Suter Theatre, Nelson

22/10/2023 - 22/10/2023

Nelson Arts Festival 2023

Production Details

Conceived, written and performed by Fehinti Balogun
Director Daniel Bailey
Co-Director Simon McBurney

Fehinti Balogun + Complicité

“Why don’t we talk about it?” Fehinti Balogun asks this urgent question and offers an invitation in Can I Live?, a vital new digital performance about the climate catastrophe, sharing his personal journey into the biggest challenge of our times. From “…the most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain.”

Weaving his personal story with spoken word, rap, theatre and the scientific facts, Fehinti charts a course through the fundamental issues underpinning the emergency, identifying the intimate relationship between the environmental crisis & the global struggle for social justice, and sharing how, as a young Black British man, he has found his place in the climate movement.

In the face of a sense of helplessness about the climate catastrophe, Can I Live? is an outstretched hand, inviting audiences to recognise they are not alone – and that through understanding the issues and connecting with the many powerful activists around the globe driving change, we can find a sense of hope for the future.

“…the most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain.” – The Times

Date: Sun 22 Oct
Time: 4pm
Running Time: 60 min
For more information or to book a headset, please email or call/text the Nelson Arts Festival on 027 241 4599.
Pay What You Can (PWYC)
Accessibility Programme:
This film will be Open Captioned, meaning the captions will play on screen.
There is also Audio Description available for this performance.

A Complicate production in association with the Barbican, London, supported by Doc Society and Oxford Playhouse.
Supported by Arts Council England and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Digital presentation , Theatre , Solo ,

60 minutes

Poetic, frenetic, rhythmic, compelling and engaging exploration of the privilege of environmental activism

Review by Judene Edgar 23rd Oct 2023

Set in his mother’s house where Fehinti Balogun has been stuck since the first Covid-19 lockdown alongside his brother, Can I Live? explores the privilege of climate activism. Weaving spoken word, poetry, rap, theatre and animation with statistics and stark realities, Fehinti’s one-hour film liberally drops truth bombs and poses challenging questions throughout.

Why don’t we talk about it?
It’s not going to get any better unless we do something.
I’m living a version of the truth that lets me carry on.
Why don’t these people look like me?

Drawn to climate activism, Fehinti finds himself in a world surrounded by people that don’t look like him. Do people like me not know? Do people like me not care?

Within the context of his British Nigerian family, Fehinti highlights the privilege of environmental activism – the time and money required to fight climate change, to buy eco-friendly products, to protest, to care. Yet those same people struggling to live every day, to put food on the table and to pay the bills, are the same ones disproportionately affected by climate change. The dystopian future that some activist groups paint, is a lived reality by many in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Engaging and disarming, Fehinti brings the audience into his “home” and his world. He shares his journey from feeling alone, small and powerless, to channelling his anger and finding his voice and his place in this fight for the future.

While the singing, theatre and animation provide an upbeat tempo which creates an atmospheric relief amidst some harsh realities, Fehinti is at his best with his spoken word poetry and rhymes. Punching home key messages. Punching home his questions.

But all facts, fears and figures aside, Fehinti’s message in Can I Live? is one of connection, empathy and hope. It’s the outstretched hand to lift up those who need help, and to band together as a collective.


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