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Plan(et) B presents: Lights! Climate! Action!

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: November 16, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Plan(et) B explored the climate crisis with laughter, hope, and humanity.
Plan(et) B explored the climate crisis with laughter, hope, and humanity. Photos: U of R Photography

Sustainability took centre stage at the University of Regina Theatre Department’s latest production, Plan(et) B. Co-directed by University of Regina Theatre Department Head Kathryn Bracht and Assistant Professor Shannon Holmes, Plan(et) B explored the climate crisis in a new light by weaving in laughter, hope, and humanity. The production was a presentation of 12 plays from Climate Change Theatre Action, a worldwide series of short climate change plays presented every two years, coinciding with the United Nations COP meetings

Bracht and Holmes were hesitant about taking on such a controversial issue, but ultimately decided, along with the cast – made up of Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (MAP) students – to tackle the issue head-on. “I was a little bit nervous to begin with, thinking that maybe students wanted to just forget about all the worries that we’re facing right now globally, but in the end I think it was incredibly meaningful for everyone involved,” said Holmes. Bracht added, “The feedback we got about the show validated how committed the students were and how much ownership the students had over the project.” 

Not only did the production talk the talk about climate change, but it walked the walk as well. Plan(et) B was created with upcycled, repurposed, and recycled set and costume pieces, which fit well with the post-apocalyptic, junkyard feel of the plays. Scenic Carpenter and Props Master Mason Roth and Wardrobe Technician Cathy Mearns sourced materials from past productions and various second-hand or salvage shops. “Mason went around sourcing everything from old scaffolding to piles of really interesting junk,” Holmes laughs. 

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Plan(et) B was created with upcycled,
repurposed, and recycled set and
costume pieces.

The focus on sustainability extended beyond the stage as well. Instead of printing paper programs, information about the cast and crew were projected on screens in the theatre and in the lobby. One of the plays required a paper hand-out for audience participation, so instead of handing out a new sheet of paper each night, a limited number of laminated copies were circulated and re-used. Small actions like these can go a long way in reducing paper waste and the Theatre Department is considering continuing the use of paperless methods for future productions. 

Part of the agreement to participate in Climate Change Theatre Action’s initiative required the Theatre Department to commit to an action, or multiple actions, to address climate change. One of the actions undertaken was asking members of the audience to sign and support climate change related petitions. “We encouraged the audience to really get involved instead of just passively watching the show,” said Holmes. 

Participation in the Climate Change Theatre Action initiative also resulted in a new course being taught in the Theatre Department. THAC 360AO – Contemporary Scene Study: Climate Change Theatre explores new plays from around the world dealing with climate change activism and encourages students to develop their own works on the subject. While it is yet to be confirmed, the Theatre Department hopes to offer this course every second year to coincide with the Climate Change Theatre Action initiative. 

Fourth-year MAP student and Plan(et) B cast member Billie Liskowich hopes initiatives like these continue and that fellow University of Regina students keep making their voices heard on the topic of climate change. “I think it’s important to get the University community to have a collective drive,” said Liskowich. “More learning opportunities should be created for students to become sustainable within their own University life. Paperless courses could even be considered in the future to help the University become more sustainable as an institution.” 

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Happy Campus Sustainability Month!