Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award winner is announced
Are We Stronger Than Winston? is the show that's done the most to raise environmental awareness
Creative Carbon Scotland and the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, organisations that aim to embed environmental sustainability within the arts and culture sector, have announced the winner of its Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award. The 2016 winner is VOU Fiji for their powerful dance piece Are We Stronger Than Winston?, which aimed to convey the devastating impact on Fiji of Tropical Cyclone Winston.
Environmentally-minded companies apply for the award and the organisation draws up a shortlist of the shows which it thinks exhibit the most attention to environmental issues. Last year's winner was Paines Plough, for their production of Declan Masterson's Lungs. Winners in previous years include The Pantry Shelf, Allotment and The Man Who Planted Trees.
Winston was the strongest cyclone to make landfall in the South Pacific in recorded history. It struck Fiji in February 2016, killing 44 people, damaging or destroying 40,000 homes and 229 schools, defoliating entire islands, displacing thousands of people and causing $1.4bn worth of damage. Our reviewer described Are We Stronger Than Winston? as 'terrifyingly intense, a sliver on the tip of the iceberg of the abject horror of finding your community beaten to the ground by nature's irrational forces.'
VOU Fiji ('vou' being Fijian for 'new') are currently back in their homeland after a highly successful Fringe run. The company's artistic director Sachiko Soro recently posted a blog entry about their performance at the Glastonbury Festival, noting that Glastonbury punters who were attracted by the high energy drumming tended to drift off during the more confrontational, Winston-related parts of the performance. She observed 'It was interesting to see that perhaps people are happy with us playing to their expectations of the "happy natives" but when a Pacific artist wants to talk about something real and that is affecting them NOW – there sometimes seems to be an unwillingness to listen.' Perhaps the Creative Carbon award will go a small way to reassure Soro that some people really are listening.