We are interested in how theater and community engagement can help develop a context-specific understanding of climate change to empower Texan communities and individuals to become resilient and adapt to a changing climate. While many scientists enthusiastically engage in public outreach, most adopt the “deficit model,” a paternalistic, one-way approach that is not effective in changing behaviors or attitudes. Over-emphasis on educating the public comes at the expense of more effective communication objectives, like framing, building trust, or fostering dialogue. The tradition of plays about science in the 20th century often focuses on the ethics behind scientific innovation and discovery. The advent of climate science presents an opportunity for theater to enact the interaction of climate models with history and individual narratives, as a way to address gaps in existing science communication. A robust engagement of community stakeholders throughout and after the play production process could increase trust in science, and it could help citizens make sense of scientific models while simultaneously being able to connect personally.
Khristián Méndez Aguirre (Theater & Dance), Nichole Lynn Bennett (Advertising & Public Relations), Jen Moon (Molecular Biosciences), Anthony Dudo (Advertising & Public Relations), and Katie Dawson (Theater & Dance)