one adult standing on a dock, one child sitting on another doc, back to the camera, looking out at the water on a lake.
Photo courtesy of Vital Matters Facebook page.

Creative Alliance will host a presentation of short plays designed to inform and inspire action around climate change on Dec. 5 as part of a worldwide festival called Climate Change Theater Action (CCTA).

Every two years, 50 playwrights from around the world are commissioned to write the plays, a tradition that began in 2015 with the signing of the Paris agreement and continues today, with Baltimore’s theater and literary community an active participant.

CCTA performances are designed to coincide with the timing of the United Nations COP meeting. This year’s CCTA theme is “All Good Things Must Begin,” inspired by speculative fiction writer Octavia Butler’s journals. The playwrights were asked to draw inspiration from her grit and vision, her invitation to “shape change,” while considering questions about how, given the magnitude of the challenges faced.

Baltimore’s iteration of “All Good Things Must Begin!” is produced by Vital Matters, a collaborative, interdisciplinary, community- and arts-based laboratory for change motivated by the climate crisis. It brings together artists, scientists, educators, and activists to “heal, build community, connect diverse groups of problem solvers, and envision and create a better future for all.”

Vital Matters launched in 2021 with a CCTA event called “Winter Seeds,” which comprised plays, songs, puppets, and more. They’ve also brought free “Whose Earth (Day)?” events to Baltimore’s Ivy Bookshop and collaborated with Blue Water Baltimore in the Global Water Dances project.

 “All Good Things Must Begin!” at Creative Alliance “brings together local theatre artists, activists, and others to read 7 plays from 5 countries that will help us connect the dots between what is happening around climate and environmental justice globally and locally,” reads the press release announcing the event.

  • “Types” by Jessica Huang (US)
  • “Chili Crab Less Spicy” by Dia Hakim K. (Singapore)
  • “Photographic Realism” by Javad Alipoor (Iran/UK)
  • “Bonbibi and Dakshan Ray” by Manjima Chatterjee (India)
  • “The Committee to Expropriate, A Revenge Fantasy” by Darrah Teitel (Canada)
  • “A Little Green” by Charly Evon Simpson (US)
  • “The Polar Bears” by Nicolas Billon (Canada)

“I am thrilled about the incredible artists we are bringing together for this event, and the folks who are joining us as conversation partners, vendors, the organizations that will be tabling. We have hard truths to face as we move deeper into this climate crisis. The gears of change turn slowly on the global stage,” said Michele Minnick, founder of Vital Matters and the event producer.  “We need all of us to shape change in big and small ways to ensure a liveable future. There are incredibly resilient and resourceful people and organizations in Baltimore who have been making a difference in their communities. I am excited to bring them into conversation with these plays, and the audience. The CCTA playwrights offer us the gifts of imagination, humor, anger, and hope, and live theatre brings us together in community to grieve, laugh, process, plan, and move forward with the energy and ideas we get from one another.”

“Local business is inherently tied with climate action through its values of slowness, small-scale resourcing, and relationship building between individuals, with a fundamental belief that stories help orient and catalyze these changes,” said Hannah Fenster, manager of The Ivy Bookshop and collaborator with Vital Matters since 2021. “We’ve loved hearing the ways that Octavia Butler’s writing has guided this year’s CCTA planning, and are pleased to support work that sees her intersectional vision as a pathway through a multidimensional climate crisis.”

“As a sign language interpreter, I forget a lot of the messages I convey when I complete the assignment,” said ASL Interpreter Renuka Purimelta. “When I had the opportunity to provide language access to the Deaf community for Winter Seeds, I was blown away with how much I have learned about climate change! I was moved by theatre’s storytelling ability, and saw how it allowed the audience to share honest care, concerns and opinions while creating empathy and emotion.  I believe we can do better for Mother Earth individually and collectively and that people can learn more through Climate Change Theatre Action than I have seen with politics or in a class!”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, where local vendors will have items for sale and information will be available in the gallery.

The performance begins at 7 p.m. and will be ASL interpreted.

Creative Alliance is a fully accessible facility, and is located at 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD.

Tickets range from $10 – $75, and can be purchased by clicking this link.

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