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  • Writer's pictureBecky Wallis

The Gretchen Question - New play to explore the climate emergency

The climate crisis is a major topic of conversation these days, with many ongoing discussions trying to find solutions to the problems and a desperation to source alternative means of power racing to the forefront. It’s a hard-hitting topic but one that the theatre world isn’t shying away from and soon Fuel Theatre, well known for producing ‘fresh work for adventurous people by inspiring artists’, will be presenting a brand-new show that looks directly at the issue.

‘The Gretchen Question’, co-written by Melly Still and Max Barton, looks at the climate emergency through the eyes of three different women.

‘Gretchen bears witness to the discoveries of world exploration at the Royal Society in the late 18thcentury. Maisie is an influencer with a questionable new brand partnership. Lulit is in turmoil, struggling to remember what happened to her last night. Through these interwoven stories, The Gretchen Question dissects how we have arrived at the current climate emergency’

This new production, which will be staged in the grounds of the hidden architectural gem ‘The Master Shipwright’s House’ in Deptford, takes inspiration from the past, inviting the audience to question exactly what the future holds for us.

Produced by Fuel Theatre in collaboration with Shipwright, ‘The Gretchen Question’ is part of the We Are Lewisham, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022, and is co-commissioned by Fuel, the Albany and We Are Lewisham. It is set to run between 22 September and 2 October and will feature original composition by Second Body and design by E.M. Parry.

Lauren Moakes will play Gretchen, who witnesses the Royal Society return from a polar expedition in the 18th century with a mysterious oyster, promising unlimited wealth on the eve of industrial revolution. Tamaira Hesson will play Lulit, who wakes up on an ice rink, struggling to remember what happened the night before and Yohanna Ephrem will play Maisie, who sets out to livestream from the Arctic as part of a brand partnership.

They will be joined by Ryan Gerald, Katherine Manners, Alex Mugnaioni, Al Nedjair and Christopher Saul.

The Master Shipwright’s House and Office is one of the only remaining parts of Deptford’s former royal dockyard. Since being brought and restored by its current owners in 1998, over 100 years after its closure in 1869, it has been a home and creative space for artists, performers, and audiences from around the world.

Fuel will host three events alongside ‘The Gretchen Question’ at the Shipwright Theatre in Deptford. The three sessions will be an extension of the play and will allow the audiences to reflect more widely of the topics covered whilst learning new skills. Two of these sessions are commissioned by Sounds Like Chaos who will deliver the sessions with Fuel’s support. The third is commissioned and delivered by Young Wilders with the Shipwright Producing support.

Tickets for ‘The Gretchen Question’ can be purchased here


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