Glasgow Youth-Led Climate Crisis Legislative Theatre

Over the summer and autumn of 2021, we tackled the climate crisis through an intensive legislative theatre project led by young people.

A winner of a NESTA Democracy Pioneers award, this project was a collaboration between Glasgow City Council, Katy Rubin, and Shared Future CIC.

Members of the Democracy Pioneers Legislative Theatre with Katy Rubin

About the Project

The project ran over six months, with multiple rehearsals and three full performances, demonstrating the commitment of the young performers. We kicked off in March 2021 with three online workshops involving youth focussed organisations in Glasgow. These include YoMo, Glasgow Disability Alliance and Urban Fox.

Following rehearsals during the summer, in late July 2021, the young participants put on their first Legislative Theatre performance just for Glasgow City Council policy staff. With scenes, at the request of the Council, focussing particularly on transport, liveable neighbourhoods and accessibility. They then refined their performance based on the feedback received.

After a first performance in July 2021, on the 14th September 2021 the group gave its main performance, which intended to help shape and influence policy related to the city’s climate plans, to around 30 officers, elected members, representatives of their organisations and members of the public. The September performance was also filmed and edited into a professional video shown during COP26.

Watch the short explainer video, including interviews with participants, recorded by Glasgow City Council at the September 2021 performance.

We then held a third and final performance in late October 2021, just before COP26, with a wider public audience and invited family members to help celebrate the hard work of the young people involved.

What did participants feel about the project?

So much for being independent,” one of the characters said, “when you can’t renew your pass? Have the money… but the bus has only one wheelchair spot… Wouldn’t it be great if bus stops could talk so we could report such issues!

Thank you to Katy from YoMo for the Legislative Theatre taster workshop, which was incredible! Something totally different and really interesting, talking about important topics and had a good laugh too! Can’t wait until the COP26 project starts!

Our partnership with Glasgow City Council

Cllr Anna Richardson, Glasgow City Council’s City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, who attended the first performance in July, and the later main event in September, said of the project:

Finding new ways of engaging with young people around the topic of climate change is of huge importance, and we need to ensure that young people’s views are represented in the coming years as we look to our COP26 legacy and beyond.

Climate change will have the biggest impact on our younger generations throughout their lifetime. We need to ensure that our policies not only have their best interests at heart but that they also understand their views are important and feel listened to by decision-makers in local and national government.

I look forward to seeing what recommendations the group come up with at the performance in September. It will certainly be eye-opening.”

What Happened Next?

Over the next few months Shared Future continued working with Katy, Glasgow City Council and young people living in Glasgow on developing their participatory theatre performances, led by those young people.

Throughout the project we engaged citizens, stakeholders and influencers in considering and making recommendations for tackling the climate crisis.

During COP26 many of the young people participated in events, in the Green Zone, as workshops and more formal events, such as the Culture Reception, hosted by Glasgow CC, where they met Jenny Gilruth, Scottish Minister responsible for Culture.

The work builds on our experiences coordinating a legislative theatre workshop also led by Katy, which was held in April 2020, as part of our participatory budget collaboration called YouthPB.

If you want to find out more about the project, get in touch with Jez Hall.