& The Environment

2013-08-18 11.08.06

Chair sculpture Wells Way Pop Up

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“Just Jones & have been championing environmental sustainability since they began, rooting their inspirational approach in actions and supporting good ideas whenever they find them. “

Alison Tickell, CEO Julie’s Bicycle

When we set up Just Jones & we were very clear that we wanted to maintain a balance between being innovative on stage, promoting everyone’s creativity, making our ambitious productions affordable – and finding ways to work which promote environmental sustainability.

At the time (2011) the narrative surrounding climate change and environmental awareness was predominantly negative: things not to do with a side-dressing of self-denial. Both of those attitudes felt unhelpful for making theatre, so we’ve spent quite a lot of time finding a way to make working within the earth’s resources a joyful, positive, naughty and creative idea.

For us, the breakthrough came in 2013 in a workshop in Norway. Supported by the Ibsen Scholarship to work on a show investigating the dilemmas surrounding Palm Oil and international trade, (with the added irony of  funds which ultimately must derive from an oil-fuelled economy) we stumbled on an exercise that  resulted in a totally positive view of the situation:

Casting all the actors in the room as one of the children in the play aged 7, we asked them to imagine what the world would be like in 2050. Each of the “children” came up with wonderful, creative visions for the future that they wanted to have.  Water-powered helicopters, no problem, solar-powered smart phones. They had listened to our central character – “if you can see a vision for the future you can be part of it”.

But they were also children and they just drew what they wanted to happen, without limits to their imagination, ambition or requirements. They were unincumbered by the self -limitations we impose by what ifs or budgets, or all the things which might go wrong.

From that point on, we started to realise that everything we want to do to enjoy life in a way which works with the planet’s resources is possible. The journey to a carbon-free future starts with the imagination and creativity. And most of what we need already exists it’s just about joining the dots.

How To Be A Coptimist: Culture, Creativity and COP21 from Julie's Bicycle on Vimeo.

 

See more about our environmental experiments here

 

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