Ballet dancers to ‘perform hope’ during London Climate Action Week

Performing Hope performance at Davos

The first 'Performing Hope' event at Davos. Credit: Edward Henderson

A beach overlooking Tower Bridge will be the stage for a ballet billed as a performance of hope during London Climate Action Week.

The special performance on Bermondsey Beach on the banks of the River Thames is part of a Climate Basecamp campaign that urges everyone to ‘perform hope’ to help address the climate crisis.

‘Performing Hope for Nature and Climate in the City’ will feature some of the UK’s top young ballet dancers, all students at the Central School of Ballet, and will serve as a reminder that hope requires us all to perform individual acts to address the climate crisis.

“Amidst the escalating climate crisis marked by record-breaking temperatures and increasing extreme weather events, it is natural to feel overwhelmed, but hope remains a powerful force, deeply embedded in human existence,” said Gail Whiteman, Co-Founder of Climate Basecamp and Professor of Sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School.

“But hope must be coupled with decisive action, and recognizing that hope is not passive but rather a call to proactive engagement, we advocate for the concept of ‘performing hope’ – the conscious choice to take daily actions that contribute to addressing the climate crisis.”

Bermondsey Beach in London. Credit: Creative Commons

The grace and energy of the 18 dancers will contrast with the murky waters of the Thames and London skyline, reminding us that nature performs hope every day whether we notice it or not, and that by performing hope for nature we recognize and honour this essential feature of the ecosystems that surround us. 

The optimistic message during a week of climate action in the capital is the latest instalment in Climate Basecamp’s ‘Performing Hope’ campaign, a call to action with the performing arts sector to help us face the emotional truth of the nature and climate crisis and find the catharsis that will reduce anxiety and give hope to continue the work needed to scale up climate action.

“This collaboration with Climate Basecamp during London Climate Action Week enables us to bring together some of London’s best young dancers to perform for nature along the Thames.  With a great choreographer and composer on board for this audacious idea, to fight climate apathy by actively performing hope, we are able to bring energy, youth, and beauty to Performing Hope for Nature and Climate in the City,” said Louise Bennett, Creative Producer for the performance.

Performing Hope launched at Davos this year with a cello and ballet recital on top of the Schatzalp Mountain – a performance that paid tribute to the climate challenges facing the world’s glaciers.

This performance of hope will underscore the importance of youth voices, with the dancers all students whose futures will be directly impacted by the actions taken now to tackle the climate emergency.

Climate Basecamp is a non-profit organisation that makes conversations about the climate crisis more relevant to the public through five pillars of culture: food, entertainment, sports, fashion and music.

It was co-founded by Professor Whiteman alongside the American actor Rainn Wilson and comedy writer and producer Chuck Tatham and is the sister organisation of climate communications platform Arctic Basecamp.

“Our approach, grounded in informed optimism and scientific understanding, empowers individuals, organizations, and communities to generate the collective energy needed to drive meaningful change towards a sustainable future,” said Professor Whiteman, a social scientist whose academic work centres on how decision-makers can make sense of systemic global risks from climate change and other environmental threats.

‘Performing Hope for Nature and Climate in the City’ will take place on Bermondsey Beach at 1-3pm (London time), 26 June 2024.