Provocative Environmental Theatre Company Engages Young Audience

Tony Rollinson
Wednesday, 27th July 2016

Terra Incognita is a post-Brexit, dance-theatre, call to arms for humanity to wake up to climate change. Read why this is PM's Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016 recommend.

Temper Theatre, a company of 18 to 22 year olds and led by 22 year old Finn Morrell, is taking on climate change in a new show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The piece, Terra Incognita (running time 50 minutes, view a short preview here), aims to be a call to arms to do something about climate change, which they feel is the story of their time.

“We are the first generation to notice the effects of climate change and we are the last who can actually do something about it" says Finn. "I feel that this is the story of our time. We are a young company and the climate has a direct impact on our future, which is why we are making this piece, fuelled with the ambition to bring about real change through discussion and compassion for one another. It is paramount that in spite of Brexit, we continue to talk about environmental issues. We start the show at the Paris Climate Conference and use it as a gateway to express how we as young people feel.”

With 2015 smashing records for the hottest year since reporting began and unprecedented flooding across the UK, Temper Theatre take on one of the most pressing issues of our time in a large-scale show designed to engage audiences with a topic that often seems abstract or distant.

Two characters travel through chaotic and destroyed worlds in this visceral tale of love and self-sacrifice during humanity’s final moments. Fragmented imagery and special effects are bound together with fluid, muscular movement to create a cinematic experience as Temper Theatre continue to develop their multi-disciplinary approach to narrative danceThey use wind, snow and smoke machines, soundscapes, lighting effects and a ten-strong ensemble to create a storm onstage.

In an exclusive chat with PM Finn tells us that: "We are a young company who make our own devised work. We feel collectively that man's impact on the environment is the most pressing issue of our time and in a lot of cases denied and dismissed as ‘non-existent’, this is why we have decided to create this story. To present the issue through art, we hope to allow an audience to connect with the topic in a new way.

He continues saying "Young people certainly are interested in climate change issues, and with our largest audience being 16-25 year olds we are aiming to inspire a generation to get talking about Climate Change. It is essential that we do start big discussions about the issue because we are the generation who will feel the affects the most keenly."

"We find that when Climate Change is mentioned people automatically switch off because it reminds us of our mortality, and we struggle to empathise with a world which will exist beyond our lifetimes. This needs to start changing now, because we no longer have time to shy away from the very real damage we are causing as a collective. Action is incredibly important to us, and if we can generate some urgency and empathy around the subject through immersing audiences in our work, then surely that is a positive beginning.   

PM asked him what solutions do they want to see? "We are aware of theoretical and sustainable solutions to combat Climate Change; geo-engineering, carbon tax, even world-wide veganism. However, the biggest solution right now, for us is – awareness. Awareness is important because denial is what is holding back the solutions. We want to raise awareness in a new way, which doesn’t involve graphs, statistics or lecturing – but through powerful, visceral art."

"Permaculture is a new discovery for us" he says, "but really fascinating. Our show is a journey through chaotic and decimated worlds. We aim to show the symptoms of man’s affects on the earth. Permaculture is incredibly important to us, and although it doesn’t appear in the show, we would love to have information about it included in the programme."  

The cast includes: Jack Bentinck, Phoebe Gilderdale, Eden Harbud, Coco Maertens, Kate Marston, Connor McGoochan, Katie Miller, Kieran Doherty, Zoe Villiers and Sam Williams. Jack Bentinck who was a performer on Gecko Theatre’s The Time of Your Life, which was broadcast on BBC Four’s On Stage: Live from Television Centre.

Temper Theatre aim to create narrative with soundscapes, movement, dance and realism, uniting primal physicality with raw, honest expression. The name ‘temper’ means ‘a state of mind’. 

The show has been advised by conservationist Dr. Rob Brett, who has worked in many African countries and has been on expeditions with Sir David Attenborough.

@tempertheatre | #terraincognita | www.tempertheatre.co.uk

The show is suitable for ages 12+, contains flashing lights.

Sound designer Dom Gowland. Costume designer Blythe Brett.

Listings information

Zoo Southside, Studio, 117 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9ER

14 –29 August 2016, 1.50pm –2.40pm, previews 14 – 17 August 2016. £10 (£8 concs), previews £5.

Pre-Edinburgh reviews take place at (with previews in Cambridge and Bracknell which we can offer places at in exchange for a review).

27 July 2016 South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Ringmead, RG12 7PA. 7.30pm | £10 (£5 U21s).. Tel: 01344 484 123.

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