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Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

By Cymbeline Anthropocene on Dec 22, 2022 at 06:00 PM in Project News

As our final blog post, before this website is archived, Cymbeline Anthropocene presents the text of "Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project," a talk by Randall Martin outlining the past three and a half years of this very project. Presented at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2022, the talk is presented here in full transcript, accompanied by presentation slides. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

The project: 

Cymbeline the Anthropocene is an international research-in-performance project which brings together seven theatre companies and environmentally committed productions from four continents. It is the first collective effort to present Shakespeare’s ecological insights to audiences beyond academia or the Anglosphere. Each contributing company has created site-specific and environmentally adapted performances of Shakespeare’s late tragi-comic romance. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Generously supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Cymbeline in the Anthropocene’s main research goal has been to build an open-access archive documenting the artistic creations and ecological discoveries of participating companies. At the same time, these contributions have fostered understanding of the era’s impacts across global borders. Our research dissemination continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, even though theatres world-wide were forced to suspend live performances at various points in 2020-21. Originally we started with ten participating companies. But sadly, we lost five of them, including all three non-English-speaking productions from Asia and Georgia. But along the way we picked up two to cross the finish line this past summer with seven.  

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

In weekly blogs since January 2020, the project website has established a pioneering and, we hope, inspiring, record of ecotheatrical practice and public humanities outreach. We have tracked theatre-makers’ script and screenplay innovations, as well as their production of stage properties and soundscapes. Our website manager and researcher, Dr. Rebecca Salazar, and I have interviewed collaborating directors and performers to learn about their adaptations of Cymbeline to local Anthropocene conditions, such as the smoky skies from wildfires that now pose health risks to outdoor performers and spectators in western North American, Australia, and elsewhere. We have also gathered audience comments about the shows, although, disappointingly, pandemic restrictions greatly reduced this anticipated fieldwork. 

In today’s talk I’m going to outline how the Cymbeline project has aspired to emancipate the Anthropocene in two broad ways:

First, it seeks to awaken awareness of the urgency of freeing the non-human world from oppression by relentless human extraction, commodification, and servitude. The project’s language and ideas towards this goal intentionally promote solidarity with historical and continuing struggles for decolonization, racial and intersectional, animal rights, and conservation of bio-diversity during the currently unfolding sixth mass extinction. 

Second, to achieve these ends, we need to liberate ourselves from traditional mythologies and cultural narratives of human exceptionalism. These include socially constructed entitlements to subdue nature with the utilitarian genius of modern technology. In short, and in existential terms, we need to start freeing ourselves from false idols to practise radical new approaches to being and belonging in the world. 

Why ecotheatre? 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Every day brings new confirmation that we are living in an era of massive, human-aggravated ruptures and calamities. These are legacies of the now globalized economics of maximal resource exploitation and endless financial growth first established by European imperialism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.   

That complacent greed has now monstered into climate and sea-level crises on hugely distributed scales that are difficult for people not yet severely affected to comprehend. They also bedevil mitigating ways towards a liveable future. Underlying our acculturated worship of capital accumulation and GDP lie older Western mythologies asserting that human beings are separate from and superior to all other animals, and that the earth was created primarily for our gratification.    

Yet as the revolutions in gender and sexuality of the past eighty years have shown, the seemingly eternal verities of Western thought – such as patriarchal and racial hierarchies – have been dismantled by cultural critique and political pressure to change our ethical and legal norms. Similarly, ecological world-views are beginning to be shifted in the light of Anthropocene dangers not just by scientific research and pale-green energy policies, but by telling new stories about the animals we are, and what our well-being on earth depends on to survive, to change personal attitudes and behaviours. 

Stage drama is form of story-telling that can produce subjective changes in our lives by revaluing seemingly normative relationships. Live performance has the added benefit of reaching beyond words to communicate sensory and affective experiences which can destabilize socially naturalized assumptions. In ecologically inflected performances, and especially outdoor ones open to unscripted improvisation, the charismatic power of personally embodied story-telling invites us to see ourselves as creatures physically, mentally, and emotionally connected to the full-spectrum lives of other beings.  Rediscovering these connections is an essential motivator of changes in attitude and behaviour. As foundational conservationist Aldo Leopold observed, 

"no important change in [environmental] ethics was ever accomplished without an internal change in our intellectual emphasis, loyalties, affections, and convictions."

Re-feeling as well as re-imagining new ways into kinship, empathy, and reciprocity with non-human nature are the primary goals of ecotheatre, and primary pathway to dismantling the Anthropocene. And Shakespeare is a powerful vehicle for making this happen.   

Why ecoShakespeare?

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

For although his canonical status today is contested, and his work has been used as a tool of European colonialism, Shakespeare also continues to be translated into dozens of global languages and stage-traditions far distant from his early modern English ones. World-wide familiarity and transcultural malleability make Shakespeare’s works well-suited for ecodramaturgical innovation. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Theatre scholar Theresa M. May originally defined ecodramaturgy as three different forms of engagement: 

  1. Lived experiences of local communities onstage and offstage in theatrical practice, and invitations to people historically excluded from dominantly white and economically privileged theatre-making and spectatorship.    
  2. Materially sustainable modes of theatre production and performance.
  3. Relating environmentally composed or adapted drama to present-day and site-specific contexts of “the community it serves, and the politics into which it speaks.”

(“Tú eres mi otro yo – Staying with the Trouble: Ecodramaturgy and the AnthropoScene,” The Journal of American Drama and Theatre 29.2 (2017), 1-18, citation 13 n. 2. )

I would add a fourth principle to these three: ecodramaturgy also accounts for the interests of non-human bio-communities and earth-systems. Foregrounding our co-evolved relations with other planetary lifeforms disrupts the theatrical presentation of stories and lives according to the sentimental aesthetics of genre, whether charming or forbidding (think: “forest of Arden” or “the heath”). It also expands the mental horizons of what environmental philosopher Todd Dufresne calls “differential consciousness.” 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

This means recognizing our capacity for both suffering and flourishing as a species like any other. Respect for the pluralized unity of life also works to counter what Dufresne calls modernity’s “globalization of indifference” towards nonhuman nature. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Thinking differentially yet empathetically, in Dufresne’s terms, encourages us to treat entire ecosystems and their inhabitants, such as the Whanganui River watershed in New Zealand, or Mutuhekau Shipu, also known as Magpie River, in Quebec, as legal persons equally deserving of rights to protection and care. And it opens imaginative pathways into ontological and epistemological emancipation of exclusively human-centric social relations. 

Shakespeare, as we know, paid unusually close attention to both human and more-than-human subjective relations with nature’s gifts and sorrows. When Richard II, Juliet, King Lear, Cleopatra, and others are feeling elated or miserable, they take the measure of their feelings by comparing them to nettles, stars, storms, blow-flies and other natural phenomena, whose agencies exceed anthropomorphic reduction. Let’s revisit three notable examples of shared creaturely personhood in Shakespeare before I move on to discuss some of Cymbeline in the Anthropocene’s breakthroughs in ecodramaturgical engagement with the more-than-human world.   

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

In Macbeth, when Ross brings Macduff the devastating news of Macbeth’s slaughter of his wife and children, MacDuff asks him, incredulously: 

What, all my pretty chickens and their dam 
At one fell swoop? 

Immediately Malcom urges him to take revenge “like a man.” But MacDuff checks him: 

I shall do so: 
But I must also feel it like a man.             
(Macbeth 4.3.218-21)

In this famously humanizing moment, Macduff refuses to separate his suffering from that of the imagined hen and her chicks. For him, they are on the same personally traumatic continuum of pain and grief. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

An equally poignant but less famous moment (unforgettable in David Oyelowo’s 2001 RSC performance) occurs in the play now known as Henry VI Part Two. There King Henry compares the trumped-up arrest of Duke Humphrey to the distress of a calf taken away by a butcher, who 

… binds the wretch, and beats it when it strains, 
Bearing it to the bloody slaughterhouse … 
And as the dam runs lowing up and down, 
Looking the way her harmless young one went, 
And can do naught but wail her darling’s loss, 
Even so myself bewails good Gloucester’s case  
With sad unhelpful tears, and with dimmed eyes 
Look after him….
(Henry VI Part Two 3.1. 211-19)

Henry insists his pain is identical -- as a sentient mortal being – to the feelings of a brutalized calf and its agonized mother. His empathy dissolves species barriers and hierarchies, calls out “differential consciousness,” and insists we are humanely implicated in a routine process of killing for food and can deal with animals better.  

To return to Macbeth for a final example: in the last act when Malcolm’s army marches on Dunsinane Castle to overthrow the tyrant, his soldiers camouflage themselves by cutting hundreds of boughs from the trees of Birnam Wood to serve as screens. After they reach the walls, Malcolm commands his soldiers to throw the boughs away. Is this a cost of war, or an unconscious ecophobic reflex (as Simon Estok would put it). Or is it emblematic of an Anthropocene mentality? Further: What was the afterlife of those branches? Or, in the case of Roman Polanski’s now classic 1971 film, of young trees chopped by the hundreds? What happened to them? Were they chalked up as cost of making great art? However the boughs were represented on the early modern stage, these were not far-fetched questions for original London audiences. They were freezing in the mixed-up seasons of the Little Ice Age while confronting a 400% rise in the cost of wood fuel over Shakespeare’s lifetime.  

Ecodramaturgy in action/Activism in ecodramaturgy 

I want now to talk about how our participating directors and companies put the four principles of ecodramaturgy I’ve outlined into contemporary practice. Not every show tried to embody all four principles, of course, though some managed to do that and much more. I should also mention that the project did not direct them to follow May’s criteria or mine. I encouraged each director to adapt Cymbeline as their local environments, political commitments, and community relations guided them. I’ll focus their outcomes selectively through five thematic lenses: 

1)    Land Uses and Abuses, including violence caused by climate change       
2)    Getting Physical with the Anthropocene 
3)    Ecofeminist adaptation 
4)    Decolonization and Indigenous Ecologies 
5)    Levelling up eco-Shakespeare 

I’ll illustrate these themes with selective thumbnail sketches of our shows. 

1) Land uses and abuses 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Director and Shakespeare Institute graduate Rob Conkie’s antipodean Cymbeline resituated acts three to five in the context of recent Australian bushfires. It might be called “Cymbeline in the Firescene.” The king’s refusal to pay tribute to Rome became government cuts to investments in tree and fire management. Caius Lucius appeared as a park ranger appealing for govt support but rejected by king Cymbeline. Afterwards, a fierce “war” of firefighting scenes broke out featuring citizens wearing fire suits, helmets and replica equipment constructed from recycled materials. The firefighters were aided by Belarius and the two “lost” princes appearing as 1950s-era bushmen, with Posthumus fighting alongside them. In the last scene, Posthumus, Giacomo and others suffering from smoke inhalation were treated in an evacuation station. Pisanio read out a roll-call of survivors while her assistant handed out food tokens to members of the audience. The somber atmosphere transformed the play’s often ridiculed final revelations into serious Anthropocene tragi-comedy. Innogen’s reconciliation with Posthumus was hesitant and provisional. But a thunderclap of rain following Cymbeline’s closing line about the “harmony of this peace” shifted the play into a meta-realm of future nature-human collaboration. Rob is currently remediating the video of his production in comic book form, and it will posted on our YouYube channel soon.    

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

The spectacular Shakespeare in Yosemite feature film, Imogen in the Wild, artfully crafted Shakespeare’s play as an Anthropocene parable. To do so, UC Merced co-directors Katie Brokaw, Paul Prescott (both Shakespeare Institute graduates) and William Wolfgang worked alongside student actors and film-makers and partnered with Yosemite Park rangers. Like the La Trobe production, Imogen in the Wild remapped Cymbeline’s British-Roman war onto contemporary conflict between conservationists defending “The Wild” and corporate city developers pushing “The Deal.” Early on the film’s narrator tells us this is also a story about The City remembering its dependency on wilderness for its health and prosperity. Struggles for bio-equity play out on personal levels as disconnection from, and regeneration through, immersive contact with nature.

Leo (aka Posthumus) begins as an orphan of the Anthropocene. In his backstory we learn that his Latinx father died from working in the poisonous conditions of Central Valley agribusiness, while his mother died in a climate-change-intensified Californian wildfire. Later banished to The Wild by Cymbeline for secretly marrying Imogen, Leo overhears two Rangers talking about the discovery of a headless body, assumes it is Imogen’s, and vows to redeem her memory by supporting protesters against The Deal.

Imogen is also orphaned to the refuge of The Wild (aka Yosemite) after escaping her father’s house arrest with help of her loyal friend Pisanio. There she is welcomed by back-to-nature types Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus. After her frightful encounter with Cloten’s headless body, Park Rangers led by Jessica Rivas, playing Imogen’s friend Lucía, heal her trauma, and she joins the protesters.

They are also inspired by Ranger Emily Dayhoff, a South Sierra Miwuk woman who (in a scene original to the film) reminds her colleagues that for the past 8000 years ancestors of her Indigenous First Nation have prospered from kinship with The Wild. Their ecological relationship is emblematized by shots of Yosemite’s iconic mountain Tessayak, also called “Half Dome.” The Deal is cancelled and the play’s comedic ending ensues when Iachimo journeys into The Wild to help challenge the protesters but is converted by Yosemite’s touch of nature and he persuades Mayor Cymbeline to change his mind. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

“Gold and Silver Turned to Dust,” one of two Cymbeline adaptations by University of Exeter drama students directed by Evelyn O’Malley, was the third company to adapt Shakespeare’s British-Roman dispute into a typical modern clash over responsible land use. Here the conflict pitted a rural community in Wales against housing developers building on an ecologically sensitive area. Innogen begins on the side of her slick-suited family, including the Queen testing poisons to produce herbicides as well as recreational drugs (oops, she mixes up the two.)

Local protesters, joined by a sympathetic Innogen, counter-propose an “eco-village” of sustainable housing to the local council. The council halts the Cymbeline Corporation’s project but overlooks the eco-housing alternative. Half-built houses are gradually taken over by protected species of insects and revert to nature. “Gold and Silver Turned to Dust” cleverly turns a garden-variety news story into an amusing eco-satire commenting on Anthropocene problems of population growth, affordable housing, CO2 emissions, and well-intentioned but quaint exurban experiments in sustainability.    

2) Getting physical with the Anthropocene 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

What happens when theatre communities cohabitate with the realities of non-human nature, but at others times the Anthropocene becomes a hostile squatter? The Willow Globe theatre in Powys Wales embraced the first situation. This Globe is a scaled down, living version of the original London playhouse constructed by veteran British actors Sue Best and Phil Bowen using intricately woven willow branches. Community volunteers make costumes and props from upcycled materials, and they perform on a rough thrust stage open to wind and weather.

Here it was not so much an ecodramturgically adapted Cymbeline, as site-specific conditions shaping the environmentally immersive performance. Birdsong, for example, vocalized what we thought about Cloten’s obnoxious aubade to Innogen. Later, birds joined Belarius and the sons’ moving dirge during Innogen’s green burial. On the one hand, buzzing insects occasionally heightened our sense of the physical intimacy between characters. On the other, they reminded the swatting actors of their inability to control what nature disposes, benign or otherwise. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Nature was less than sweetly nurturing when the 2021 Montana Shakespeare in the Parks Cymbeline toured to over thirty different locations in the state. Theirs was ecodramaturgical adaptation both inside and out. I’ll come to the inside bit in a moment. The great outdoors intruded reminders of our common future in intrusive Anthropocene “presences,” beginning with the now-annual smoky air from western North American wildfires. At the performance I attended outside Bozeman Montana, my eyes stung a bit, and at one point during the show I had to get up and rinse them in the park washroom.

Planes taking off nearby recalled Christopher Schaberg’s observation that airports and plane travel are perhaps the most visible hyperobject of Anthropocene globalization. “Airportness” also caused me to reflect on my own carbon footprints. I had flown to Bozeman, just I have flown here to be with you as a real person when I suppose we could have endured another zoom session. 

Another audible sign of today’s climate emergency was that evening’s noise of freight trains in the near distance. Their horn-blasts occasionally forced the actors to pause their speeches. But more than trivial annoyance was involved. Because these trains were carrying coal from mines in eastern Montana to Pacific-coast ports for export to China, where 200 thermal power plants are currently being built. Elsewhere MSIP performers had to adapt to riskier site-specific conditions. The summer’s intense sudden storms sometimes forced the company literally to nail down the moveable set when they weren’t compelled to shift indoors to “rain venues” which increasing serve as Anthropocene shelters. 

Of course outdoor shows are always subject to the vagaries of weather. Yet ecodramaturgy can also make significant use of outdoor conditions to mesh Anthropocene realities into its performances (as our collaborator Evelyn O’Malley has written about eloquently). In Charlo Montana, for instance, Cadwal (of whom more in moment) improvised her take-down of Cloten by pulling him into a creek running next to the stage and dunking him in water contaminated by agricultural run-off. She then dragged him out of sight to turn his head into fish-meal.  

3) Ecofeminist dramaturgy 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

As I mentioned, the Montana Cymbeline was also adapted internally thorugh Anthropocene consciousness. Dramaturge Gretchen Minton transformed Cymbeline’s original storylines of fairy-tale romance, wilderness healing, and intergenerational renewal into a highly effective ecofeminist adaptation in two major ways.

Belarius became Belaria, the king’s displaced and banished wife, while Guiderius and Arviragus merged into a single princess, Cadwal, whose royal pedigree remained unknown to her until the final scene. In Minton’s backstory, Belaria was pregnant with Cadwal when she fled Cymbeline’s mistaken fury to become an Earth Mother figure surviving in Wales through animal-human coexistence. She was determined to raise Cadwal away from the decadent consumption of the court, visible in its spectacularly garish costumes (designed by the brilliant Denise Massman, whom we interviewed before her recent untimely death). By preserving the precarious but tenaciously resilient Imogen to rule as queen after her father, Belaria and Cadwal regenerated the country’s political and ecological futures, which the former declared by adapting Cymbeline’s lines: “The powers of the natural world do tune / The harmony of this peace.” 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

“Once upon a time in the Anthropocene,” was a more radical ecofeminist adaptation of the first three acts of Cymbeline by Cornell University drama students led by Theo Black. This wittily researched course project created a complex critique of masculine resource hunger and consumerism by layering pieces of the play’s narrative with creepy montages of female bodies laid out as sushi platters; hilariously retro commercials for green-washed breakfast cereal; and poetic images, sounds, and texts about mother-trees and beehives.

As in Montana’s adaptation, Belaria and Wales became a maternally revitalizing refuge for Cymbeline’s daughters (three of them in this case) and, by implication, an ecologically reconstituted nation. The video’s zany collage-mode captured the Anthropocene’s fragmentation of nature by global capitalism as well as current piecemeal but perhaps not yet hopeless efforts to repair the damage.   

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Both “Once upon a time in the Anthropocene” and Imogen in the Wild independently proposed that a necessary source of hope must be to embrace Indigenous knowledge about how to deal better with nature while not appropriating that wisdom. A core text for both projects was Braiding Sweetgrass (2013) by Citizen Potawatomi botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer. She combines her ancestral heritage with scientific training to show how sustainability in the modern world can be cultivated through “strenuous listening” to nature’s languages, and applied reciprocity with plants and animals.

Although she did not make use of Kimmerer’s book, Mónica Maffía drew similarly on Indigenous traditions for her original play, Cimbelino en la Patagonia. It brings me to my fourth theme and final production thumbnail:

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

4) Decolonization and Indigenous ecologies 

Performed by her Buenos Aires-based company, Setebos, Maffía created a decolonizing anti-story to The Tempest in the form of a modern play-within-a-play of Cymbeline. In the frame narrative, an Indigenous actor and local guide, Dewi, invites contemporary actors from different regions of Argentina to a “Shakespeare en la Patagonia” workshop to perform scenes from Cymbeline. (Dewi’s name is a local variant of Dawi, Welsh for David, and it reflects 20th-century immigration from Wales to South America, memorably captured in Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia [1977]).

The actors gather in an ecological reserve at the base of the spectacular El Chaltén mountain in southern Argentina. El Chaltén is sacred to the ancient Tehuelche people of the region as the birthplace of their fire-god, Setebos, creator of Patagonia’s human and non-human animals. 

The El Chaltén site thus serves as a kind of island laboratory to which the Prospero-like Dewi brings the five actors to be transfigured by its tangible bio-power. Each Setebos actor plays characters representing three states being: contemporary, Shakespearian, and Tehuelche. As the Cymbeline workshop unfolds with frequent break-outs into the surrounding forest, the lines between these states blur, until finally the characters metamorphose into animal-human avatars of the Setebos creation story.

In that narrative, Maffía presents an emancipating counter-myth to triumphalist epics of European colonization. The practical outcome of Dewi’s Tehuelche immersive awakening is a reborn commitment to earth-centred ethics, and another reversal of modernity’s “globalization of indifference” towards nonhuman nature. As one character says, “Y cambiar la conducta” / “We have to change our behaviour." Spectators experience a comparable subjective shift by watching ordinary people like themselves being lifted out of their working lives by the mythical and physical effects of El Chaltén. 

5) Levelling up eco-Shakespeare 

This has already been a longish talk, but I’d like to indulge your patience a few minutes longer with just three illustrations of how our participants in our project have expanded research in practice into ecopedagogy and community activism. 

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

Los Angeles high-school teacher and Imogen in the Wild cast member Isabella Camfield designed a brilliant student-researched and publicly accessible website of dramatic and scientific resources for the Shakespeare in Yosemite film. Its factual information enfolds civic outreach by inviting students and teachers to share their personal experiences of industrial pollution and urban climate change in the city. The website’s cross-pollination of ecological research, individual creativity, and racial inclusion mobilizes eco-Shakespeare as a unique forum for intersectional and environmental justice.    

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

In November 2021 our blog featured Massachusetts highschool teacher and Institute graduate Elizabeth Peterson’s work. As some of you will remember, her research took the form of devising classroom worksheets for Titania’s iconic “climate change” speech in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The worksheets ask students to research the climate impacts and ecological networks Titania alludes to in her speech. They are then invited to visualize and draw these relationships as stage scenery and set designs. The interdisciplinary thrust of this project rewrites the traditional romantic framing of “Shakespeare and nature,” in which “settings” are a passive backdrop for human-centred stories. Instead, Peterson’s assignment transforms nature in Shakespeare into creative research in practice.   

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

At the university level, UC Merced honours undergraduate and Imogen in the Wild cast member Amber Loper recreated Shakespeare’s script as a wonderful post-human screenplay for children. It is entitled “A Caged Bird’s Song: An Avian Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline”. Loper playfully reimagines Shakespeare’s characters as different species of West Coast birds. Their avian world-view invites young audiences to identify with their present-day struggles to survive in the wildfire- and drought-ravaged habitats of twenty-first-century California. 

I could multiply examples of original songs, soundscapes, lighting designs, and artwork that have grown out of engagement with Cymbeline in the Anthropocene. To see and hear more, please explore our website. You can also watch videos of five of our participating productions, as well as the recorded sessions of our culminating performance symposium last July, on our YouTube channel. And CBC Radio 1 has made a terrific documentary about the project, now available as a podcast, which you might be interested in following up after listening to me.  

Emancipating the Anthropocene: The Global Cymbeline Project

To claim that Cymbeline in the Anthropocene has triggered an eco-Shakespearian Zeitenwende, or turn-around in eras, would be a tad unrealistic. But as our website archive records, the project’s ecological goals and dramaturgical innovations have inspired enthusiastic involvement from diverse theatre companies as well as the local communities they serve.

These networked engagements have not only changed the lives of many people, but also forged new friendships with like-minded colleagues (and, we hope, some indifferent ones). The effects of eco-Shakespeare in performance to galvanize action towards achieving more equitable global futures is bounded only by the limits of our survival on Planet A.