"New Atlantis acts to raise awareness about sustainability and climate change; it is not often I leave the theatre feeling like I have truly learnt something, much less feeling like I want to actually do something about it."
Official Theatre


New Atlantis explores the complex relationship between the climate emergency and water security. By transporting the audience into a future in which Miami is abandoned due to rising sea levels and water austerity is crushing a drought-ridden London, we do away with any doubt that the subject needs to be taken seriously. Water security is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity.

Globalisation has lost its dominance and with it the power of the UN has waned. Under the leadership of Bryony Weller, the UN is transformed into New Atlantis, an organisation focused on bringing about one planet living. The organisation quickly splinters into three groups, three ideologies: Reform, Industry and Defence.

Reform believes that humanity can achieve sustainability through behaviour change and responsible living. Industry looks for answers in scientific and technological innovation. Defence proposes that the planet has enough resources but that they need to be managed centrally, they need to be defended.

Initially all runs smoothly but the division New Atlantis is founded upon runs deep.

Out of the blue, Bryony Weller calls an emergency assembly. Rumours of her ill health have circulated for years. She waited as long as she could to ensure the organisation's stability but the time has come to step down. A power vacuum is created that puts the organisation in a spin, as the various departments, and their leaders, vie for control of New Atlantis.

But in the wings, wait Generation Alpha. A youth movement frustrated by the lack of opportunities for young people and seeking greater justice for the climate climates of previous generations.

Can they cause a revolution? And what will it look like?
Cast included:

Tricia Kelly (National Theatre, RSC, EastEnders, My Family), Nicola Blackman (The English Shakespeare Company, Stafford Castle, Park Theatre), Jonathan Jayes (National Theatre, Duke of Yorks Theatre, York Theatre Royal), Claude Stirling (Marlowe Theatre, Jackson’s Lane), Marie Fortune (Park Theatre, New Diorama, Old Vic Tunnels), Amie Burns Walker (RSC, Secret Cinema, Hull Truck Theatre Company), Jo Bowis (National Theatre, Les Enfants Terribles, Punchdrunk), Kieran Gough (Theatre503, National Theatre, Blood Brothers) and Brett Dawes (Theatre 503).

The Experts:

Dr Hugh Mortimer, Rutherford Appleton Labs
Dr Helen Czerski, UCL
Ilan Kelman, UCL
Sammie Buzzard, UCL
Ben Lishman, UCL
Tarit K. Mukhopadhyay, UCL
Dr Paul Hellier, UCL
Dr Nick Bradbeer, UCL
Liz Sharp, Pennine Water Group

Creative Team:

Director: Barra Collins
Writers: Barra Collins & Michael Keane
Set & Costume Design: Sean Turner
Sound Design: Stephen Dobbie
Video Design: Potion Pictures
Producer: Andy Franzkowiak


Mary Halton
It seemed like rather a lot was at stake in New Atlantis. We’re read a news report in the atrium of The Crystal, a weirdly beautiful glass oddity on the bank of the Thames, about a world in which clean, accessible water is scarce, and climate change’s devastating effects have finally been taken seriously. We are, we learn, agents of New Atlantis. We have around 90 minutes to explore the building, meet the staff of the departments of Industry, Reform and Defence, and then cast our deciding vote for one of their leaders to take New Atlantis (and, by extension, humanity) safely through the troubling times ahead.

The beauty of what The Enlightenment Café have done in mingling scientists with actors is that it makes you completely unafraid to be curious, to prod at what they’re doing and talking about, to explore. The more we explored, the more real the science clearly was, the more obvious its effects on the world, the more we cared about the outcome of the decision we could make. Also; we could make a decision…Suddenly it mattered…I’m being asked to make a stark choice and I have to look at my own very real personal politics to do so.

I have two personal criteria for pieces of performance; I want them to challenge me, and/or I want them to change me. New Atlantis challenged my politics and it change, well, two days later I stopped prevaricating and applied for my MSc.




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