COAL catalyzes and supports creative climate engagement and leadership. The heart of COAL is the musical production, which we offer in two forms:
Every performance of COAL will be accompanied by a series of activities designed to build community and engineer creative spaces for dialogue and response. COAL supports us in moving from our current stance in which we are paralyzed—not knowing what to do or how to act—to seeing ourselves as part of the solution.
COAL will have a full-scale premiere in San Francisco (October 2016) with our venue/theater partner Z Space/Theater Artaud. After years of innovative participatory book and score development, with a wide range of communities across the country and a stellar creative team, COAL is poised to be a magical experience and catalytic force for climate stability as we transition to 100% clean energy and our renewed connection to each other and our living planet.
COAL is a musical storytelling technology that can be adapted by communities. We provide partners with everything that they need to make COAL their own, including the script, musical score, and a comprehensive toolkit to assist groups developing community partnerships, convening engagement activities, and facilitating dialogue.
COAL, often called the Vagina Monologues of climate work, invites host groups, communities, cities and more to identify and express their unique contributions to climate stability through connecting and sharing efforts around the country and the world. As the scaleable, adaptable production is done around dinner tables, in churches, schools and theatres, COAL Sparks can share and connect through an online platform and feel part of the web of solutions – the Sparks that light our path ahead.
COAL is a project of Littleglobe, a New Mexico-based non-profit committed to interdisciplinary, collaborative art projects that foster life-affirming connections across the boundaries that divide us. COAL stands on the shoulders of Littleglobe’s many years of successful arts and community work.
COAL The Musical will officially premiere in October 2016 at ZSpace in San Francisco!
This Spring COAL launched a two-year residency with NCSSM, a public, residential high school in Durham, North Carolina. Headmaster, Steve Warshaw, attended COAL’s work-in-progress performance at The University of North Carolina and contacted COAL about bringing the project to NCSSM. COAL’s musical team spent several days in residency at the school, workshopping the songs and characters with students. The NCSSM faculty team will be collaborating with COAL’s artistic team to develop high school dissemination materials, for a high school rollout following the premiere.
COAL has been in partnership with UNCG for the last two years, a collaboration initiated by UNCG’s Director of Sustainability and Professor of Music, Aaron Allen. This Fall, COAL will be moving towards a full-scale development residency with UNCG, which will include developing a dissemination strategy for colleges and universities.
Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2015 the creative team will be holding sessions with local actors to bring the characters alive and refine the script. In August, the creative team gathers again for an intensive session on story and script.
In February the creative team gathered for ten days to continue work completed in New York City in the Fall of 2014. The team strengthened the creative metaphors and architecture of the COAL story, focused on further character development and composed new songs.
In Spring of 2015, Artistic Director Molly Sturges traveled to Montana to set up partnerships with communities along the coal train route. Partners in the region include Wild Earth Guardians, University of Montana, Northern Plains Resource Council and more. The team will return to Montana this fall to secure sites for small-scale productions of COAL, working with the communities to leverage COAL as a way to bring new people into the conversation about fossil fuels and climate change.
COAL Premiere at ZSpace in
COAL Residency with North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM)
COAL Residency at University of North Carolina- Greensboro
COAL Santa Fe On-Going
Santa Fe Creative Team Residency
COAL to Montana
In 2009 I was awarded The United States Artists Fellowship. This award afforded me time and resources. My response was to delve into issues around climate change and see if there was some artistic response that would be personally meaningful and could expand our dialogue, connection, and response to the major events occurring in these times. I wanted to contribute to a movement towards positive envisioning and collective insight as opposed to simply averting disaster. COAL became a means to create spaces and opportunities for us to connect us to our shared humanity.
Frustrated by theme-based projects that oversimplify, the path to finding a starting point has not been obvious. Convinced that climate change is hard to relate to, I committed myself to creating a musical out of my belief that songs and story can foster the emotional connection so desperately needed in this conversation.
This is not a project about right and wrong—it is about what connects us to one another and to the communities with whom we share the planet. It is about what we must let go of and what we must carry with us as we create and remember regenerative relationships. I am not interested in projects that prescribe solutions but that lead us more deeply to our own personal and collective resources inherent in each individual and community. I am interested in nuance, multiplicity, inquiry, dialogue and elevating a wide range of community voices.
COAL contains within it a predicament. The answer to our central social and environmental challenges may not be found in the current language and perceptions that dominate. Rather it may be found in our collective insight—and this is what I seek to create through this musical story, a deep interaction that brings us face to face with creating our shared future through our feeling, participatory creative exchanges and shared reflection and dialogue.
Having worked with many communities around the globe I am aware of the myriad of world views and cosmologies that hold notions of climate change in radically different ways. I care about these differences and am committed to an elegant expression of this multiplicity that welcomes us into a textured global imagining of our future.
Molly Sturges, Santa Fe, NM
Artistic Director/Founder, Composer Lyricist,
Story & Character Development
Molly is the Founding Artistic Director of Littleglobe, a diverse artist collaborative devoted to arts and social change. She is best known for hybrid projects integrating performance, creative exchange and social and environmental equity and health. She has created large-scale performance and engagement projects with communities around the globe for over 17 years. Awards and commissions include 2008 United States Artist Fellowship in Music, The European Union Festival of Culture, Santa Fe Opera, MAP Fund, Stockton International Arts Festival, Blackrock, New World Foundation, National Hispanic Cultural Center and many more. Molly is on the faculty of The University of New Mexico (Art &Ecology), The Academy for the Love of Learning (Co-Founder of Lifesongs) and is a national advisor on several cultural strategy initiatives (Rockwood, Opportunity Agenda).
Molly holds an MA in music composition from Wesleyan University. She has been an artist-in-residence with a wide range of communities including the Scotland’s Art-In-Hospital program, Fathom (UK), and Gilda’s Clubhouse (NYC). Molly is a devoted musical improviser and student of artistic experimental practices and community-sourced art making. She speaks several languages, and works as an artist-in residence, workshop leader, guest speaker and facilitator both abroad and in the United States. She is also a performing vocalist, recording artist, and leader of creative music ensembles. She has written and performed original music for a wide array of projects, including music for dance companies, silent films, circuses and sound installations.
Theatrical Director, Collaborative Book Writer,
Story & Character Development
Acushla is a multidisciplinary theatre artist whose work and interests lie at the intersection between the performing arts and the recorded art. In addition to her freelance work as a director, she serves as the artistic co-director of Angel Exit,an international performance collective based in England and Ireland. Recent directing projects include staged productions of Samuel Beckett’s radio-playWords and Music (Santa Fe New Music); Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (Chatter:Ensemble, UNM); Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera (The Santa Fe Opera); a site-specific performance of stories from 1001 Arabian Nights (Todi Arte Festival, Umbria); NinoRota’s I Due Timidi (The Santa Fe Opera); Apprentice Scenes (The Santa FeOpera) and Pirandello’s The Mountain Giants (Festival Internazionale dell’Attore, Naples).
Acushla is also an actor, a movement artist, an educator and workshop facilitator who has worked extensively in Europe and the United States. Since2002, she has been an artist in residence and the artistic manager of the StudentProduced Opera program for The Santa Fe Opera. Acushla is a graduate ofTrinity College Dublin, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, École de ThéatreJacques Lecoq in Paris and an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.
Producing Director, Story & Character Development
Jaimie is the Executive Producer of Don’t Eat The Pictures Productions, a theatre, film, and event production company dedicated to developing and seeding new work. Select producing credits include the Broadway production of [title of show], Armless, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, and "100 Under 2", the opening for Yotel Times Square, featuring 100 site-specific acts hotel-wide.
In the philanthropic and innovation realm, Jaimie is a speaker and consultant on next generation and intergenerational philanthropy, having presented across the U.S., Canada, and Israel. She is a Trustee and Secretary of The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and is the past Chair of the Council on Foundations Film and Video Festival. Jaimie holds an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University’s School of The Arts.
Composer, orchestrator, arranger, performer (bass), educator. Collaborated with wide range of award winning musicians including Peter Buck, Jimmer Messer, Coleman Barks, Tosca Tango Orchestra and more. He has recorded and toured with Grammy nominated songwriters Alejandro Escovedo, Kim Richie, and Patty Griffin. His compositions have been featured on National Geographic News Watch, PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA as well as numerous commercials, documentaries, and short films.
Strategic Miracles Director
Kristin is a social change leader, with a focus on where care for the planet meets advocacy for equality and justice. She consults on strategy, programs and organizational development for nonprofits, foundations and social enterprises.For three years, Kristin was the Program Director at Tunitas Creek Ranch/New Priorities Foundation, a foundation and working farm that hosted educational programs and retreats. She previously served as the Managing Director of Green for All, an organization she helped to found, which is working to build an inclusive green economy.
For many years, Kristin worked as the Director of Programs at Bioneers, where she led efforts to widen participation in ecological and community restoration, particularly among underserved youth. Her background includes nonprofit management, teaching, community organizing and marketing strategy. Kristin serves on the Board of Trustees for the Tyler Rigg Foundation and also on the Board of Directors for Windcall and Edventure More.
Collaborative Book Writer, Dramaturg, Story & Character Development
Nancy is a writer, producer and script developer working in theatre, television and film in New York City. Her most recent writing includes Tips to Avoid Rap(e), a short satirical play (Drama Therapy Grad Program NYU Steinhardt, 2015); Coal, a new musical in development (Little Globe, Santa Fe); Losing Her, a full-length dramedy in development; Running with Sharks “Pilot,” adapted from her 2013 short film. She is Founding Producer of Eyes Up Here Productions, worked in TV development (TV Land) and in film (Emerging Pictures, Columbia Film School). She also founded and served as Producing Artistic Director of Noor Theatre, where she produced Food and Fadwa (New York Theatre Workshop, 2012), developed and produced director-driven, The Myth Project (2013, 2014) and produced Highlight Reading Series (2011-2013). Past theatre includes: Williamstown Theatre Festival (Resident Dramaturg/Literary Manager), McCarter Theatre (Literary Assistant/Copywriter), Actors Theatre of Louisville (Literary Associate) and Passage Theatre (Resident Dramaturg/Artistic Consultant); she developed productions at NYTW, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Araca Group, New Georges, Arab-American Comedy Fest, Columbia University SoA and Carnegie Mellon SoD. She holds her M.F.A. in Theatre (Columbia University, School of the Arts) and her B.A. in English (Oakland University, Honors College). Nancyvitale.com
Musical Director, Composer
Born Molfetta, Italy, Enrico is a pianist, composer, music director and music technologist based in NYC. Graduated in Piano Performance and Jazz Music with highest honors from the N. Piccinni Conservatory, he moved to Boston on scholarship where he graduated with the highest honors in Electronic Production and Design from the Berklee College of Music.
He has worked with artists such as Tony and Grammy Award winning arranger Alex Lacamoire, Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress Meryl Streep, Pulitzer Prize nominated poet Cornelius Eady, ten time Grammy Award winning singer Bobby McFerrin, six time Grammy Award winner Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire), Grammy award winning jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano, and a myriad of other notable musicians and producers.
His credits include: Mamma Mia North American Tour 2013-14, BET 106&Park, Latin Billboard Music Awards 2008, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Instituto Superior de Artes (Cuba), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana (Cuba), Columbia University, International Community for Auditory Display (Washington, DC), Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China), Columbia University (NYC), New York University and the Interaction Design and Children Conference 2013.
Supporting Director and Performer
Elsa Menéndez is a writer, director, producer and performer with Tricklock Company and the Director of Education at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC). She has spent the last 30 years working in theatre around the world. In 1992 she co-founding BOOM!theatre, a theatre company within a men’s medium security prison comprised of individuals serving the longest sentences. Elsa served as associate artistic director /co-artistic director of Tricklock from 2004-2009.
She is the founder and director of the Circo Latino and Circo Radical summer youth institutes at NHCC.
Collaborative Book Writer, Story & Character Development
Georgina H. Escobar is a writer from Ciudad Juarez, México currently living in Manhattan. Escobar received her MFA from the University of New Mexico in Dramatic Writing. In 2004 at the height of the genocide in Ciudad Juarez, Escobar co-produced a bilingual/bi-cultural double production of The Vagina Monologues: Spotlight on the Women of Juarez in El Paso/Juarez starring Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Lila Aragon which benefited Casa Amiga of Juarez under the direction of Esther Chavez. She was awarded the "Outstanding Service to Women in The Border" by the University of Texas, El Paso.
Credits include: SWEEP, (LTC Carnaval 2015 at De Paul University),The Unbearable Likeness of Jones (Dixon Place), The WAYFOOT Series (In development: INTAR, originally developed at the National Puppetry Conference, 2014), COAL: Fable of the Firerock 2.0 (The Lensic, 2012); ASH TREE (Duke City Repertory, ASSITEJ Festival, Kennedy Center's National TYA Award); THE RUIN (Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Words Afire Festival of New Works, 2011). Artistic Development: OMPF (INTAR), The Brooklyn Generator (Brooklyn), HotInk Festival (The Lark), Literary Associate (2011-12) and Playwright Lab Instructor (NTI) Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Other work: Founder of Fourth Wall/One Blue Cat Productions, contributing writer for American Theatre Magazine, HowlRound, Café Onda, and Culturebot, Steering Committee Member for the Latina/o Theatre Commons.
Sarah Ruth, originally from Chicago, has been a professional graphic designer for 15 years and an environmentalist since childhood. As a designer, her clients have included the ABQ BioPark, La Casa Norte, Chicago Reporter, Alien Arts Recording Studio and The Black Star Project. As an environmental justice activist, Sarah Ruth was an active member of Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) which, in 2012 along with the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, effectively closed down two coal-fired power plants in Chicago’s working class Latino neighborhoods. As an educator, she has partnered with community organizations, including PERRO and Elevarte, teaching skills in mud stenciling, seed saving and art in activism. In 2014, Sarah Ruth performed with Circa PINTIG in their production of Scent of Home: Short Stories by Bienvenido Santos and was a bilingual song leader in the Opera-Matic community performance Moon on the Lagoon. Sarah Ruth continues her studio art practice in ceramics, is an avid community gardener and holds a BFA from Syracuse University. She is dedicated to the lifelong work of social and environmental justice and views COAL: The Musical as a pathway to climate action with heart.
Daniel Banks is a theatre director, choreographer, educator and dialogue facilitator; he is Co-Director of DNAWORKS, Dialogue and Healing through the Arts, Associate Director of Theatre Without Borders, and Chair of Performing Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
AARON S. ALLEN
Aaron S. Allen earned his Ph.D. from Harvard and is currently Associate
Professor of Music and director of the Environmental and Sustainability
Studies Program and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Veena Vasista is a storyteller, writer, mediator, dialogue facilitator and leadership co-navigator who supports social changemakers to step consciously into our creative power – individually and collectively. Connect with Veena on LinkedIn
Camila Thorndike is the co-founding director of Oregon Climate, a statewide grassroots campaign for fair and effective carbon pricing. She is a Udall Scholar, Fellow of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sitka Fellow, City of Ashland Nonprofit Conservationist of the Year, and Mic 50 awardee.
Adam Horowitz is Chief Instigator of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture
Diane R. Karp is an arts activist, arts educator, arts connector and devoted supporter of the creative process in all realms of society. She has worked as a curator at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, director of New Observations Magazine, and was the executive director of The Santa Fe Art Institute.
The Story of COAL
In this all-ages story of waking up to our impact on the world around us, we meet COAL, known in the story as Firerock, a 365 million year old source of power and wisdom. She sings of how she has fueled human innovation and powered their wildest dreams, but it only made them hungrier for more. Over time, humans fell under the power of the SNOOZE, a numbing slumber that prevents them from seeing their connection to all life, and from feeling their impact on the living world. They can only awaken if they open their hearts to the SPARK of awareness that helps them see and care for the world around them.
Firerock’s light illuminates Hopewell Junction. In this mining town, the humans pull Firerock from the earth, and all but one of them, the local healer Pippa are under the power of the SNOOZE. Pippa is the protector of the magical wildwood, where her helper, the bumbling Otter lives. Wildwood is the last pristine forest in the area and a place of magical singing trees. Under the wildwood runs a precious vein of COAL which many in Hopewell feel, if extracted, will help the town.
In a story of difficult choices and heart-felt relationships we follow a number of compelling characters in the process of awakening from the SNOOZE. We get to know Tai (the ambitious grandson of the owner of the mine and representative of the mining company PREM. CO), Ellis (Pippa’s estranged husband and beloved retired miner), and Anna (Pippa and Ellis’ daughter, a young woman struggling to manage the balance of work and school, and who is trying to discover who she is and what she cares about). In the final moments of COAL we meet members from the host community who join the actors on stage and the characters challenge the audience to shake off the Snooze, wake up to their impact on the world, and join together to make sustaining changes for the better through passing the spark from heart to heart.
In this heart-felt, humorous and moving story every voice and every action matters as we celebrate the true power we have individually and together to make a difference for generations to come.
Inspiring a critical shift in our collective identity, COAL is the spark, the fire inside each of us, to creatively act and take our place within an emerging culture of solutions.
Stay tuned for resources coming soon to our website to support bringing COAL to communities across the county.
Please help us get this important show on the road! We welcome your donations of any size. As COAL is a project of Littleglobe, please specify that you would like your donation to go directly to support COAL.
Compton Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, New Priorities Foundation, New World Foundation, Tyler Rigg Foundation, Santa Fe Community Foundation, Mrs. Robert B. Mayer Charitable Trust, Livingry Foundation, McCune Charitable Trust, Newton Family Fund, Tierney Family Foundation
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