Zero Carbon, Maximum Fun

Posted on March 1, 2010 by


If politician’s preoccupation with Global Warming leads you to believe that reducing our carbon footprint means giving up on pleasures and that the Green Agenda is somehow akin to wearing a hair shirt – think again. Sheffield’s very own (almost) Zero Carbon Cabaret held on 28 November  2009 danced, sang, juggled and walked its talk to demonstrate absolutely clearly that a low carbon future can be the most fun you can have with your recycled clothes on (or off).

Heeley’s Institute was filled to capacity with Sheffield’s very best eco-performers who were taken to their hearts by a wildly enthusiastic audience. The gig was a wholly co-operative effort, though expertly co-ordinated by the evening’s compère, performance artiste Chrystine Moon and  eco-community activist Heather Hunt. Together they recruited a constellation of local talent, none of whom lived more than a bus, bike or tram ride away, though many people came on foot, most notably the whole of the Carfield Choir, whose aim is to walk to all of their performances. There was delightfully wry songstress Bay Whittaker with Trevor Thomas, rope magic from Doug the Juggler and ironic stand-up from Peter Beeston.  The gloriously lush tribal dance troupe Boomshanka got the audience really going in the second half.

The audience participation was a fashion parade of gems from car boot sales and charity shops. The delightfully eccentric Madam Zucchini even brought her own micro stage and organic performance vegetables.

The finale was dancing to the music of the Dry Stone Wailers. No act used a microphone – it wasn’t necessary as the gorgeous listed Institute provided a perfect and intimate acoustic. Most of the stage lighting was powered by the heroic efforts of Ben Heller on the first outing of the Woodcraft Folk’s pedal-powered generator and the auditorium was lit by wind-up or solar powered lights producing a wonderful atmospheric glow. It wasn’t even necessary to turn on the heating as the dancers’ body heat was more than adequate.  All the bottles, cans and paper produced went to recycling; food waste was composted and the landfill residue from seventy people’s evening fitted in a single supermarket bag, putting to shame the immense carbon footprint generated by your average mainstream event.

Never has so much fun been had with so little natural resource consumed. It was such a hit, the organisers plan to make this a regular gig. The (almost) Zero Carbon Cabaret Springs forth once again @ Heeley Institute on April 17th 7–10pm.

A cavalcade of home-grown talent, solar and pedal-powered crew are already cooking up a fresh supply of sustainable entertainments.

Add your talents to the mix or come along and enjoy!

More details from or

Reviewer: Linda Brown