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Arts sector declares ‘climate emergency’ with central London procession

The horse led procession stops traffic on Waterloo Bridge. Photo: Terry Matthews The horse led procession stops traffic on Waterloo Bridge. Photo: Terry Matthews
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Battersea Arts Centre, the Royal Court, Manchester’s Home and the Lyric Hammersmith are among nearly 200 cultural organisations and individuals declaring a ‘climate and ecological emergency’, and demanding the sector does more to instigate change.

A procession comprising more than 150 people from participating institutions launched the Culture Declares Emergency campaign on April 3, when they marched through central London from Somerset House to Shakespeare’s Globe, stopping traffic on Waterloo Bridge.

Among those present were Royal Court executive director Lucy Davies, who said the theatre had signed up to the declaration because it wants “to be part of ramping up the urgency” over climate change.

The launch comes ahead of the project’s first event – a reading of letters written by the general public calling for nationwide action – which will take place on April 12.

The procession stopped to read some of these letters at points including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.

The 190 organisations and individuals involved also include theatre company Cardboard Citizens, the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, the Junction in Cambridge, Hollyoaks actor Tamaryn Payne and Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky.

Organiser Bridget McKenzie, a cultural consultant, said the project was “about revelation of truth and declaration of our intentions”.

“It is the first of many waves of artists and cultural organisations announcing their intentions. It begins in London, a place implicated with the extractive and colonial histories that have led us to this emergency, but it is also a place rich with culture that can be turned towards the task of re-imagining how we relate to one another and the living planet,” she said.

Globe, Royal Court and National Theatre Wales join industry-wide climate protest

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