The first performance staged by the eco-theater was The Isle of Egg. The name of the performance contains a play on words: on the one hand, “Egg” (Egg) – literally translated – “egg” – symbolizes the beginning of life, and on the other hand, it refers us to the name of the real Scottish island Egg (Eigg), whose history was based on the plot. The show talks about climate change, positive thinking and the power of team spirit. Since the creation of Egg Island, the company has matured noticeably and today holds numerous seminars, creative educational projects in schools and kindergartens, festivals and, of course, continues to put on environmental performances.
Some stories tell about the animal world, others about the origin of food, others teach you to be proactive and help nature on your own. There are performances whose significant contribution to the protection of the environment is literally bearing fruit – we are talking about The Forgotten Orchard, a story about the apple orchards of Scotland. All groups of schoolchildren who come to this performance receive a gift of several fruit trees that they can plant near their school, as well as bright posters to remember the performance and a whole range of exciting educational games with which they can get to know the world around us better. The granddaughter and grandfather, the heroes of the play “The Forgotten Orchard”, tell the audience about the varieties of apples bred in Scotland and even teach the children to identify the variety by the taste of the apple and its appearance. “The performance made me think about where the apples I eat come from. Why do we spend gasoline to bring apples to Scotland, if we can grow them ourselves?” exclaims an 11-year-old boy after the performance. So, the theater is doing its job perfectly!
In August 2015, the Eco Drama Theater came up with a new performance – and with it a new format of work. Speaking in Scottish schools, the artists noticed that almost nothing grows on the school plots, and the space either remains empty or is occupied by the playground. When the artists suggested that schools set up their own orchard on this territory, the answer was always the same: “We would like to, but we don’t have a suitable place for this.” And then the theater “Eco Drama” decided to show that you can grow plants anywhere – even in a pair of old shoes. And so a new performance was born – “Uprooted from the Earth” (Uprooted).
Pupils from partner schools were offered to plant plants and flowers in any container they liked – in the back of an old toy car, in a watering can, a box, a basket, or any other unnecessary thing that they find at home. Thus, living scenery for the performance was created. They shared the idea of the performance with the guys and gave them the opportunity to come up with what else could become part of the interior on the stage. The main idea laid down by set designer Tanya Biir was the refusal to create additional artificial interior items – all the necessary items were made from items that had already served. Through this, the Eco Drama theater decided to emphasize the importance of respect for things, recycling and reuse. The Living Stage project, run by Tanya Biir, clearly shows that even a theater set designer has a huge potential to influence the world and make it more environmentally friendly. This approach also allows the audience to be involved in the process of preparing the performance, to make them involved in what is happening: by recognizing their plants on stage, the guys get used to the idea that they themselves can change the world for the better. After the performances, the plants remain in schools – in classrooms and in open areas – continuing to delight the eyes of adults and children.
Eco-theater tries to bring a “green” element to everything it does. So, artists arrive at performances in electric cars. In autumn, tree planting campaigns are held in different cities of Scotland, which end with friendly tea parties. Throughout the year, they conduct exciting activities with children as part of the club “Everything to the street!” (Out to play), the purpose of which is to give children the opportunity to spend more time in nature and begin to better understand it. Scottish schools and kindergartens can invite the theater at any time, and the actors will give the children a master class on recycling and reuse of materials, talk about environmentally friendly devices and technical means – for example, about the benefits of bicycles.
“We believe that all people are born “ecocentric”, but with age, love and attention to nature can weaken. We are proud that in our work with children and young people we are trying to cultivate “ecocentricity” and make this quality one of the main values in our lives,” the theater artists admit. I would like to believe that there will be more and more theaters like Eco Drama – perhaps this is the most effective way to combat climate change.