TapRoot Cultural Troupe
Our cultural strategy weaves together the 4 Rs of social transformation—Reform, Resist, Re-imagine and Re-create.
The Good Fire, an interactive performance which we wrote, produced and performed in spring of 2019 throughout eastern NC—where environmental injustice and climate impacts are so significant—is a good example of how we engage all 4 Rs. The Good Fire is an allegory for renewable energy and community resilience. By combining spoken word, large portable murals, indigenous music and giant puppets, we engaged our communities in envisioning a just energy future, discussed how to reform the broken energy system we have now, learned about new models for distributed solar, and building resistance to the utility monopoly. After performing The Good Fire at the NC Climate Justice Summit, taking it on the road was a wonderful opportunity to involve local musicians, artists, and activists, especially youth who participated as puppeteers (special thanks to Jan Berger and other collaborators with Paperhand Puppet Intervention). Those attending the roadshow saw friends and loved ones performing, encouraging them to engage deeply in the teach-in that followed the performance highlighting the four frontline issues that NCCJC focuses on.
Protests and Actions
NCCJC brings cultural work to actions throughout North Carolina and the Southeast, uplifting other organizations’ events to achieve shared movement goals. Our creative actions often combine original music, drumming, puppets, hand-painted visuals—much of which is created at or for the NC Climate Justice Summit. On April 29, 2017, NCCJC led a contingent at the People’s Climate March in DC, joining an estimated 200,000 people to call for action on climate change. In collaboration with David Solnit of 350 and Jan Berger of Paperhand Puppet Intervention, NCCJC created a massive street theatre performance to support the aims of the march. During a month-long art build, we produced over 500 pieces of art. During the march, we coordinated with eight busloads of protestors from North Carolina to get over 500 people to dance, sing, and join in a performance at the beginning and end of the march. This is one example of bringing vital, persuasive, and engaging cultural elements to a national action.
As a part of the September 2019 week of climate action, our drummers led the march during the Triangle Climate Strike and later disrupted Governor Cooper’s meeting with the Interagency Climate Council to call for truly clean energy with our original song.