“This project places the power of the arts to stir emotional and intellectual engagement firmly in the hands of young artists, harnessing their creativity and amplifying their voices. It is made all the richer by the international collaboration that we know will bring new perspectives, shared understanding and demands for change.”

Scottish Youth Theatre

Scottish Youth Theatre is a young artists’ development organisation, committed to young people’s agency, equity and social justice in the arts. Working with young people aged 14-25 across intersections and geographies, the company strives to create frameworks for aspiring and emerging young creatives to flourish. An environment where young artists are at the helm of their own creative journeys and the work they make is their opportunity to interrogate, question and reflect on things that matter to them.They are matched with experienced professionals to broaden their artistic horizons, challenge their assumptions and amplify their individual and collective voices.

Ecological practice and digital theatre-making

Young people from across Scotland collaborated in multiple strands of the Phone Call to the World project, interrogating ecological arts practice, digital theatre-making and their own understanding of individual and communal ecological living. In Voicemail, groups of young people from Aberdeen Performing Arts, Borders Youth Theatre, Eden Court Inverness, hidden route Dundee, Mull Youth Theatre and Theatre Royal Dumfries were facilitated by ecofeminist theatre-maker Isla Cowan in a series of intensive digital workshops. The project endeavoured to unpick the systems of ecology and human centrism, instead offering scope for the young people to more deeply consider their relationship with place and climate change. Following the workshops, the young people phoned a virtual ‘hotline’ from which they would then record a voice message for Earth, ultimately installed at Phone Call to the World Interactive Exhibition.

To further consider young people’s critical relationship with nature and the climate crises, these workshops were also offered to international participants from South Roots International and Study Hall Educational Foundation. Despite coming from distinct heritages and locations across the world, the young people began to communicate comparable feelings of disempowerment and isolation across the works, with increasing pleas to reconnect with land.

A group from Borders Youth Theatre also engaged in a week-long audio performance project, producing a live broadcast audio-play that probed environmental action and its consequences from a Scottish Borders perspective. Titled We Know We Don’t Know, the piece is the result of a creative exploration analysing power, privilege, complacency and community. Alongside its live broadcast at the Heart of Hawick Arts Centre at the end of the project, the work was also shared during a performance evening at the Phone Call to the World: Interactive Exhibition at CCA, Glasgow during COP26 in November 2021. 

COP26 Performance Commissions

Alongside Phone Call to the World’s broader international outlook, Scottish Youth Theatre wanted to reiterate its commitment to supporting Scotland’s young emerging artists and return to live performance again. These in-person performances were programmed as part of the exhibition, taking place throughout the two weeks of COP26. The works crossed multiple artforms, encompassing live music, comedy, spoken word and interpretive dance. Principally they explored the multiple impacts of the climate crisis on identity, expectation, loss and futurehood that young generations are experiencing in Scotland. 

Featuring: Jack MacGregor, Rumaisa Zubairi, Conall Ross, Catriona Robertson and Jo Hunter. 

Click here to see the performance programme. Or watch the full recorded performances on the Interactive Media Map.

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