Caliban is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with a focus on the threat of climate change. What inspired this creative direction? The director, Dave Kelman pitched the Ensemble the idea, but set in the Pacific Islands. I didn’t realise climate change was real, until there was this post of the Samoan president saying “Please help us. We’re sinking.” That’s what motivated me.
Caliban began life as a street show for Big West Festival in 2015, before developing into grander and more powerful things. What were the most important elements during the process? We had to have specific characters in order to represent the world. Lucky for us our group is diverse – we’ve got South Sudanese, Nigerian, Croation, Vietnamese, Samoan and Afghani. For the Caliban steet show, we wanted to exaggerate those characters and make sure they were real.
I was born in Sunshine, raised in Australia. The process of doing Caliban enabled me to do my own research. I started questioning the education system. It’s made me do a lot of research. Not just on my culture, but the things that are happening.
What about the discussion on climate change makes cultural diversity so important? It affects everyone in the world. To some people it’s a myth, to some people it’s not. But it’s real. It’s when we work together that it really helps. I never took climate change seriously until now. Until we started this process.