Newcastle University: A new show about climate change, made by children, for grown-ups

Primary school children are working with Newcastle University climate scientists and engineers, singer-songwriter Katie Doherty and Cap-a-Pie theatre company on a new show about one of the biggest challenges of our time – climate change.

Climate Change Catastrophe! is about what children think about climate change – their hopes, fears and ideas for the future. The result is a journey into the mind of an eight-year-old that will really make you think.

Created in partnership with Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, the show offers inspiring perspectives on climate change from primary school children, with help from climate scientists and engineers, and will be performed by professional actors for an audience of all ages.

Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University, said, “It’s important that we all understand more about the climate change emergency and what we can do about it. It is refreshing to see this through the eyes of children, and to hear about their inventive solutions. We all need to wake up to what our children already know – a climate catastrophe is coming.

“This show effortlessly blends the enthusiasm and unconstrained ideas of youth with the science and engineering needed to build them. Hopefully the next generation will inspire us to reach for Net Zero, to make changes to our lifestyles to benefit us all, and leave a better world for them to inherit.”


Cap-a-Pie Climate Change Catastrophe creative team & Hotspur Primary School
We all need to wake up to what our children already know – a climate catastrophe is coming
Professor Hayley Fowler

One of the biggest issues of our time
Cap-a-Pie has built a reputation for creative collaborations with universities and schools, working with academics and experts alongside their local communities. For Climate Change Catastrophe! the team has worked with hundreds of school children across the North of England – in classrooms before the pandemic, and remotely during lockdown, supporting teachers to deliver home-schooling and creative activities.

Artistic Director Brad McCormick explains: “For some time now, we’ve wanted to do a project around climate change. It’s one of the biggest issues of our time and will affect us all, but it’s the younger generation who will bear the brunt so we felt it would be interesting and useful to get their perspectives and to broaden their understanding of climate science and engineering solutions from people with real expertise. Another reason we wanted to work with school children was to tap into their imagination and sense of logic – their input was invaluable and has really brought the show to life, as well as helping them to learn more about climate change and how they can make a difference.”

Dr Alistair Ford of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering has worked on climate change research for over a decade, particularly looking at how our cities might change to reduce their carbon footprint and make themselves more resilient to extreme weather. Alistair said: “I’m really excited to be working with Cap-a-Pie on this project. It’s completely different to my day job and working with 8- year-olds will be a complete contrast to writing computer models for local and national governments. Thinking about making a complex subject like climate change accessible to school kids is a great experience, making me think differently about the work I do.”

Director Brad McCormick is joined by designer Verity Quinn and lighting designer Dan Saggars who both worked on the Young Vic’s tour of Seiriol Davies’ critically acclaimed show, How To Win Against History. Original music is by award-winning North East singer-songwriter Katie Doherty, who regularly composes for theatre companies including Northern Stage and Open Clasp. The cast are

Hannah Goudie (The Emperor’s New Clothes/Northern Stage & Kitchen Zoo) and Liam Scarth, who works with Mortal Fools and Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company with a guest performance from rapper Kema Kay (I, Daniel Blake).

Climate Change Catastrophe! will be available as a free six part series on YouTube from 12 May 2021. An accompanying education pack and creative activities will also be available. To find out more visit www.cap-a-pie.co.uk/climate-change-catastrophe/

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