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Q&A with journalist and author Alanna Mitchell

Award winning Canadian journalist Alanna Mitchell spent three years on the high seas with scientists to write her book about the crisis happening to our oceans.

Off The Leash caught up with Mitchell to talk about her one-woman show on the subject, Sea Sick.

What was it like turning your written words into something to be performed on stage?  

I worked with two Toronto directors, Franco Boni and Ravi Jain. It all started with my stories of being with the scientists. But they kept asking: why did you do that? Why did you want to know that? How does it all fit together? There was a chalkboard in the room and as they asked these questions, I would leap up and start writing things on the board. I would say: well, you can’t understand this until you understand that. Actually putting those words on stage, though, was absolutely terrifying. I’m still in agonies before I go on stage. Every single time. 

Do we have a right to be hopeful about the future of our oceans?

Things are getting much worse, much faster. You can look at the state of the Great Barrier Reef and get a really good sense of what’s going on in the ocean as a whole. It will take a lot to turn things around, but I think it’s still possible. 

Darwin is a population by the sea – do you think coastal dwellers are more in touch with the ocean's health? 

No question! Everywhere I’ve been in the world, people who live on the coast have a deep connection to the ocean. I’m from the prairies in the heart of North America, but I spent every summer at my grandmother’s house on the Pacific Ocean, rummaging around for barnacles, examining the creatures that lived in the tidal pools, clambering over driftwood logs. It’s that connection coastal people have with the ocean that gives me the most hope that we can come up with new ways of living on our planet. 

Sea Sick | Fri 18 & Sat 19 Aug | 6.30pm | Darwin Entertainment Centre

See the event listing.

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