Passion for the Planet

Passion for the Planet

Passion for the Planet is a multi cultural, multi faith exploration of creation and the environmental crisis. Initially a response to a need for a community project which could be delivered under Covid restrictions the project grew into something much more.

Origins

Theatre company Damn Cheek Productions were working  with Gateshead churches on a community based Mystery Play in Gateshead in 2020 and Tony was involved as a co producer. The Mystery Play involved a large cast of amateur actors led by a couple of professionals all working closely together. When Covid restrictions meant that this was no longer possible, Damn Cheek went back to the drawing board and Tony suggested a production based on creation and the environment.

 Working closely with director and dramaturg Darren Cheek, Tony produced a script with elements of sketch, song, shadow work, puppetry and dance while still leaving space for the appreciation of the creative work emanating from the schools, colleges, Age UK service users and a range of members of the wider community. This work includes poetry, letters, masks, puppets, ceramics and more.

Themes

The central themes of the piece are

  • the Creation stories of the various faiths, and of none
  • the lessons that can be drawn from these stories in the context of the environmental crisis
  • a shared humanity

The production is an all age promenade piece built around the specific site but flexible enough to be adapted for performance elsewhere. The small cast, which includes actor musicians, guide the audience through rooms which feature a story teller, three shadow puppets at the Last Chance Saloon, a seascape, audio and visual as well as entertaining and challenging sketches and songs and the emergence of the Pollution Monster. 

The team

The team for the initial production , which runs in Christchurch, Felling, Gateshead from 23rd July 2021 to 3rd August 2021 includes director Darren Cheek, designer and stage manager Paul Batten, Design consultant Chris de Wilde and cast members Laurence Saunders, Mahsa Bahary and Eloise Kay who also contributes original music. Izzy Sorby acts as production assistant and Abby Black is assistant director.

The overall project, from conception to emerging fully fledged into the world was guided and developed by Darren and Tony in conjunction with representatives of Gateshead Deanery and a Steering Group from the wider community.

Funding partners for the project are Gladiator Trust, Westhill Foundation, Well Newcastle Gateshead and the Arts Council.

The future

Discussion are underway with various potential partners for future projects built around Passion for the Planet