Extinction Rebellion brings Ecological and Climate Emergency to Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion brings Ecological and Climate Emergency to Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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  • Extinction Rebellion takes over Summerhall for the entire month of August with performance, visual art, workshops and film screenings 
  • Activist and Extinction Rebellion organiser Sam Knights performs his comedy show ‘Sam Haygarth: Climate Crisis’
  • Extinction Rebellion activists stage 1.5 Degree Live!, a live reading of the IPCC report
  • Earth Ensemble –  a new non-hierarchical collaboration between poets, playwrights, actors, filmmakers, musicians of Extinction Rebellion – also hits the Fringe with an urgent and exciting programme of work focusing on earth’s climate and ecological emergency

Extinction Rebellion activists are taking over the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, with a rolling programme of shows, discussions, and workshops.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland at Summerhall

Extinction Rebellion Scotland have been given a month-long residency at Summerhall, an exhibition space “for personal reflection and collective action”. [1] Organisers have created a packed month of visual art, installation, film, theatre, spoken word, poetry, performance, workshops, talks and more – all engaging with Extinction Rebellion’s demands and how we respond to the global climate and ecological emergency. For the full programme click here.

Highlights include: 

  • a day of workshops and performance from Turner Prize nominee Monster Chetwynd, dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of insects
  • an action planning meeting for local councillors and key figures in architecture and urban planning sectors, led by Scott McAulay, founder of the Anthropocene Architecture School
  • a haunting installation by Gabrielle Gillott, ‘Safe Haven’, which examines prepping logic as an unsustainable and therefore inadequate response to the climate & ecological crisis
  • a line up of performance curated by UNFIX festival, including the piece ‘SEQUEL’, written and performed by Culture Declares Climate Emergency co-founder Kay Michael 
  • performances from Earth Ensemble and from Oceanallover. These and other performances will spill out from the gallery space into Edinburgh, breaking down the fourth wall according to the mantra that ‘in the climate & ecological emergency, no one is a spectator’ 

Sam Haygarth: Climate Crisis

Also at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe is activist Sam Knights, performing under his stage name in Sam Haygarth: Climate Crisis. Sam has been a member of Extinction Rebellion since the declaration of rebellion and was arrested earlier this year for gluing his hand to the doors of a fossil fuel conference in London. In his other life, Sam is the writer of Extinction, a short film starring Emma Thompson, and has appeared in films including Jojo Rabbit directed by Taika Waititi and The French Dispatch directed by Wes Anderson.

Sam says: “We have to dream of utopia. We have to believe in something better. And that’s where comedians, and writers, and actors can step up and speak out. If we are going to get through this together, then we need everybody on our side.”

1.5 Degrees Live!

This festival will also see a full reading of the latest IPCC report. 1.5 Degrees Live! will see more than 100 readers, performers, activists, authors and members of the public reading the latest IPCC report from cover to cover over 5 days from 12-16 August, in a shipping container at the Greenside Venue on Infirmary Street.

Katie Smith, one of the organisers and someone who has gone through the IPCC Report with a fine tooth comb, commented; “We want to have a huge, public conversation about the future we want to live in. We are bringing the IPCC report to the Fringe because it challenges us to take on “rapid and unprecedented societal transformation” by 2030 in the face of “an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet”. This is too big to leave to governments and corporations. This is something for every single one of us to have our say in.”

Organiser Patrick Dunne commented; “Ahead of us we have the biggest creative project of all time….We bring this report to the Edinburgh Festivals to challenge the creative, disruptive and innovative people of the world to help us break free from business as usual and reimagine our future for the better.”

Readers include comedians Alice Fraser, Jay Lafferty, Patrick Harvie MSP, crime author Val McDermid, feminist author Naomi Wolf, Sam Haygarth, Canadian author and journalist Alanna Mitchell and various climate scientists and school strikers. More readers are being confirmed and announced.  To take part, please contact info@1point5degreeslive.org and follow @1point5degrees1 for updates. 

Earth Ensemble

Earth Ensemble are hitting the Edinburgh fringe with an urgent and exciting programme of work focusing Earth’s climate and ecological crisis.The Ensemble is brand new non-hierarchical collaboration between poets, playwrights, actors, filmmakers, musicians out of Extinction Rebellion.

In the evenings from the 12-17 August (not 15), it will take over Summerhall basement with poetry and music and the premieres of no less than six specially commissioned plays. During the day, it will also be spilling out into the streets with guerrilla theatre with the aim of bringing people together to deal with this crisis. This will include pieces in the style of Theatre of the Oppressed developed in Brazil by Augusto Boal in the 1970s, which helped overturn fascist rule by helping audiences to find their own solutions to oppression.

One of the co-creators, writer John Farndon says: “As artists we can have powerful voices, and we felt we have to take an active role. So we formed the Earth Ensemble to create work that addresses the crisis, and  takes it out beyond the conventional venues and into streets and public places. Street theatre, guerrilla performances, invisible theatre – what works!”

The Earth Ensemble’s programme includes •  Theatre of the Oppressed in Summerhall on 12 Aug, and on the Meadows at 1.30 all week • Rage, but Hope, premiere of play about climate activism by award-winning writer Stephanie Martin 8pm 12-16) • Earth Quakes, programme of music, poetry and new shorts by writers such as April de Angelis • Carbon Addicts Anonymous – fun immersive theatre about dealing with your carbon problem.

The Regeneration Game

Collectively created, in-the-moment, utterly interactive, symbolic, rebellious, rite of renewal: if you’re not enjoying the game, find another one! Playful, magical, Extinction Rebellion performance activism workshop hosted by Lucy Hopkins. Performers and non-performers welcome.

Lucy Hopkins says: “All over the planet, for centuries, we have been damaging ourselves and each other by making bad choices, probably because life is hard and complex. Trying to shift damaging dynamics can feel impossible, but it isn’t, and those shifts are happening. Creativity is key to finding new solutions and approaches to living here on this planet together so art, performance and shared expression of all kinds is more important than ever. Games like the Regeneration Game work the muscles of connection and creation and help our minds get more comfortable in the face of the unknown. It’s also ridiculous, brilliant fun. And if the future’s not going to be fun, then what’s the point?”

Lucy Hopkins is an award-winning activist-priestess-clown-witch who has been working with XR in London, Edinburgh and Berlin since October 2018.

The Regeneration Game Workshop will be held 15:40-16:40 August 7th, 17th & 21st in the Magical Spiegelyurt. Full listing here.

For more information about climate activism and the arts industry, do also check out  Culture Declares Emergency


[1] Extinction Rebellion Summerhall Residency information 


Jul 29 / Aug 3 – Tapestry – XR Summerhall Residency

Jul 30 – Rebellious Singers’ Singing Workshop – XR Summerhall Residency

Jul 31 – Rebellious Song Writing Workshop – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 2 – Plastic is Not Fantastic – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 2 / Aug 6 / Aug 7 – Jenny Feather and the Powers That Be – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 3 – Performing Extinction: Meeting Species Through the Human Body.

Aug 4 / 11 – Pochoir Detachment (Jodi Le Bigre) – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 4 – Stand Up Against Extinction – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 6 / 7 – The Truth About Superheroes – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 8 – This Changes Everything – film – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 9 – The Land That Forgot – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 9 – Susana Medina – Dear Angelus Novus – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 9 – Where Does The Wisdom Lie? Kate Clayton- XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 10 – Oceanallover – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 10 – Climate Breakdown Collective Sharing – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 11 – Anthropocene Architecture School – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 12 – Transformations: EARTH ENSEMBLE – Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop with Rebellious Singers

Aug 13 / Aug 14 / Aug 16 / Aug 17 evening – RAGE, BUT HOPE – EARTH ENSEMBLE – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 13 / Aug 14 / Aug 16 / Aug 17 evening – EARTH ENSEMBLE company: Earth Quake – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 13 / Aug 14 / Aug 16 / Aug 17 daytime- EARTH ENSEMBLE company: Earth Quake – out in the streets

Aug 13 / Aug 14 / Aug 16 / Aug 17 evening – CONFESSIONS OF A CARBON ADDICT – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 15 – Deep Wealth of This Nation, Scotland – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 15 – Heading For Extinction Talk – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 18 – Insects Workshops with Monster Chetwynd- XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 18 – Insects Performance – Monster Chetwynd- XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 20 / Aug 21 – Banquet of the Beasts Reading – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 20 – Banquet of the Beasts Workshop – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 21 – Gavin Macgregor – ‘Loch Awe shore’ – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 22 – Take One Action: Fractured Land – film – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 23 / Aug 25- Tell the Truth Workshop – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 23 / Aug 24 – XR in Collaboration with UNFIX – XR Summerhall Residency

Aug 25 – Tamsin Omond – This Bitch Can Heal – XR Summerhall Residency

More about Extinction Rebellion:

Extinction Rebellion’s top-line demands:

  • Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  • The government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • The government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? Extinction Rebellion in Numbers

Read the Extinction Rebellion Handbook: This Is Not A Drill #ThisIsNotADrill

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and non-violent direct action are used to express our collective power.

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