Gloucester Stage Brings Together Art, Activism, Community in Three Days of Climate Action Plays This Weekend


A three-day performance festival will take place this weekend in the name of climate change at the Gloucester Stage Company.  Called Water's Rising: Festival of New Climate Action Plays, the inaugural event is hooked to Earth Day and will feature three staged readings of three new plays that delve into the multifaceted themes of climate change.

Starting this Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28, the play will begin each day at 7 p.m. and include three productions: A Few Fun Facts About Greenland by Maximilian GillCincinnati 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

"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.’,” said the theater's Artistic Director Rebecca Bradshaw.  “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 and its more than 62 miles of shoreline, the theater recognizes the urgency of addressing climate change with the building itself located in FEMA’s high-risk flood zone.  GSC Managing Director Christopher Griffith said that fundamental fact inspired the production.

"With the 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,” said Griffith.  “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.  In the end, all environmental advocacy themes were considered.  The theater’s literary team selected three plays from over 240 submissions for this weekend’s performance program; each matched with a local director who resonated deeply with the work.

"By pairing art with advocacy, we can deepen our connection to our earth's future," said Griffith.

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.

All performances for  Water's Rising: Festival of New Climate Action Plays are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7 p.m. at Gloucester Stage Company, located at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester. Tickets are $20, and a Festival Pass to all three plays is $50. Information and tickets are at


Friday, April 26, 7 p.m. | 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.

Saturday, April 27, 7 p.m. | CINCINNATI BY THE SEA 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.

Sunday, April 28, 7 p.m. | 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. 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.