Swimming with the Polar Bears  written and performed by Mel England

every performance benefits
The Climate Project
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SWIMMING WITH THE POLAR BEARS... the story begins...

SWIMMING WITH THE POLAR BEARS started in early 2008, when Dorothy Szec at the State University of New York, Orange, made a phone call to Mel England. Mel had performed at SUNY a few years before in a solo show about 9/11 called 3 WEEKS AFTER PARADISE by Israel Horovitz. Dorothy explained SUNY was looking for a play about the environment, and asked if Mel had any recommendations.

A year later, SWIMMING WITH THE POLAR BEARS was born.

Originally workshopped at SUNY in March of 2009, with director Jill André, a month later it moved Off Broadway to the Bleecker Street Theatre, for a limited Off-Broadway run as a special benefit for THE CLIMATE PROJECT in celebration of Earth Day 2009.

Several months later, as SWIMMING headed to Los Angeles, for another benefit for TCP at the Syzygy Theatre Company, England was invited to bring the play to Copenhagen to perform it at the 2009 UN Summit on Climate Change.

In December of 2009, England, with Producer Anthony Wandell, KPFK Environmental Reporter Cary Harrison and Richard Whiteford from The Climate Project, joined other artists, activists, politicians, citizens and indigenous peoples from around the world in Copenhagen.

In 2010, SWIMMING has continued it's world tour, having performed as part of "Earth Week" -- the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington DC...

EXCITING NEWS OF SWIMMING's next production is coming soon, so stay tuned!

In accordance with Mel’s survival story and his strong dedication to the continued existence of the planet, portions of proceeds from all productions are donated to The Climate Project. Jenny Clad, Executive Director of The Climate Project says, "The Climate Project and Swimming with Polar Bears share a common goal - raising awareness of climate change. Swimming with Polar Bears will shine the spotlight on the urgency of this global issue in its own unique way. We are delighted to be a beneficiary of the production and to share the stage with such a creative endeavor by having one of our TCP presenters on hand to deliver Mr. Gore's slide show message."

Swimming with the Polar Bears is a funny, poignant, and devastatingly personal look at the dangers of global warming. Actor Mel England returns to the autobiographical one-man arena, with director Jill André, to explore the parallels between contemporary life, ancient Eskimo mythology, and the tragic loss of endangered species.

In the tradition of Spaulding Grey, England takes an introspective examination of his battles with extinction – from surviving childhood abuse to overcoming Cancer – as a backdrop for larger questions of how we all can survive on our precious planet. A 20-year AIDS survivor, England struggles against the odds—to understand our own denial, grasp justifications, and ultimately accept responsibility to save oneself.

England takes us on a fantastical journey bringing Polar Bears to life -- with original music by Thomas Silcott – -- and, in the end, we find we are all Swimming with the Polar Bears.

© 2010 Magical Iguana Productions