Gloucester Stage Will Present WATER'S RISING: Festival Of New Climate Action Plays

The festival runs from Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28, 2024.

By: Mar. 26, 2024
Gloucester Stage Will Present WATER'S RISING: Festival Of New Climate Action Plays
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GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY has announced the inaugural launch of its festival, Water's Rising: Festival of New Climate Action Plays. Timed to coincide with Earth Day, this inaugural festival will showcase staged readings of three new plays that delve into the multifaceted themes of climate change.

From Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28, 2024, Gloucester Stage will present at 7:00 p.m. each evening staged readings of the festival's three winning plays: A Few Fun Facts About Greenland by Maximilian Gill, Cincinnati by the Sea by Hannah Vaughn, and If nobody does remarkable things by Emma Gibson. Each selected play illuminates the climate crisis from a vastly different perspective and unique viewpoints, transporting us from Greenland to post-flood Cincinnati to the International Space Station.

Artistic Director Rebecca Bradshaw emphasizes the theater's commitment to supporting new voices and fostering conversations on pressing issues in saying, "Gloucester Stage was established with the mission to uplift new plays through premieres and staged readings. Since our inception, we have maintained an accessible play submission process for playwrights and have produced a total of 39 world, 7 national, and 35 New England premieres, all to critical acclaim."

She goes on to add, "After a summer in Gloucester, it became obvious how critical and ephemeral the waters are to this community. When I lived in Ithaca, NY I passed a piece of graffiti on my daily commute saying "THE WATER IS RISING". That forewarning prodded me to do something more than talk to folks within my bubble or donate to my local climate activist. The goal of this festival is to marry poignant storytelling of live theatre with this urgent message. Each reading will be paired with a local conservationist, researcher, and/or climate activist that can speak to the themes of the piece and help to answer the age-old question, "but what can I do?". I hope the festival will leave audiences moved by the performances and create impactful conversations to take with them."

Located in Gloucester, a coastal town with more than 62 miles of shoreline, facing the realities of rising sea levels, the theater recognizes the urgency of addressing climate change with the building itself located in FEMA's high-risk flood zone. Christopher Griffith, Managing Director, acknowledges this, saying, "With our stage door of our iconic waterfront theater overlooking Smith's Cove along Rocky Neck, we want to celebrate our surroundings while creating avenues for awareness and continued conversation about our collective future. In the face of one of the most significant and immediate global challenges, Gloucester Stage is proud to present these impactful plays that remind us of our shared responsibility toward the planet and underscore the imperative for climate action."

For this festival, submissions were invited for full-length plays tackling climate action, with a specific emphasis on coastal climate change. However, all environmental advocacy themes were considered. The Theater's Literary Team carefully selected three plays from over 240 submissions for the performance weekend, each matched with a local director who resonated deeply with the work.

Celebrating its 45th season, Gloucester Stage believes in the power of art to inspire action. "By pairing art with advocacy, we can deepen our connection to our earth's future," remarks Griffith.

A Few Fun Facts About Greenland by Maximillian Gill unfolds amidst the vast expanse of the Greenland ice cap. Here, an astrophysicist leads a team searching for evidence of an extraterrestrial object. However, the arrival of a glaciologist researching glacier melt and a tech entrepreneur financing the endeavor throws her project into disarray. As scientific inquiry clashes with the human need to believe in something greater, everyone has strong opinions on how to save the planet.

Cincinnati by the Shore by Hannah Vaughn unveils a post-deluge world where a year and a half has passed since the Great Flood. While grappling with the fact that her wife Cleo has abandoned the family, Freddie finds her life unraveling at the seams. Amidst the tumultuous aftermath, she struggles to keep her family together as they face life's daily challenges. Her relationship with her son, Noah, reaches a breaking point, and he runs away, leaving her one last chance to find him and save her fractured family.

Amidst the tumult of a category 6 dust storm, a cargo ship took shelter in the nearby harbor. Onboard is Joel, who needs somewhere to stay. While Paul advocates for his rescue, Anna hesitates, haunted by what Joel did 14 years ago. If nobody does remarkable things by Emma Gibson, delves into themes of climate change and forgiveness, probing the consequences of irreparable actions and the boundaries of redemption.

In addition to the staged readings, each play will be followed by a talkback session featuring climate experts. These experts will address the themes of the theatrical piece, highlight organizations taking action, and discuss the impact of climate change on Gloucester and the global landscape.

Water's Rising: Festival of New Climate Action Plays promises to be an enlightening and thought-provoking event, bringing together art, activism, and community engagement. This festival has been made possible in part by a donation from Peter Van Demark in honor of Dr. Kathleen Van Demark, who passionately cared for both performing arts and natural resources like the Great Marsh. For ticket and show information, visit


All performances for Water's Rising: Festival of New Climate Action Plays, are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:00 pm at Gloucester Stage Company located at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester.

Tickets are now available for sale for the Water's Rising Festival. Single ticket prices are $20 or a Festival Pass to each of the three plays is available for $50. For detailed ticket information, visit

For additional ticket information, contact the Box Office at 978.281.4433 or Located at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, the Box Office is open Tuesdays thru Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.