You’re Safe is a six-year project about planetary transformation. Playwright David Finnigan, musician Reuben Ingall and dramaturge Ness Roque are creating a cycle of six new theatre shows, one each year.
Each show looks at a different aspect of the massive changes taking place on our planet. Taken together, the series provides a snapshot of what it feels like to live through this extraordinary moment in the Earth’s history.
The sixth and final show is a large-scale eight-hour theatrical spectacular that charts the whole story of humanity and the transforming planet.
Each show looks at a different aspect of the massive changes taking place on our planet.
- 2019: Pilot episode
- 2020: Deep History
- 2021: 66 Scenes from the Climate Era
- 2022: The Birthday of the World
- 2028: The Seventh Assessment
2019: PILOT EPISODE
In 2019, David interviewed 30 different scientists and asked each of them one question: What’s the biggest change happening in the world today?
The stories the scientists told were a mix of the surprising, the scary and the beautiful.
Scorched sand from Australian nuclear tests, million year ice cores, feathers from a goose that has been through a plane engine, and many more.
David and Reuben wove these stories together to create a snapshot of the planet, a behind-the-scenes tour of the strange ways humans are remaking the earth. A live documentary told in stories, beats and sounds.
The show launched at the Griffin Theatre in 2019, before touring to the Sydney Opera House, Straits Clan Singapore, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Bunjil Place Melbourne and the Pleasance Edinburgh.
‘Finnigan’s power over the audience is palpable. He moves a rapt crowd through stages of understanding the threats facing the planet, and thencautiously, towards the slivers of hope we have left. Ingall’s layered soundscapes manage to turn networking function chatter seamlessly into dread and pandemonium.’
‘The whole exercise clicks.‘
Armed with a projector, family photos and a pile of sand, David and Reuben relate how 75 hours in modern Australia came to collide with an epic sweep of history during this compelling show.
At the end of 2019, in the English countryside, Finnigan began writing a play about the six turning points that have brought us to this moment in time – our ecosystems transformed, our planet on the brink of unthinkable climate disaster. But then David and Reuben’s hometown of Canberra was hit by bushfires. As an area the size of England burned and one billion animals perished, he started to receive texts from loved ones racing to evacuate amid the devastation.
In a performance that interweaves 75,000 years of humanity with the incredibly personal account of his best friend’s escape, Finnigan and Ingall call on scientific research, phone footage and storytelling to illuminate unprecedented global change and how we’ve arrived here. Shot through with humour, pop culture and a rich electronic soundtrack, Deep History speaks of resilience and hope.
Deep History premiered at the Canberra Theatre Centre before appearing at the Pleasance Edinburgh and the Barbican London. The show received a Scotsman Fringe First Award.
‘It’s hard to imagine a fresh perspective on climate change, but Finnigan finds one.’
****, The Scotsman
‘Finnigan captures powerfully… that climate change is not a future threat – it’s with us now.’
****, The Guardian
‘A must-see piece of theatre.’
****, Theatre Weekly
‘A reflection on our limitless potential for creativity, kindness and destruction.’
****, The Observer
‘A drama driven both by passion and… an effective theatrical verve.’
****, The Stage
‘Performance and message combine wonderfully… an emotive, energising and highly effective evening.’
****, The Reviews Hub
2021: 66 SCENES FROM THE CLIMATE ERA
At the turn of the 2020s, the climate movement abruptly shifted into a new phase.
Governments and businesses suddenly escalated their climate commitments, while fossil fuel lobbyists swapped out denial for greenwashing tactics.
New activist movements have initiated a wave of direct action, including property destruction, rent strikes and attacks on fossil fuel infrastructure.
In science journals and academic conferences, radical solutions are being debated and tested which would have been unthinkable just a decade ago.
And everywhere, extreme weather and climate impacts are hitting harder and faster than expected. We’ve already hit major tipping points which have pushed us past a point of no return.
Through a series of 66 vignettes, the play charts the breadth and scope of the current climate discussion. Unlike the previous two episodes, this show is designed to be performed by an external group of actors.
‘This is theatre doing what it was made to do. An invigoratingly honest portrayal of what it’s like to engage with climate change conversations (and be alive!) right this second.’
*****, Limelight Magazine
‘Raw, vulnerable and utterly engaging’
***** The AU Review
‘Finnigan’s play…manages to reach into the minds of its audience and create an emotional, practical and shudderingly wide-ranging awareness’
‘The world’s biggest story, told in 50 plays over 80 minutes.’
****, The Guardian
‘Finnigan dissects the hyperobject of climate change into discrete moments in the epic of everyday life, slicing it into its smallest parts and conducting aesthetic surgery until his audience can make sense of it.’
The Saturday Paper
2022: THE BIRTHDAY OF THE WORLD
The fourth episode in the You’re Safe series is a dance party held to celebrate the new world that we’re building amidst the ruins of the old. What are the threads that tie together dance music, DJ-ing and the emerging challenges around climate infrastructure and the low carbon transition?
The Birthday of the World was first publicly performed at Shoreditch Town Hall in October 2022.
2023 and 2024: IN DEVELOPMENT
The fifth and sixth shows are currently in development.
The series concludes with the sixth and final episode, entitled ‘You’re Safe’. This is a large-scale durational work that charts the history of the transforming planet.
Over eight hours, the performance folds together fiction and non-fiction, storytelling, music, choreography and large-scale visuals to tell the story of how humanity got to this moment, and where we might be headed next.
David Finnigan initiated the You’re Safe project and is involved in all six projects. The core collaborators for the project are musician Reuben Ingall and dramaturge Ness Roque.
David Finnigan is a playwright and theatre artist. He works with research scientists to create theatre about climate and systems change.
Reuben Ingall makes hi-tech lo-fi music, algorithmically mangling his guitar, voice and other sources to create lush soundscapes and lonely drone.
Ness Roque is a theater and film actor, dramaturg, researcher, and educator from Manila, the Philippines. Her art practice is rooted in her inquiries on transdisciplinary, transcultural, feminist, and decolonial practices in performance-making, contemporary art, and education.