With Love and Other Acts of Violence currently running at the Donmar Warehouse, Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch, today announce the re-release of the company’s first Donmar Local production, Nina Segal’s ASSEMBLY, an innovative digital performance that looks at the climate crisis and how to build a better future. First broadcast live via YouTube from the Donmar Warehouse and locations across the UK during lockdown in March 2021, the recorded digital production will be available on Donmar Warehouse’s YouTube channel from 31 October – 12 November to mark COP26.

Continuing the company’s commitment to exploring the climate emergency, Donmar Associate Zoë Svendsen is acting as Climate Dramaturg and undertaking an 18 month collaborative action research project – Climate Conversations – bringing together artists and producers to reframe the conversation around the climate crisis and the process of making theatre. Whilst the theatre industry must urgently reduce its carbon footprint, the project seeks to bust the myth that sustainability is only about doing or using ‘less’.  The project aims to find ways for great art to pursue climate conscious ethics and still flourish. During this project Svendsenwill work with representatives across the Donmar Warehouse’s workforce and productions, running workshops that explore new, climate conscious working practices. She will also host a series of live talks and podcasts, to open up the conversation with audiences. The project culminates with a wider industry sharing of her findings.

Clare Slater, Head of New Work, said today, “We’re delighted to be undertaking this important work with Zoë. At the Donmar, we want to make thrilling and resource-conscious theatre. And we want to do so with care for the people who make it and see it, and for the planet. With Zoe’s significant track record in climate dramaturgy, this research project should help us find change points in the theatre-making process that will help us achieve these goals. We really look forward to sharing what we learn. This is what theatre can do: bring about change by rehearsing it first.

“As part of our commitment to this urgent moment, we’re also proud to re-release our digital production, ASSEMBLY, to coincide with COP26. Nina Segal’s provocative play, made in lockdown with members of our local community, invites you to play your part in this chapter of change.”

Zoë Svendsen also commented,“Climate Conversations takes the climate crisis not just as a ‘topic’, but explores it as the context of everything we do – in theatre and in our lives. Through the project we will be examining what stories we tell, who for and how. How can facing these challenges sharpen our ingenuity and rigour as artists, as we grapple with the most urgent questions of our time. In an era of extreme jeopardy, where the very future of people across the globe is at stake, we will be asking, who are we? How do we need to change for the planet to survive? And who might we become?”

Zoë Svendsen is an associate artist at the Donmar Warehouse and a director, dramaturg and researcher. As artistic director of METIS Zoe creates research-led interdisciplinary performance projects exploring contemporary political subjects, including Love Letters to a Liveable Future (Season for Change/Cambridge Junction), Factory of the Future (Oslo Architecture Triennale), WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE MAY BE (Barbican Pit), World Factory (New Wolsey Theatre/ Young Vic), 3rd Ring Out – TippingPoint Commission Award. As dramaturg she has worked with Shakespeare’s Globe, Young Vic, the National Theatre and the RSC. Svendsen lectures in Drama and Performance at the University of Cambridge.

By Nina Segal 

The Assembly Company: Rita BarryPatrick BurrowsDavid Cunningham, Ubah Egal,Martin Fisher, Angie LieuBrian McGinnisSadhbha Odufuwa-Bolger, Josiah PhoenixPen RileyPaul RingoStephen Rooney, Jenneba Sie-Jalloh, Youyangg Song, Michael TurneyVictoria Valcheva and Karen Walkden

Director: Joseph Hancock; Video Designer and Director of Photography: Andrzej Goulding

Set and Costume Designer: Frankie Bradshaw; Composer and Sound Designer: Max Pappenheim Lighting Designer: Sam House; System Designer, Programmer and Operator: Dan Trenchard Assistant Director: Eleanor Clack; Producer: Liz Bate 

Mixing live performance, animation and sound, ASSEMBLY looks at the impact of humans on nature and what we might build together for a better future. It’s about trying, failing, and trying again. In times of emergency, it is about hope.

This is the first production from the Donmar Local Company – members of the community who live and work in the Donmar’s home boroughs of Camden and Westminster.

ASSEMBLY is dedicated to the memory of Michael Turney, a founding member of our Local Company

Nina Segal (she/her) is a playwright and television writer. Her theatre credits include In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) (Gate Theatre), Dismantle This Room (Royal Court Theatre/Bush Theatre), Big Guns (The Yard Theatre), (This Isn’t) A True Story (Almeida Young Company), and Danger Signals (New Ohio, NYC). Her latest play O, Island! was a winner of the 2022 Playwrights’ Scheme Bursary and shortlisted for the 2020 George Devine award.

Joseph Hancock (he/him) previously took part in Donmar on Designand has worked on the Donmar Discover project‘Take the Stage’. He is a director from Dudley, and trained at the Young Vic through the Jerwood Assistant Director programme and with a JMK regional bursary. Directing credits include (This Isn’t) A True Story, Re-Imagining Machinal (Almeida Young Company), Great British Mysteries: 1599?, Great British Mysteries? (Soho/Pleasance), Emily Brown and The Thing and a Squash and a Squeeze (Discover Children’s Centre), Shell and Davey at the Start and the End (VAULT festival), And Yet It Moves (Young Vic). Assistant/Associate credits include If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me (Young Vic), The Hairy Ape, Rise (The Old Vic), It Felt Like A Kiss (Punchdrunk/MIF). He is a Mentor Director on NT Connections and Education Associate at The Old Vic.

Donmar Warehouse thank the following individual, corporate and trust and foundation supporters of Discover, all of whom enabled the Donmar’s work with young people and the local community while the theatre’s doors were closed: Anonymous, Boris Karloff Charitable Foundation, Chapman Charitable Trust, Clore Duffield Foundation, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Emmanuel Kaye Foundation, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, John Lyon’s Charity, Kirkland and Ellis, The Oak Foundation, The Thompson Family Charitable Trust and Universal Consolidated Group.