CCL in Action: Toby Peach, Sustainability Adventure in Learning UK

Toby Peach is a UK-based theatre maker and artist who has received high critical acclaim for his previous shows such as The Eulogy of Toby Peach. He received a CCL in Action local development grant to support a research and development phase for a Sustainability Adventure in Learning immersive theatre project in partnership with KIT Theatre, aimed at engaging primary school children in environmental sustainability.

As part of this project, Toby met with UK climate charity 10:10 to discuss their approach to engaging KS2 students and where they had seen challenges and successes in their education programmes in the past. Toby also undertook further research into the current KS2 curriculum and engaged with teachers at a London Primary School to explore how this kind of theatre-based Adventure in Learning project could connect.

Together with Tom Bowtell of KIT Theatre, Toby has developed a prototype story to explore how students can feel empowered and encouraged to make a change. The story would see the students facing the prospect of their school closing, unless they can find ways to make it more sustainable. This would see pupils researching into climate and sustainability, prompting school wide engagement in a common goal and demonstrating the agency the pupils have in the wider community by taking the action beyond the school walls. An initial pilot engagement with a Year 6 class is scheduled for May 2019.

This project has highlighted the huge gap and opportunity for a playful, creative, and engaging approach of this kind for schools, and Toby is currently working to secure additional funding to take the project to the next stage of scaling up to further schools.

Alongside this on-going development, Toby is also exploring other opportunities for engaging with young people in participatory, creative explorations around environmental sustainability, designed to give them a sense of agency, empowerment, and stake in political decision-making.

One such example is Codename: Violet. As leader of youth theatre company Young Coneys, Toby devised a playful theatrical protest against air pollution together with the Young Coney members and in partnership with environmental campaigning organisation Greenpeace. This theatrical direct action saw young people dressed as doctors confront attendees at a car industry dinner in London about air pollution, urging them to Ditch Diesel. The intervention gained coverage in UK national press and thousands of impressions on social media https://www.instagram.com/greenpeaceuk/p/BquogoMgrBX/