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Court explores future of Earth

First Published 23 March 2012, Last Updated 29 April 2020

Never one to duck a challenge, director Katie Mitchell’s next project will explore the future of life on Earth.

Ten Billion, which runs at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs this summer, is a collaboration with scientist Stephen Emmott and asks how the growing number of people in the world – the human population looks likely to top ten billion by the end of this century – will affect the way we live.

The unique project, which seems to defy definition, has the Royal Court’s Artistic Director Dominic Cooke struggling to describe it: “It isn’t a play, it may not even be described as ‘theatre’ and we have never put a scientist centre stage at the Royal Court before, but it could just be one of the most important projects I’ve ever worked on.”

“Many of us are concerned about the environmental threats we face but few have an understanding of how climate change, overpopulation and dwindling resources could actually impact the way we live. Stephen’s research points to some alarming possibilities,” he added.

Though the exact nature of the production is providing a descriptional stumbling block, it has employed the services of a designer (Giles Cadle), video designer (Leo Warner for 59 Productions), composer (Paul Clark), lighting designer (Jon Clark) and sound designer (Gareth Fry).

Ten Billion plays in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in two periods during the summer, 12 to 18 July and 31 July to 11 August. It follows productions of Hayley Squires’s debut play Vera Vera Vera, Bola Agbaje’s latest play Belong and The Witness, the second play from Vivienne Franzmann who wrote the Olivier Award-nominated Mogadishu.

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