Invigorating, urgent new writing addressing the exhaustion of campaigning and the intrinsic need for intersectionality when tackling the climate crisis

Written by Nicole Acquah (Caste-ing, Nouveau Riche, Paines Plough Roundabout) Directed by Caitlin Evans
Performed by Lekhani Chirwa and Chloe Wade
UK Tour: Tuesday 30 May – Wednesday 7 June visiting Theatre By the Lake, Keswick, Live Theatre, Newcastle and South Street Arts Centre, Reading

“A powerhouse of underrepresented voices about a subject normally framed in such a cliche, snoozy way.” Jamie Eastlake, Artistic Director of Laurels Theatre on R&D for BURNOUT
“…a fast, often humorous show, with a serious point to make about the negative stereotypes of Northern accents” British Theatre Guide on Talk Propa
“Your bamboo toothbrush won’t save us, you don’t recycle it anyways.”

Created with activists from across the UK, BURNOUT is a clever and timely two-hander which underlines the need to consider privilege within climate justice. The insightful new work explores why activists from all backgrounds need to understand each other and work together as allies to fight climate disaster.
BURNOUT exposes the mental and physical toll campaigning takes on activists from marginalised communities whilst they are the people most affected by the devastating inaction on the climate crisis.

Following a successful run at Vault Festival earlier this year and a short stop at Laurels Theatre, Whitley Bay, BURNOUT tours to Theatre By The Lake, Keswick (30-31 May), Live Theatre, Newcastle (1-2 June) and South Street Art Centre, Reading (7 June).

The play is set in a flooded pub in a familiar Cumbrian town and follows Amara who meets Bridgette at a protest, one of them, ‘hippy, green, save-the-planet’ things. Bridgette is a committed activist and Amara’s about to finish her GCSEs. Their town’s been flooded again. But how is getting arrested going to help anything? Their Cumbrian town is rapidly undergoing vast gentrification whilst the residents rally to save their home and beyond with the help of Bridgette’s ‘Citizen Rebel’ activist group.

The two actors reflect on the plight of Bridgette and Amara by stepping out of their roles and interacting with the audience to highlight the parallels of their labour on stage and the burnout cycle of their characters’ activism. This feeling is all too familiar to many climate activists trying to implement change currently, alongside all those fighting for better pay, better working conditions and the right to protest.

Caitlin Evans, Director of BURNOUT, said: “BURNOUT began in response to my personal frustration in climate activist meetings with the overwhelming privilege of most of the activists present and the focus on singing about trees or going vegan, as opposed to the very real danger people are facing on the climate frontlines in the UK and globally.

“I interviewed climate activists from marginalised backgrounds about their experience in the movement, which brought to light a common theme of ‘burnout’. These activists were burning themselves out in their campaigns, whilst the planet is also burning out. This began an ongoing collaboration with climate activists across the UK, supported by The Resilience Project, which informed the making of the play.

BURNOUT asks ‘who is doing the work?’ Who gets to sit back and watch the climate crisis unfold, and who is already being affected? It’s a timely call to action for audiences to consider their own role in the movement. We hope to spark conversations, connect people with local campaign groups and provide further information for how to get involved in the campaign for climate justice.”

Nicole Acquah, writer of BURNOUT, said: “I love stories that explore real voices and tell of real experiences — and the call to explore the voices of Black and Working Class people suffering the impact of climate change was appealing to me. It’s important now because these are the lived experiences of numerous people and as the climate change movement grows, it is important for it to be further inclusive, particularly of those who may be affected more severely”.

BURNOUT is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Developed with support from Live Theatre, artsdepot and Arts Council England.
Made in collaboration with The Resilience Project, a national charity for young climate activists. With thanks to:
Live Theatre, artsdepot, New Diorama Theatre Broadgate and Stone Nest.

Creative Team
Performed by Lekhani Chirwa she/her and Chloe Wade she/her
Written by Nicole Acquah [she/her]
Designed by Nic Farr [they/he]
Produced by Becky Jones [she/her]
Access Consultancy by Kate Lovell [she/her
Stage Managed by Lucie Regan [she/her] Assistant Produced by Susannah Bramwell [she/her]
Directed by Caitlin Evans [she/her]
Sound Design by Jamie Lu [she/her] Lighting Design by Carly Altberg [she/her] Video Design by Ben Glover [he/him]
Originally devised with Daneka Etchells (“Daneka Etchells is the most compelling Beatrice you might ever see”, The Guardian on Much Ado About Nothing, Sheffield Crucible 2022) as Bridgette.

Web and Social Media links
www.shybairntheatre.co.uk | T: Shybairntheatre | IG: shybairntheatre vaultfestival.com | T: @VAULTFestival | IG: @vaultfestival

Listings Information

27-29 Broad Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DQ Friday 2 June – Saturday 3 June | 7.30pm

South Street Arts Centre,
21 South St, Reading RG1 4QU
Wednesday 7 June | 7.30pm, then Post Show Q&A
£12-£14 https://whatsonreading.com/venues/south-street/whats-on/burnout-shyb

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