production will be staged during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to create a different way to engage people in the climate campaign because, despite the serious message, the goal is to entertain audiences.
Originally slated to debut last June after sold-out workshops with rave reviews in New York City, the show was postponed and it was decided to perform at the Fringe in August to bolster local engagement in the run-up to the COP26 in November in Glasgow.
The UN was invited as a partner and Food Tank took a creative – and environmentally friendly – approach to putting on a side show from America, recruiting local producers and actors to present the spectacle. The UN partners of the show are the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program-USA (WFP). “They help us promote the show to make sure it is seen by a wide range of society and they are also planning summits and activities to increase it,” said Bernard Pollack, co-founder of Food Tank.
It is one of only two musicals that aired throughout Fringe month and the story is based on an actual exoplanet called Trappist 1d, which is the closest planet “Goldilocks” to Earth, which means that it is considered habitable for humans. After the show, audiences have the chance to sample foods that could be grown on the planet, presented by Edinburgh Social and Forage Foods.
WeCameToDance tells the story of alien life arriving on Earth to warn its inhabitants of a climate crisis that their own planet has experienced. Created in partnership with Dr. Steve Howell of the Nasa Ames Research Center, they sing in a language created by renowned linguist David Peterson, who developed Valyrian and Dothraki for HBO’s Game of Thrones.
The music is created by Ghanaian Grammy-nominated artist Rocky Dawuni and audiences participate in a synchronized dance originally designed in New York City by Mary Page Nance of Broadway’s Finding Neverland and choreographed and conducted for local production in Scotland by Ashley Jack and Becky. Enoch from House of Jack Studio in Leith.
“They gave us complete autonomy to play with and the green light to put our own style into it. It’s great to have this freedom, ”said Jack.
By coincidence, Enoch’s previous work was on exoplanets and she was able to put her knowledge to good use in production.
She said the show had a serious message but was “cheerful and uplifting” so it didn’t feel like it was being imposed on the audience.
In the story, Trappist 1d goes through a climate crisis and the rich leave for another planet.
“We don’t mean what rich people on Earth are doing this, but we created this parallel on purpose,” Pollack said. “Our Earth is all we have and there is no option for most of us right now. We have to save this one.
Food Tank co-founder Danielle Nierenberg added, “We really want this to be a way to bring people together to create a different kind of social movement that focuses on joy and play and makes people want to go. ‘be part of it. The serious side of this is a call to action because as COP26 takes place in Scotland we have a real opportunity to address these issues. We must act now. ”
More information and tickets can be found here: www.eventbrite.com/e/wecametodance-at-the-2021-edinburgh-festival-fringe-tickets-163701001101