Awardee: Team Sunshine Performance Corporation

Primary Artistic Medium: Performance

Idea

Team Sunshine is currently in the process of imagining and visioning a series of works around critical crises in facing America. One such crisis is climate change. In collaboration with local activists, and focused within a community in Philadelphia, we are envisioning a placed-based piece that invites community participation, while enriching the dialog about how individuals and communities can help to improve their local environment. We anticipate that the performance will be in a community gathering place – perhaps a park – where neighbors may convene and connect.

This performance piece by Team Sunshine will explore the deep despair of imminent global crises and the urgency of living our lives in a time of climate change. The work stems from the company’s interest in creating performance that nourishes those who are actively involved in aspects of the climate justice movement. The work is being created in response to an oft-spoken condition of contemporary activists and organizers – a deep grief located in the challenges of large-scale organization, bleak scientific reports, and the inevitable human toll. For many, this grief intersects directly with parenthood, creating a tension of facing engulfing sadness while stewarding the next generation toward an uncertain future. Yet, in the emergence of the Sunrise Movement and other youth-focused climate organizations, there is a growing hopefulness that can be found in young activists. This, as well as the action of acknowledging/naming “climate grief”, helps to productively confront the challenges from within, influencing external change and illuminating hopefulness in a seemingly hopeless world.

Envisioned as a performance by “Dad” character (Team Sunshine Co-Founder and Project Lead Benjamin Camp) and a teenage “Daughter” performer (to be cast), the piece will focus on the relationship between a daughter and father, excavating their interpersonal dynamic to elucidate the complexities of ecological inheritance. Inspired by Camp’s experience of being a father raising a daughter in a world of imminent environmental crisis, this performance will investigate the fierce power emerging in young people today, and contemplates what the future of their fierceness may hold. How do we take responsibility for what we leave to future generations? How do we hold those who came before us accountable? How do we move forward together to better shape a seemingly dystopian future?
Imagined as a kind of dance-theater “call to action,” and developed using Team Sunshine’s signature devising process, the piece will fracture and reassemble the various aspects of the parent-child experience as a means to humanize large, abstract notions as related to climate change. Reflecting on the conflict between feelings of despair and that which keeps us going — intergenerational responsibility, and maybe even hope — we will create a personal connection with community members; providing a release valve to explore one’s own inner conflict in contemplating the unknown future.