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Local theatre goes green with play about animal extinction

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The Endling press image 4

What if you were The Endling, the last of the human species? Strange Futures’ new show explores the environmental crisis and possible futures for the world and all that inhabit it.

Coming to East Oxford theatre Pegasus on Sat 27 November, Strange Futures’ new devised show, The Endling, uses physical theatre and humour to explore the relationship between human existence and the lives - and deaths - of other species. The show is a unique, funny, and stunning take on environmental issues and extinction.

Following on from the Climate Conference COP26, this is a really relevant piece of theatre for the here and now. The theatre company hopes this piece will encourage young people to keep thinking about environmental issues and keep the pressure up on governments to commit to positive change.

Development Director Jo Osborne from Pegasus says: “Pegasus is delighted to be bringing a show which tackles one of the most urgent global issues of our time in such an engaging, quirky and visually beautiful way. As part of our new green policy, we are aiming to seek out thought-provoking shows addressing environmental issues for young audiences of all ages and their families, hoping to raise awareness and stimulate discussion as well as entertain.”

Inspiring young people to take action and take care of our planet is one of the key goals of this piece. Strange Futures performer and co-director Matthew Simmons says “Although (for me at least) it seems an intimidating – an impossible task to tackle - you can start small, because even the smallest of differences is still a difference, and a start on the road to positive change.” Dramaturg Jane George adds “And… get your voice heard! Young people can make a huge difference – look at Greta Thunberg! And Pegasus is the place to help you do this.”

For Jane, bringing this piece to Pegasus feels like coming home. She says “I lived and worked in Oxfordshire for about 20 years and worked on various projects at Pegasus over the years. In fact, Pegasus runs in the family as both my son, Sam George (Director of Clown Funeral Theatre Company) and daughter Meg George (Scenic Artist in film industry) grew up through Pegasus Youth Theatre, whilst husband, Colin George, was a longstanding Trustee of Pegasus. Having moved away from Oxfordshire a few years ago, it is lovely to bring this show back to Pegasus, where I have such strong creative memories!”

The Endling is being performed at Pegasus Theatre, Saturday 27th November 7.30pm. Tickets are available via pegasustheatre.org.uk or 01865 812150. For ages 12+.

INTERVIEW WITH STRANGE FUTURES

Strange Futures Theatre Company consists of William Moore & Matthew Simmonds (Co- Directors/Performers) and Jane George (Dramaturg).

1. What makes The Endling a unique piece of theatre?

The Endling is a really relevant piece of theatre for this moment in time. Following on from
the Climate Conference COP26, it’s important that we all continue to think about
environmental issues and keep the pressure up on governments to commit to positive
change. An ‘Endling’ is a term coined for “the last individual of a species”. In the last 10 years, there have been 160 endlings – 160 species that have gone extinct. Some are named and noticed – you may remember Lonesome George, the last male Pinta Island tortoise – but others go largely un-noticed. Why is this happening? What will happen in the future?
The Endling performance explores a serious subject – but it does so in a humorous way that
doesn’t blame but gets audiences thinking. According to one audience comment it’s “laugh
out loud funny” so you can have an enjoyable evening, as well as a thoughtful one!

2. Is there anything particularly exciting about performing this piece at Pegasus
Theatre/ in Oxford?

Jane George says: “I lived and worked in Oxfordshire for about 20 years, first running the
site-specific organization, Coral Arts, and then operating as a freelance theatre writer,
dramaturg and director. I worked on various projects at Pegasus over the years. In fact,
Pegasus runs in the family as both my son, Sam George (Director of Clown Funeral Theatre
Company) and daughter Meg George (Scenic Artist in film industry) grew up through
Pegasus Youth Theatre, whilst husband, Colin George, was a longstanding Trustee of
Pegasus. Having moved away from Oxfordshire a few years ago, it is lovely to bring this show back to Pegasus, where I have such strong creative memories!”

3. Who is The Endling for?


The Endling is for anyone who cares about our world and the living creatures in it – which has to be pretty much everyone, right?

4. What's your favourite part of the show?

Will Moore says: “There is a section towards the end of the show that plays with the
memory of things already lost, and indirectly invites the audience to play along with
deciphering the performers' strange descriptions of various things. We had a lot of
fun writing this scene, trying to find ways of explaining parts of the natural world without
any specific words or names. Finding out if the audience were able to get them all is fun. We
call that part of the show the ‘Was-Was’ scene, for all of the things that were. I like finding
ways to engage an audience with the subject at the heart of the work, so I hope this playful approach offers a new perspective or reflection of the way we all see the world as it still is
today, compared to how it could end up.”

5. What can young people do to help the environmental crisis?

Matt Simmonds says: “This is a big question, but an important one. Although (for me at
least) it seems an intimidating – an impossible task to tackle - you can start small, because
even the smallest of differences is still a difference, and a start on the road to positive
change. Whilst we can, and should, always talk and discuss the environmental crisis, the
simplest thing you can do is become conscious and aware about what decisions you make on a day-to-day basis. Think about your consumption, and how often you are buying something, especially new, and think, can I recycle? Can I buy second hand? (think clothes). Can I even make it myself or create it at home? (think cooking over take-out) Or, how can I at least reduce unnecessary production, for example, using reusable bottles, cutlery, cups as much as possible, travelling more by foot or public transport, if possible. Whatever you do, don't kick yourself if you can’t do ALL these things, ALL the time. Some positive change, is still some, try and celebrate the things you, and others around you CAN do, let's feel good about doing good, and let’s try and face this challenge with positivity, we CAN make a change, and we will.”

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