Comedy in the Classroom

innovative teaching in higher education, using the performing arts to engage and inspire students

Theoretical Theatre: Sustainable Consumption

If everyone in the world lived the way we do in the UK, we’d need three planets to provide all the resources. But we only have one planet, so something has to give. But how do we persuade people to change their lifestyles to achieve more sustainable consumption? This Theoretical Theatre introduces four theories with very different answers, in a Mastermind-style quiz and Question Time-style debate.

It asks big questions such as ‘Why do we consume the way we do?’ ‘What drives our behaviour and how might we persuade people to consume more sustainably?’ These are questions social scientists and policymakers struggle with every day and there are no easy answers. By bringing the theories to life and having them argue with each other, we invite students to see the world from several different viewpoints.

This was the first of our Theoretical Theatres, developed by Gill Seyfang for the MSc module Sustainable Consumption, in the School of Environmental Sciences, UEA. First performed 2012 – see the 2016 cast here! and read about the students’ responses here.


Watch the teaser trailer:

and the full-length performance (35m).

This 2015 performance features Gill Seyfang, Jason Chilvers, Tom Hargreaves, Noel Longhurst and Helen Pallett.

img_2568Later in the module, students work in groups to take on one of the characters and tackle a sustainable consumption issue from their own character’s perspective. They develop their character and present their arguments in a mini-version of this performance, with a chance to interact with the others, bringing out the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory.