Amongst the guests definitely not on the invite list to the COP26 International Climate Change Conference in Glasgow are New York based Reverend Billy and Savitri D. But they’re turning up anyway. With their 25-strong Stop Shopping Choir, celebrating the 20th anniversary of using songs and diversity at the forefront of resistance. The ensemble’s arrival in Glasgow for the final days of the conference will be the climax of their Earth Riot 21 UK tour.
The environmental activist singers bring their joyful, radical music for the Earth for a short UK tour, visiting Colchester, Norwich, London, Birmingham and Liverpool, as well as Glasgow. It’s a defiant response to our climate change emergency. At each stop on the tour they will meet with local activists and campaigners, discuss local environmental issues and launch appropriate actions.
‘It’s an act. It’s an art. It’s almost a religion!’ New York Times
The Church of Stop Shopping have been entertaining doomsayers at the forefront of climate change activism and anti-consumerist direct action for 20 years. They have toured the world (including a crossing the USA opening for Neil Young) with their cloudbursts of rhythm, melody and message. Their shows are a triumph in performance. The associated activism and interventions are a benchmark for civil disobedience and direct action.www.revbilly.com
‘Rev and his choir enrapture large audiences with sermons to which Jesus himself would have said Amen’Kurt Vonnegut
In those 20 years they have kept their secular faith, trespassing while singing, and:
- banned Monsanto’s RoundUp pesticide from New York City parks
- been legally excluded from every Starbucks outlet on the planet
- denounced Micky Mouse as the anti-Christ outside Disney HQ
- disrupted supermarkets with spontaneous singing and ‘till blessing’ ceremonies
- preached at ‘funerals’ for independent retail outlets
- kicked BP sponsorship out of the Tate Modern with an oil bath
Reverend Billy said ‘If COP26 does its job there will be no need for a COP27. But will it? The earth is facing total environmental crisis, extinction is real, extinction is nearly here. The choir shall be singing for the Earth and the radical action that our beloved planet now requires. International meetings should never again be paid for by climate criminals. The Earth is our government, our religion, our economy. The Earth is controlling our lives because we couldn’t control our consumption. It’s time to join the Earth riot! Stop Shopping!’
While the choir are principally based in New York, Earth Riot 21 will also introduce the newly formed and inspiring London Stop Shopping Choir, minimising the carbon emissions from their journey. In fact the tour has been declared carbon neutral with its carbon footprint offset by investment in certified offsetting schemes.
‘the Church’s honesty, passion and lack of cynicism is inspiring’ The Guardian
Savitri D is a native of New Mexico, with a background in dance and experimental theatre. She co-founded the Church of Stop Shopping after 9/11, creating a secular church service that combined joyous choral music with stagecraft. In New York, Savitri is a leader among earth and neighborhood-defendiing activists.
Reverend Billy Talen is an actor, performance artist and activist who began his experimental preaching in Times Square in 1998. Soon singers were accompanying his ‘retail Interventions’ in chain stores, shopping malls and on the streets.
Reverend Billy and Savitri D are very entertaining, witty and erudite interviewees. Billy is in the UK from 30 October. Contact Steve Forster as above for interview opportunities, review tickets etc. High res images can be downloaded from www.sfppr.co.uk/downloads
‘Talen’s message resonates with the words WH Auden wrote on the eve of World War II…
“We must love one another or die.” Village Voice
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir: Earth Riot tour is produced by Catherine Turner, an experienced creative producer who is blind & triplegic.
Both Glasgow shows will be BSL interpreted and the producer is working to have BSL interpreters at all other performances.
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir: Earth Riot
New York/London choir led by the charismatic Rev Billy come to the UK to celebrate their 20th anniversary and sing their joyful, radical music for the Earth to the attendees of the COP26 International Conference for Climate Change.
Wednesday 3 November 8pm
Colchester Arts Centre
Church St Colchester CO1 1NF
£pay what you can 01206 500900 www.colchesterartscentre.com
Thursday 4 November 8pm
Norwich Arts Centre, St Benedicts Street, Norwich NR2 4PG
£pay what you can 01603 660352 www.norwichartscentre.co.uk
Friday 5 November 6.30pm Special Event
Colchester Syrian Refugee Polytunnel High Woods Country Park, 174 Turner Rd, Colchester CO4 5JR
Saturday 6 November 7.30pm
London Artsadmin Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial St E1 6AB
£pay what you can 020 7247 5102 www.artsadmin.co.uk
Sunday 7 November 2pm
Birmingham Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) Cannon Hill Park, B12 9QH
£FREE unticketed 0121 446 3232 www.macbirmingham.co.uk
Wednesday 10 November 7.30pm
Liverpool The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus, 17 Shaw Street, L6 1HP
£8, £5 concession (box office fees will apply) 0151 291 3578 www.thecapstonetheatre.com
Thursday 11 and Friday 12 November
Glasgow CCA, 350 Sauchiehall St, G2 3JD
£pay what you can, 0141 352 4900 www.cca-glasgow.com
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir: Earth Riot tour is supportedusing public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.