A cross-Europe theatre project about oil pipelines, corruption and fossil fuels.
Pipelines began in 2020 as an idea by German playwright Magdalena Schrefel. She had been commissioned by Schauspielhaus Graz to write a text about oil pipelines, inspired by the essay “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” by provocative Swedish author and climate activist Andreas Malm.
Magdalena and the team in Graz thought it would interesting to consider the issues in the play from a cross-European perspective. They approached ETC and suggested collaborating with other theatres in the network. In total, 5 theatres from 5 countries joined the project, each commissioning a local author to work on the subject of pipelines and energy supply in Europe more generally.
Pipelines aims to circulate words instead of oil, drawing energy from cultural exchange rather than fossil fuel. It also hopes to showcase how European collaboration and political engagement can foster visibility for burning issues - highlighting local perspectives on global issues, and helping to solve commonly-shared problems together.
Every country has its own story to tell about oil.
Underneath our feet or above the ground, oil and natural gas are the life blood of our economy and lifestyle, circulating all over Europe, pulsing through the veins of pipelines. Oil as a fossil resource comes from the depth of time, is the elixir of our present age, and threatens our future. There is a growing wish to end the 100 year old oil rush but how can we sustain our lifestyle that is based on the excessive use of energy? The answer has yet to be found.
Commissioned authors should write a dramatic text answering the question: What kind of drama does fossil energy provoke in your country?
Following the call for collaboration, four ETC theatres joined Schauspielhaus Graz and commissioned texts on the subject:
- Théâtre de Liège (Belgium) with author Alex Lorette
- Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg) with author Ian de Toffoli
- National Theatre of Albania (Albania) with author Elsa Demo
- Teatru Malta (Malta) with author Simone Spiteri.
The authors have met regularly online and in Graz to discuss their progress and possible links between their plays, starting an exciting pan-European discussion.