Youth tackle eco-anxiety in new production

The Byron Youth Theatre cast of the How on Earth project with Director Lisa Apostolides; and Dr Eshana Bragg, Sara Hicks and Shamila Millard of The Joyality Project. Photo Sara Hicks.

The conversation for young people has moved on from ‘Is climate change real?’ or ‘How do we slow or stop the impacts of climate change?’, to ‘How do we adapt?’.

The need, not only to mitigate against climate change, but also the need to work out how it is going to affect young people’s futures has been driven home over the last few years as floods, drought, the Black Summer fires and now a global pandemic; all predicted outcomes of climate change, have taken place.

‘Young people across the region are grappling with the worry and uncertainty of how climate change will impact on their future,’ said Byron Youth Theatre (BYT) director, Lisa Apostolides.

Looking at ways to increase young people’s resilience to climate change, The Joyality Project, and Byron Youth Theatre have come together to create a regional partnership called the How on Earth project. Through a $30,000 grant from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment, the How on Earth project will deliver a mix of workshops and theatre performances to hundreds of young people from six high schools across northern NSW.

‘We’re thrilled to be working alongside BYT to support and inspire young people in our region,’ says Dr Eshana Bragg, ecopsychologist and Director of The Joyality Project.

At the heart of How on Earth is The Joyality Project’s youth leader training, to support participants to develop personal strategies for wellbeing, action and adaptation to climate change impacts.

‘Our Joyality trainings and workshops are based on the symbiosis of personal and planetary wellbeing, and the joys of community, nature connection and taking positive action, even in the darkest of times,’ said Dr Bragg.

Twenty youth leaders will go on to provide support for peers in their community and co-facilitate How on Earth school and community workshops at the end of 2020 and into 2021.

An original theatre performance also named How on Earth is currently in development by Byron Youth Theatre. It is based on interviews by Ms Apostolides with cast members about their experiences of eco-anxiety and climate change. The performance has been choreographed by past BYT member Ebony Webb.

‘It has been a deeply moving process in creating this production as we are all in a lived experience right now, every day. It is an absolute honour to work with such talented cast members who have dedicated themselves to sharing the raw, honest truth and to have Ebony’s insightful choreography as a key part of this timely piece,’ Ms Apostolides explained.

Any young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 interested in training as youth leaders for peer support and climate resilience please contact Shamila Millard of The Joyality Project on 0438 713 888 or email [email protected].

Find out more information about The Joyality Project  and Byron Youth Theatre online.

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