RSPB St Aidan’s Nature Park – until Saturday 9 September 2023
Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood
Written by Emma Nuttall and directed by Paul Roseby, Nest comes to RSPB St Aidan’s Nature Park in South Leeds. Nest is jointly commissioned and co-produced by LEEDS 2023 and National Youth Theatre. It is created as an immersive production in a bio-diverse landscape that explores how the climate crisis is being fought in order to create a better world for future generations. These are important issues among the young people.
The story is set in 2050 and the natural world is adversely affected by the climate change and the consequences it brings to both the bird watchers and Skylar’s everchanging habitat. The audience are invited to join in a walk around the park as the story unravels about the climate change throughout the years and the destructive strained relationships between the natural and modern world.
The performance is creatively, musically and soundly immersive with its props and performances. The performers, mingle with the audience, tell and report the story and is complemented with choreographic projections and movements that represents the landscape and society. The projections and sets are cleverly well put together throughout which is complemented with its natural setting of the park. The park’s lake is used to address the issue of increased waters and flooding.
St Aidan’s Nature Park was a former colliery, and this has been environmentally and ecologically transformed as a nature site. The remnants of the colliery are still seen including the machinery. The former machinery is used as a backdrop to begin and conclude the story from despair to hope and during the conclusion, the machinery is lighted up with video projections which harmonises the key messages and enlightening hope. All are encouraged to think about the future with regards to personal and environmental perspectives.
Nest is a passionate and emotive performance which is performed by over 100 young performers from the National Youth Theatre and choreographed evocatively with a talented creative team. The production uncovers the urgency and hope triggering from the environmental affairs including climate change and global warming. As summarised, home is those who love it with heart and fight, and one feels this with the natural world.
A unique and unforgettable performance set in a beautiful landscape and is fitting for such an important story.