Letters to the Earth

April 12, 2019

Letters To The Earth teams up with Youth Strike 4 Climate at Oxford Circus

  • The Letters To The Earth day of action kicks off in 52 venues around the world this Friday 12 April - showcasing the more than 1000 letters written by the public, writers and celebrities in response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency
  • At 1pm, Oxford Circus, Letters to the Earth will team up with Youth Strike 4 Climate, for a specially curated performance of some of the letters
  • Letters To The Earth is the first project of the newly launched Culture Declares Emergency, which brings the arts and cultural community together for an appropriate response to the climate emergency
  • Letters received include submissions from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, American author Rebecca Solnit, award-winning poet Kate Tempest, British playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters and Nick Drake amongst others

As thousands of children and young people take part in this month’s Youth Strike 4 Climate in London, the Letters To The Earth team will join them at the march’s conclusion for a special performance of a selection of over 1,000 letters written by celebrities, writers and members of the general public in response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

The event will take place at 1pm at Oxford Circus, with letters being performed by members of Youth Strike 4 Climate, followed by interviews with them and the team behind Letters To The Earth.

Cyrus Jarvis, Youth Strike 4 Climate activist says ‘I think one of the most important things when fighting for change is creativity and becoming the people who create culture rather than consume it. It plays a huge part in changing the tide and has a very powerful impact.’

Kay Michael, one of the Letters to the Earth organisers and director, said, “Ours is a cultural response to the Climate and Ecological emergency that we invite others to be a part of. Culture Declares Emergency exists to inspire and inform with urgency and vision the need to rise to this momentous moment in history. We have seen the campaign grow exponentially in only one week since its launch, and we’ve been heartened by the public’s response.”  

The Letters To The Earth text being presented at the Youth Strike is an excerpt of a longer 20 minute piece that will be released to the public on Monday 15 April for performance anywhere in the world for 2 weeks, coinciding with the School Strike For Climate and Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion. It includes many of the voices from the hundreds of submissions received. The public are invited to take part in readings of Letters To The Earth during the Rebellion in London from Monday 15 April.

Notable submissions include letters from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, American author and leading feminist thinker Rebecca Solnit, Jackie Morris, writer and illustrator of The Lost Words,  award-winning poet Kate Tempest, Director of Julie’s Bicycle Alison Tickell, writers Jay Griffiths, Jo Baker and Rob Cowen, TV Presenter and Vicar of Firle Peter Owen-Jones, award-winning writer, journalist and LGBT activist Matthew Todd and playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters, Nick Drake and Nina Segal.

Following the launch of Letters to the Earth on Friday 12 April, 52 arts venues [1 - full list below], theatres and community spaces across the world, from Zambia to Canada, from Latvia to New Zealand, will host readings of these Letters to the Earth, to coincide with the Global Youth Strike for Climate and as part of the lead up to Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion which begins Monday 15 April. Letters to the Earth is the first project of the newly launched Culture Declares Emergency, which brings the arts and cultural community together for an appropriate response to the climate emergency.[2]

On Friday 12 April venues will also be hosting post-show conversations and activities to generate a discussion that can drive further action. Theatre 503 are hosting a conversation with environmental activists and climate scientists; young actors from Young Everyman Playhouse company will be performing and running an event at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse; and National Theatre Wales will be inviting their local Welsh community to write responses together on the day.

Coming up:

  • 14 April – Earth March: the Last Leg– Hyde Park, London. Members ofExtinction Rebellionare walking from as far away as Land’s End to joinInternational Rebellion UK - Shut Down London!which begins on 15th April. They’ve braved hard weather and hard roads to join us. Let’s give them the welcome they deserve by joining in the last leg of the journey, and coming together in Hyde Park for a celebration on the eve of our Rebellion.
  • 15 April – International Rebellion– Global.Extinction Rebellion activists in the UK and around the world are calling for a full-scale international rebellion: to demand decisive action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world. Come to stay and book time off work.

This will be a full-scale festival of collective action and creative resistance, with people’s assemblies, art actions, stage performances, talks, workshops, food and family spaces.

Actor and writer Dame Emma Thompson:video invitation to rebellion“It is time to stand up and Save Our Home. On Monday 15 April of this year, the International Rebellion will begin … It’s gonna be a lot of fun, but be prepared to stay. Because now’s the time to save the planet, as we all know there is no planet B. Be there.”

Notes for Editors:

[1] The 50 Venues hosting presentations of Letters To The Earth throughout the day on Friday 12 April are:

Aberdeen Performing Arts

Angora Poets, Paris

Arcola Theatre, London

Arts Admin, London

As It Is Theatre Company

Ashburton Arts Centre

Auburn University, Alabama USA

Baltic Climate Chain, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia

Battersea Arts Centre, London

Bunker Theatre, London

Cambridge Junction

Canada, via Zoom, hosted by Pegi Eyers in Otonabee Ontario

Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales

Centre for Contemporary Art and The Natural World, Dartington


Freedom Theatre, Palestine

Friends Meeting House, Canterbury

Fruits and Roots, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Harlow, Hallowell, Maine USA

Huddersfield Ukrainian Club

Kaleider, Exeter

Kanyama compound, Mumbwa road, Zambia

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Lucit, Pretoria, South Africa

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London

Metal Culture, Liverpool

Metal, South End

Museum of Liverpool

National Theatre Wales

North Wall, Oxford

Northwich Town Centre

ONCA Gallery, Brighton

Paddington Conservative Club, London

Pleasance Theatre London

Queen's Gardens, Nelson, New Zealand

Royal Court Theatre, London

Royal Exchange and Take Back Theatre, Manchester

Shakespeare's Globe, London

Shop Front Margate

St Augustines Parish Centre, Darlington

The Blue House, Mullumbimby, Australia

The Gate Theatre, London

The George Inn, Newnham

The Space, Isle of Dogs, London

Theatre503, London

Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Trowbridge Town Hall

Unit Four: The Cornucopia Room, Hawick Scottish Borders

University of St Andrews

UpStage (online platform)

Walcot Chapel, Bath

Young Vic Theatre, London

[2] International Rebellion

[3] About ‘Letters to the Earth’

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction event. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown.Carbon emissions and temperatures keep rising; ecological collapse has begun. On this course we are likely to see abrupt and irreversible devastation. The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.

Letters to the Earth urged people to write a letter of response to this crisis. These could be a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea was open to interpretation: it could come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation was open to all - to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis. It’s an opportunity to ask how this existential threat affects the way we wish to live our lives and the action we take.  

All submitted letters will be released today for presentation across theatres, arts venues and community spaces. Some venues are opening their doors free of charge to the public, others are live-streaming. High profile readers alongside young people and local communities are involved in the presentation of these letters. Some venues are holding open conversation as part of the day's activity to bring people together in the face of this crisis.

One 20 minute piece for performance, that brings together a selection of the voices, will then be made rights free and available for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15th – 28th April, coinciding with the International Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate. This piece could be taken up to be presented and performed globally, when hundreds of thousands of people will be taking to the streets worldwide to demand that governments tell the truth about climate collapse and act accordingly.

[3] About Culture Declares Emergency

Culture Declares Emergency, created by a group of concerned individuals and institutions from the arts and culture sector, launched 3rd April, with more than 190 leading UK arts and culture institutions and individuals having declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. The first wave of Declarers include some of London’s best known arts and cultural venues including The Royal Court, The Lyric Hammersmith, The Gate Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre as well as actor Tamaryn Payne from Hollyoaks and Peter Kosminsky, director of Wolf Hall and Secret State.

[4] About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by its Government. Extinction Rebellion’s topline demands:

  • Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  • Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

The Extinction Rebellion Climate Factsheet for Rebels https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events

And while your time and energy are the most important things, if you are financially able to donate money, see our Fundrazr crowdfunder.