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Molly Sturges and Acushla Bastible/ Littleglobe

Posted on: August 6, 2012


COAL is an unusual and dynamic combination:  an upbeat musical theatre production and a grassroots call-to-action. A musical like no other, COAL takes audiences to the heart of the paradox, illuminating both the benefits and consequences of our fossil fuel based society.

COAL uses a full-scale musical production as a community prompt and combines it with a series of community workshops that invite diverse local audiences to creatively reflect on their own lives, and engage in personal and collective actions in response to one of the greatest challenges of our times.

A mythical story told through a global musical score, COAL brings people together across many divides, igniting social imagination, catalyzing collective knowledge and fostering social action. COAL offers multiple opportunities for engagement through musical performances, participatory workshops, mobile storytelling events, community meals, and the establishment of social media / digital communities.


COAL, under the leadership of artistic director/composer, Molly Sturges, and stage director/project co-director, Acushla Bastible, has been in development over the past year with a professional team of artists, a diverse range of community participants and key organizational partners, including the Lensic Performing Arts Center, the Institute for American Indian Arts Sustainability Team, and the University of New Mexico.

COAL emerges from the unique cultural and social context of northern New Mexico and draws on the insights and wisdom of artists, partners and community members living here. A locally conceived project, COAL will also have a national impact because it is designed to travel to communities, large and small, across the nation.

July- August 2012: Script/music workshops and rewrites (NYC & Santa Fe); September- November 2012: ongoing script re-writes and 3 participatory creative development workshops in northern New Mexico (Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Four Corners); February 7th & 8th 2013: Staged Reading at The Lensic Performing Arts Center; Spring 2013: Final workshops and content workshops (Locations TBA); Fall 2013: Musical Premiere and workshops.


The story of climate change is often told through a despairing and overwhelming lens and too often s up “preaching to the converted.”   Through mythical musical storytelling that engages the imagination and heart, COAL invites human wisdom and courage back into the story. COAL is a catalyst for value clarification, personal and collective engagement, and social action.  Through the musical and the workshop process COAL reaches a wide range of communities and develops diverse exchanges that will build the capacities needed to create a just and sustainable New Mexico and beyond.