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Vanderbilt Eco-Grief Performance Project & Commission

Theatre Department

Vanderbilt Eco-Grief Performance Project & Commission:

Vanderbilt is commissioning three short plays dealing with eco-grief, the complex mixture of emotions—sorrow, guilt, terror, and a sense of complicity, among others—that consideration of climate change and environmental degradation give rise to. We will pay each playwright $5000 and fully produce the plays in the fall of 2024 at Vanderbilt University. We have planned a process that will include interaction with undergraduate students studying environmental science as well as theatre. If you are interested in applying to write one of these plays, please submit a writing sample (any full-length play), a resume, and a one paragraph statement reflecting your understanding or experience with eco-grief by May 12, 2023 to the email address below.


More details:

This project grows out of an intuition that the feelings surrounding climate change and the difficulty of achieving political consensus on how to address it can feel overwhelming, making necessary conversations difficult to manage. We are interested in using performance as a way of acknowledging the emotional toll of reckoning with our environment and through that reckoning, promote much needed discussion of the changes that await us.


The plan:

We will commission three playwrights to write short plays (30-35 minutes playing time) and pay each playwright $5000 in two $2500 installments, one in June 2023 and one upon delivery of the final draft in Sept. 2024.

During the fall of 2023, playwrights will meet three times (remotely) with environmental studies students who can help them with research and serve as scientific consultants and sounding boards as the playwright begins work. In the spring of 2024, we will bring the playwrights to campus for developmental readings of the plays. The final scripts will be due in the summer of 2024. We will fully stage the plays in the fall of 2024 using sustainable materials and practices.


To Apply:

Send a writing sample (a full-length play), a one paragraph statement articulating your experience and understanding of eco-grief, and a resume to Dr. Leah Lowe at by May 12 at 11:59pm CT.

Vanderbilt’s Eco-grief Performance Project is sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Communication of Science and Technology Program, the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy, and the VU Department of Theatre.