The Greenest Musical on Earth premieres in Durban

By Tierney Smith
RTCC in Durban

We live in One World and that world must be protected. That was the message from the children of Addington Primary School in Durban last night on the opening night of RTCC’s Climate Change Musical.

Children performing the One World musicalWhen we first heard about the concept of the Climate Change Musical, none of us really knew how it would play out in the end. Producing an hour long musical to be performed at COP17, which could then be packaged up and available for all schools around the world?

Not to mention teaching it to a group of 29 school children in just five days. But last night, the hard work of the children and the team from Upstage Musical Productions showed as the opening night went off without a hitch.

They were performing to a packed out room at the Rio Convention Centre, to an audience which included UNFCCC Chief Christiana Figueres and COP17 president Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, if there were any nerves, they hid them very well.

Before the show, Zola Dlamini, 14 told me: “We’re very excited for tonight and not nervous at all. It has been a great five days, really fun and very interesting.”

The story takes a look at climate change through the eyes of a child – as they compete in a climate change essay competition – as they learn about and engage with the topic.

The music and the choreography – partnered with the children’s unbound enthusiasm – makes it an hour of energy, and at times elements of drama, as the children act out a world where climate change has taken hold.

Dressed in their brightly coloured t-shirts, with a few added extras – glasses for the teacher, ties for the delegates – the children helped to light up, the somewhat dark venue for the musical, and their eagerness was partnered with their real talent.

Sarah Umuhire, Zola Dlamini and Yesha Bakunde before the performance

And both on and off the stage the children’s passion for the topic shone through. Speaking before the show Sarah Umuhire, 13, the school’s head girl told me why climate change was so important to them. She said: “We already do a lot about climate change at school, we have assemblies about it and we attend workshops learning how to recycle and all about planting.”

“We want to help to change the world and for it to become a better place.”

Yesha Bakunde, also 13 added: “We want to keep the world safe for both our generations as we grow up and for the future generations, for the babies we are going to have, and the babies they are going to have. It’s our one mother earth.”

The others then chimed in that they also wanted to see an end to natural disasters.

As countries are gathering in Durban to discuss and debate towards a new climate deal to follow Kyoto, the children from Addington Primary School and their passion for the subject can be seen as a positive message going forward in the conference.

Repeating the lyrics from the final song, Figueres thanked the children for their hard work. She said: “We can see, we can feel, we’re trying, we’re trying. We are going to do the best job we can for you but honestly I don’t think we could do anything like what you have done in six days. Thank you so much for your inspiration and thank you so much for your great work. And yes you absolutely have to take this to every school in the world.”

If you missed the show last night, it will be performed again this evening – the final performance at this year’s COP conference – taking place at Durban’s premier Arts and live performance hub, the BAT Centre from 7pm.

It is definitely not to be missed.


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