The Earth Turns

The Earth Turns

A new play that dramatizes a series of climate stories written from a unique UK and Egyptian perspective has been accepted into both the Green and Blue Zones of COP27 next month.

The Earth Turns will be performed twice in Sharm El-Sheikh during the global conference as an official ‘side event’, having been selected from more than 800 applications.

Ahead of its staging in the amphitheatre of the conference’s Peace Park on Friday 11 November (Green Zone), and at a time to be confirmed in the UN-managed negotiating space that is the Blue Zone The Earth Turns will make its debut at Cairo’s iconic Falaki Theatre in Tahrir Square and will be live streamed around the world.

The play has been adapted from We Still Have a Chance: 12 Stories for 12 Days of COP27, an anthology of micro-stories produced by a UK-Egyptian collaboration including the University of Exeter, the Met Office, the British Council, and the American University in Cairo.

“We are delighted that The Earth Turns has been chosen to be a part of the programme of events that provides the cultural and creative texture surrounding COP27,” said Cecilia Mañosa Nyblon, project lead in the University’s Department of Innovation, Impact, and Business. “These stories provide a powerful human perspective of climate change, and how it is impacting the lives of people across the Global North and South. They fuse facts, findings, and feelings, and in so doing, we hope they will engage audiences and inspire new ideas, possibilities and energy to take action to protect our precious planet.”

We Still Have a Chance was co-created by more than 150 scientists, health experts, artists, and climate activists from the two countries, brought together by the project partners through a series of virtual writing workshops. Released in a digital and printed anthology, each of the stories has also been narrated and will be made available to download on each day of the conference.

For The Earth Turns, producers at The American University in Cairo selected seven of the stories and adapted them for the stage with local actors and musicians. The 60-minute production, which will be performed at the Falaki Theatre on 2 and 3 November, will invite each member of the audience to bring with them a leaf. This, they say, will act as a ‘mnemonic device’ in conjunction with a series of symbolic props in the individual stories.

“The Earth Turns is a dramatic response to, and interpretation of, these powerful stories,” says creator and director of the show, Adam Marple, Assistant Professor of Directing, in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at The American University in Cairo. “Through the use of these mnemonic devices, we’re hoping that we can implant a seed with our audience – one they take away and reflect upon over time. It’s not about ‘showing’ them the reality of the climate change that we’re experiencing in Egypt and other areas of the world; it’s more powerful and meaningful to let them ‘feel’ the human impact and implications, so that they reach their own conclusions and hopefully inspire change.”

In addition to The Earth Turns, the project has produced a range of creative interpretations of the stories, including a separate dramatic production at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum supported by ESRC Festival of Social Science, and Cygnet Theatre. Animator Jan Kamensky has been commissioned to create two pieces of work, while Egyptian artist and architect Rana Hemdan has created artwork that will become one large scale mural in Alexandria. In addition, two other large-scale murals will be developed as a legacy of the project in Cairo and Exeter, funded by the Knowledge E Foundation.

“We are delighted that the Creative Commission we have supported between the University of Exeter and the American University in Cairo for COP27 has led to this immensely engaging creative work,” said British Council Egypt Director, Elizabeth White. “This immersive experience will bring to the surface people’s deep emotions and feelings about the planet we share and will live with them long after they leave the theatre, with the recording becoming part of the legacy of all the amazing work done in Egypt under our Climate Connection programme around COP27.”

For more information about the project, visit the page on the Green Futures site.