Nest: This New Outdoor Play Explores Climate Change Through The Eyes Of Young People

By Ellie Smith

9 months ago

The production will take place in St Aidan’s Nature Reserve in Leeds

The topic of climate change is being explored more and more on stage at the moment – particularly in productions with younger casts. The latest addition to the canon is Nest, an outdoor production set to take place in the grounds of St Aidan’s Nature Reserve in Leeds this September. Featuring over 100 young people, the show will look into themes of existence and climate migration, using a mixture of live music, design, movement and visual projects.

Nest: A New Outdoor Climate Change Play Is Coming To Leeds

A production from the National Youth Theatre (NYT), co-produced by LEEDS 2023, Nest is set in the year 2050 – the year by which we need to reach net zero, in line with The Paris Agreement. It follows 20-year-old Skyler as she attends a bird watching festival in honour of her grandmother, who recently passed away and loved the natural world. 

Throughout the performance, members of the audience will navigate their way around the park along with Skyler, meeting different people along the way as the story unfolds. The play was written by Emma Nuttall, and is being directed by Chief Executive and Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre Paul Roseby.

Woman standing by a lake as part of Nest, a climate change play

Nest was created following an NYT survey which found the climate crisis was the issue young people were most keen to delve into theatrically. Many of the participants were recruited from across Yorkshire through an open call in partnership with Leeds Playhouse. The cast also includes names from NYT’s associate company Compass Collective, who helps unaccompanied minor refugees and young people seeking asylum to integrate into UK culture through theatre and film.

Roseby said: ‘Nest is the latest big show offering of NYT’s art and activism programme unlocking facts and stories of our climate crisis by animating locations and unusual buildings in a dramatic way. Staged at St Aidan’s stunning nature park, both local, national and international performers take action with a world premiere production to lift our hearts, minds and give hope to a fragile earth we call home.’

The production will be the first time St Aidan’s Nature Park has been used for a theatrical show. Spread across 335 hectares, the park is a haven for wildlife, and the week of performances has been carefully timed to avoid disturbance to the natural environment. 

Nest takes place from 5 – 9 September 2023, book tickets at