Enlightenment Café

While there’s plenty of talk, at the moment, about bridging the gap between arts and science, this is a show that actually does it; and provides a good, exhausting, thought-provoking night out, into the bargain.
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
Since 2012, we have been delivering science/art collaborations with, or commissioned by, some of the UK’s most prestigious academic and cultural institutions. For these productions, we work under the name of the 'Enlightenment Café.’

For more information about our Enlightenment Café shows visit www.EnlightenmentCafe.co.uk.


A video message plays. A voice emerges through the static: “Time is running out.”

ZOI gives voice to real individuals on the front line of the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Across the planet, passionate individuals are transforming their communities. What can we learn from them and how can we create our own stories of change?

Through this production we put storytelling at the heart of communicating the climate and ecological emergency by using material from interviews with real activists, scenarios from the UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the mechanics of the Independent Futures Forum’s World Game. These elements combine to create a dynamic space for audiences to discuss their collective responsibility for the future of our planet.

For some time, ZOI have been receiving a message from a Climate Witness in India. Not unusual in itself, everyday ZOI receives thousands of messages from Climate Witnesses across the planet. What is different here, is that it is coming from India, in the year 2050. For years the broadcast has remained the same: a grim but believable foreshadowing of things to come. However, as awareness of the Climate and Ecological Emergency has grown, interference has begun to interrupt the broadcast: three new messages, from the same woman, in three parallel futures.

ZOI have worked to analyse these futures and the worlds that they portray. It has modelled them to understand the changes that we will need to make to navigate humanity toward one of these new potential futures. Some of the changes are institutional but many require individual or community action.

Against the backdrop of a live electronic score, ZOI introduces the audience to the stories of four real women from Chad, Uganda, Vietnam and the USA: powerful, affecting stories of what can be achieved through individual and community action. With their words hanging in the air, the audience collaborates with local experts to explore simple and achievable goals to take back to their communities. Ideas that could transform our future.

They begin to create their own stories of change.

Created with the support of:


"Deadinburgh achieves something special in so effectively patrolling the boundary between straightforward horror-movie excitement and the powerful ethical and strategic questions raised." The Scotsman

Deadinburgh places the audience at the centre of an epidemic. In doing so, it introduces them to the surveillance, epidemiology and expertise used in outbreak management. At the heart of the production is the ethical and moral quandary: where do human rights begin and end in a crisis?

An epidemic ravages Scotland’s capital, turning the unlucky souls into bloodthirsty ambling beasts. On all channels an emergency broadcast plays. Colonel James Murdoch, of what remains of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, delivers a message on loop:

"If you're alive and well and living in Edinburgh, listen closely. Make your way to Summerhall by the Meadows. We have established a secure sterile zone where our scientists are working every hour to combat this dread disease. We pray you can make it. But if you are infected or you think you could be infected do not approach the Safe Zone, you will be met with lethal force. Your remaining hours will be hell on Earth but that is nothing compared to what happens when the Lazarus Pathogen shakes horror and madness into your flesh. People of Edinburgh, there is no time to lose for the living or dying. May your god go with you."

Citizens arrive at the safe zone and undergo decontamination and health checks. Inside the building, COBRA meets to decide the fate of the city. Edinburgh is in lock-down. Warships are moving into position just off the coast. If an update, a plan of action, is not received within two hours, the city will be destroyed.

When the COBRA meeting ends in a deadlock, the fate of the city is placed in the hands of the last few uninfected citizens of Edinburgh. They have just 90 minutes to navigate the compound, learn as much as they can from the scientific teams working across the site and make a decision.

Will they destroy the city, cull the infected, or contain them and search for a cure?

Created with the support of:

New Atlantis

"New Atlantis acts to raise awareness about sustainability and climate change; it is not often I leave the theatre feeling like I have truly learnt something, much less feeling like I want to actually do something about it." Official Theatre

New Atlantis explores the complex relationship between the climate emergency and water security. By transporting the audience into a future in which Miami is abandoned due to rising sea levels and water austerity is crushing a drought-ridden London, we do away with any doubt that the subject needs to be taken seriously. Water security is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity.

Globalisation has lost its dominance and with it the power of the UN has waned. Under the leadership of Bryony Weller, the UN is transformed into New Atlantis, an organisation focused on bringing about one planet living. The organisation quickly splinters into three groups, three ideologies: Reform, Industry and Defence.

Reform believes that humanity can achieve sustainability through behaviour change and responsible living. Industry looks for answers in scientific and technological innovation. Defence proposes that the planet has enough resources but that they need to be managed centrally, they need to be defended.

Initially all runs smoothly but the division New Atlantis is founded upon runs deep.

Out of the blue, Bryony Weller calls an emergency assembly. Rumours of her ill health have circulated for years. She waited as long as she could to ensure the organisation's stability but the time has come to step down. A power vacuum is created that puts the organisation in a spin, as the various departments, and their leaders, vie for control of New Atlantis.

But in the wings, wait Generation Alpha. A youth movement frustrated by the lack of opportunities for young people and seeking greater justice for the climate climates of previous generations.

Can they cause a revolution? And what will it look like?

Created with the support of:
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LAStheatre is a Social Enterprise Company incorporated in England & Wales under the name LAS THEATRE C.I.C., Company No 08052556.
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