2024 KCP Application
Customers & Partnerships
Primary Project Category:
Secondary Project Category:
Carbon Sinks (Natural & Engineered)
Social & Cultural Pathways
Transport and Mobility
Project Summary / Description:
Empatheatre, began in 2014 and officially registered in 2017 and is an award-winning social/environmental justice theatre company that uses a unique inclusive and accessible public story-telling methodology that begins with action-based and practice-based research in which co-participants and key partners work to identify matters of concern and a pressing central question. Through these research explorations the team of local performing artists/researchers work to iteratively shape the research data into an engrossing, relevant and true-to-life public storytelling experience. The theatre production offers new ways of seeing different perspectives on a complex situation, and above all honours the participants‚ narratives. We created Empatheatre, from a need to respond to complex, intractable problems in our immediate environment after noting how public debate, polarised thinking and a lack of empathetic dialogue was halting meaningful just transition and social/ecological justice in South Africa. Empatheatre was founded by Mpume Mthombeni, Neil Coppen and Dylan McGarry.
Regions of Operations:
How Project Affects Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions:
Reduces GHGs (e.g., projects that reduce sources of GHGs, such as through efficiency or other changes in consumption), Removes/stores GHGs (e.g., projects that capture, sequester, or otherwise enhance the "sinks" that accumulate and store GHGs)
Best Estimate of GHG Avoidance/Reduction of This Project (Tonnes CO2 Equivalent/Year):
Impact on Underrepresented Groups:
Empatheatre‚ primary objective is to work with underrepresented knowledge holders, and to ensure their concerns are co-defined with others and included in public storytelling processes and events. All our productions prioritise women, people of colour, youth and vulnerable climate communities. "The last Country" focused on migrant women‚ experiences in Durban South Africa, while Lalela uLwandle (Listen to the Sea) prioritised the voices of Indigenous concerns and questions around the blue economy‚ focus on oil and gas exploration in South Africa. Our more recent production Umkhosi Wenala/Festival of Abundance a Zulu musical focuses on the concerns of customary rights holders to indigenous land, and unpacked the past 200 years of colonial dispossession and environmental and cultural genocide in the region. In this play of the 15 member cast, 12 of the actors were women, and responded carefully to the ways in which women‚ voices are silenced in government and traditional authority procedures in decision making. Our play Soil and Ash/Umhlaba Nolahle worked with coal mine affected communities, and priotised the stories and experiences of communities who have been relocated for mining and other forms of fossil fuel extraction. Our animation The Blue Blanket'' which was used along with our play as evidence in three court cases against Oil and Gas Giant‚ Shell‚ plans to extract oil and gas from our oceans; focuses on the spiritual and intangible heritage of the oceans, and how African intangible heritage will be made more vulnerable to oil and gas expansion in the South African economy.
Research or Economic Modeling
Measurement, Reporting & Validation
project's specific regions of operation. (150 words max) * Empatheatre is based in South Africa, we have worked across several regions, with our work predominantly taking place in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Gauteng. We are working in Namibia this year supporting research with the One Ocean Hub, and have performed at COP27 in Egypt in Nov 2022. We are also headed to Rome in March 2023, to perform our play Lalela uLwandle at the FAO and UN artisanal fishers and ocean defence special meeting. Our unique methodology is currently taught in Universities in the UK, USA, Caribbean and Canada.