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Conscious Oil - an evening of theatre, music and art

AAT, 15th November 2011

The event was organised by Awel Aman Tawe (AAT), and advertised on their website as ‘An evening of theatre, music and art around the story of oil, from its humble sacred beginnings to our thirst for more and more of the 'black gold'.’


For EVALOC purposes, the event provided an ideal opportunity to conduct research about the effectiveness of the arts in learning about energy and climate change, and track the changes and responses experienced by both participants and audience members. A complementary strand of research is being conducted with participants involved in the series of arts and climate change projects which were directly funded by DECC’s LCCC funding.


The aims of research at the event were to gather evidence on:

  • Motivations for involvement in events

  • Changes in attitudes to climate change / energy reduction

  • Changes in awareness  / knowledge / skills about energy reduction

  • Social learning about energy and climate change

  • The role of the arts in engaging people with energy: what space does it create for deliberation and discussion? Is this different to other information / sources of interaction?


Attendance at the event

The event was advertised locally through AAT’s channels, plus posters, local websites, local BBC arts blog, and local print and radio media. Those involved with the event also invited people to come.

Approximately 70 people attended the event as audience. In addition, the number of participants totalled around 65, consisting of 3 actors, around 30 members of the community choir, 10-15 youths in the Mess up the Mess performance, 16 participants in the Play in a Day, plus script writers who were present, and Emily Johns,  who had her large prints on display.


Format and Process

The event was organised by Emily Hinshelwood from AAT, working on their arts and climate change project.  The event was creative and artistic, combining theatre, art and music.

The different elements in the event were:

  • Performance of scripts from the script writers’café, which were inspired by the large prints created by the artist Emily Johns. The scripts were performed by professional actors, underneath the print that had inspired the script. 

  • The Murton choir is a community choir based in Swansea, who performed songs throughout the first half of the evening from the stage.

  • The ‘Play in a day’ ‘We’re off to see the albatross’ was created on the Saturday before the event, under the direction of the theatre director. It was skit on 'To See the Rabbit' by Alan Brownjohn. It included a play, together with reflections on communicating climate change, and the role of arts.

  • The launch of Emily Johns’ prints called ‘Conscious Oil’. Her large prints were displayed around the hall, and she gave an introductory background talk to the prints at the beginning of the second half.

  • A local Youth theatre group, Mess up the Mess, performed a piece called ‘You can’t handle the truth!’ in the second half. Physical theatre and vignettes about oil and waste were woven together.

  • Local story teller Diana Marquand told stories of her experience of local miners in the area.

  • The evening was introduced and compered by Emily Hinshelwood from AAT.


The audience were sat cabaret style in the centre of the room, whilst performances occurred around the room, under the prints and on the main stage. The bar area had the AAT stall, and informal chatting.


Feedback forms (mostly open-ended questions in English and Welsh) were distributed at the event, and collected immediately after wards. A link to an online survey monkey survey was circulated to participants after the event.  

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