Saved events

Digital Programme: You're Safe Til 2024: Deep History

Welcome to the Barbican. We’re really pleased to be able to introduce you to the work of theatre-maker and playwright David Finnigan. We first saw a presentation of You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History in 2020, shortly after David had written it. In the intervening years, with the climate emergency very much at the forefront of all our minds, David’s brilliantly moving collision of six turning points in humanity’s history and the very personal story of his friend’s escape from the worst bushfires in recorded history feels even more necessary. It comes to The Pit off the back of an acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival, picking up a Fringe First Award. 

We hope you enjoy the show.

Toni Racklin,
Head of Theatre and Dance, Barbican


Hi all. Thank you so much for coming along to the show – it’s a pleasure and an honour to have you here. 

It's a strange time to be alive in the world, isn't it? We were born at a pretty extraordinary moment in the history of the planet. It's disorientating, confusing, frightening and sometimes exhilarating. I'm glad to get the chance to share this very personal story with you, and to point to some of the more amazing science I've encountered in the last few years. If anything connects with you, please let me know.

I'm very grateful to Toni Racklin and the Barbican for hosting and presenting this work, and for placing it alongside the extraordinary pieces in the Our Time On Earth exhibition. 

Straighten up and fly right, ecstasy chasers – it takes a full day's work just to survive.

David Finnigan

Cast and creative team

Performer David Finnigan

Creative team
Creator David Finnigan
Director Annette Mees
Video Designer Hayley Egan
Music Reuben Ingall
Production photos by Sarah Walker and Anna Kucera

Presented by the Barbican
Supported by the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22.

For the Barbican

Chief Executive Officer Claire Spencer 
Artistic Director Will Gompertz 
Director of Operations and Buildings Jonathon Poyner 
Director of Development Natasha Harris 
Director of People, Inclusion and Culture Ali Mirza 
Senior Executive Assistant to Claire Spencer and Will Gompertz Jo Daly

Theatre Department 
Head of Theatre and Dance Toni Racklin  
Senior Production Manager Simon Bourne 
Producers Leanne Cosby, Jill Shelley and Fiona Stewart 
Assistant Producers Anna Dominian, Saxon Mudge and Mali Siloko 
Production Managers Jamie Maisey and Lee Tasker 
Technical Managers Steve Daly, Jane Dickerson, Nik Kennedy, Martin Morgan and Stevie Porter  
Stage Managers Lucinda Hamlin and Charlotte Oliver 
Technical Supervisors John Gilroy, Jamie Massey, Adam Parrott, Tom Salmon, John Seston and Chris Wilby 
PA to Head of Theatre David Green 
Production Administrator Caroline Hall 
Production Assistant Andrew Pellett 
Technicians Kendell Foster, Burcham Johnson, Christian Lyons, Charlie Mann, Josh Massey, Matt Nelson, Heather Readdy and Lawrence Sills 
Stage Door Julian Fox and aLbi Gravener 
Creative Learning Producer Lauren Brown 
Creative Learning Assistant Producer Rikky Onefeli 
Marketing Manager (Theatre) Kyle Bradshaw 
Marketing Assistant (Theatre) Rebecca Moore  
Acting Communications Manager (Theatre) Freddie Todd Fordham 
Communications Intern Sumayyah Sheikh 

About the project

You're Safe Til 2024 is a cycle of six performances exploring the huge changes currently taking place to our planet.

Writer David Finnigan, musician Reuben Ingall, dramaturg Ness Roque and guests are creating six new shows. Each 'episode' looks at a different aspect of climate and global change. Taken together, the series provides a snapshot of what it feels like to live through this extraordinary moment in the Earth's history.

New technologies, mass extinction, population growth, nuclear radiation, climate change, the rise of mega-cities, new ecologies and global pandemics: what's happening today is unprecedented in the history of the planet.

Each show explores a different aspect of the human-earth system and adopts a different form.

An overview of all six episodes

Episode 1: Pilot Episode
For this show, writer David Finnigan interviewed 30 different scientists about what each of them thinks is the biggest change happening in the world today. Out of these interviews, David and musician Reuben Ingall created a 60-minute storytelling show that offered a snapshot of the present moment, viewed from the perspective of scientists and researchers.

You're Safe Til 2024: Pilot Episode premiered at the Griffin Theatre in Sydney in 2019, before touring to ArtScience Singapore, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Sydney Opera House.

Episode 2: Deep History
This is the episode you’re experiencing at the Barbican.

You're Safe Til 2024: Deep History tracks 75,000 years of human history alongside 75 hours at the end of the last decade.

Deep History launched at Theatre Deli in 2020 and has been presented at the Canberra Theatre Centre and the Pleasance Edinburgh. It was awarded a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Episode 3: Scenes from the Climate Era
The third work in the series looks at the many facets of 'climate change' in the 2020s: governments, businesses, activists, scientists, climate deniers and people on the front lines.

Through a series of 66 vignettes, You're Safe Til 2024: Scenes from the Climate Era charts the breadth and scope of the current climate discussion. Unlike the previous two episodes, this show is designed to be performed by an external group of actors. 

It will premiere at the Belvoir Theatre in Sydney in 2023.

Episode 4: The Birthday of the World
A dance party to celebrate the new world we're building in the ruins of the old.

The first public scratch of this work will take place at Shoreditch Town Hall on Tuesday 11 October. Come along if you fancy!

Episode 5: ???
This one's still a mystery. All ideas welcome.

Episode 6: You're Safe 
The final episode of the series is an eight-hour durational performance tracing the story of humanity over the last 75,000 years and into the future. 

Combining narrative, non-fiction and storytelling with large-scale visuals and an eight-hour DJ set by musician Reuben Ingall, You're Safe brings together ideas and concepts from the whole series in one epic show.

Why make an eight-hour show? 
A lot of science works by isolating things and looking at them in detail. But this doesn't work when it comes to climate science. When we study parts of the earth system in isolation, we miss something. In reality, everything is connected. For that reason, climate scientists don't always separate out the different parts of the earth system – instead they look at the bigger picture to see how the whole world works.

Theatre is similar. In a 60-90-minute theatre show, we can zoom in and focus on a small piece of the climate story, but by doing so, we inevitably miss the scale and complexity of the issue. To truly tell the story of the global transformation we're going through, we need work of a bigger scale, of this moment. And by providing a group of people with a shared experience, a theatre show can help us to process the shock of these changes and help us think about what actions we might be able to take.



David Finnigan
David Finnigan is a writer and theatre-maker from Ngunnawal country in Australia. He works with research scientists to produce theatre about climate and global change.

His play Kill Climate Deniers was awarded the 2017 Griffin Award for playwriting, and has since been produced by 10 companies across four countries. His six-part performance series about planetary transformation, You’re Safe Til 2024, has been presented at the Sydney Opera House, ArtScience Museum Singapore and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

David Finnigan is a Churchill Fellow, and an associate of interactive theatre company Coney in the UK and Boho Interactive in Australia.

Annette Mees
Annette Mees is an award-winning artistic director and theatre director. 

She is the Artistic Director of Audience Labs, a hub for imagination exploring new forms of theatre and technology to dream up cultural futures. Audience Labs brings together interdisciplinary teams to create artistic work that defies definitions, undertake interdisciplinary R&D and spark new thinking. Current, Rising, one of Audience Labs’ productions, recently won an award at the prestigious International VR Awards. Audience Labs started at the Royal Opera House but now works for and with different organisations at the intersection of culture, innovation and social change. Annette Mees has worked with organisations as diverse as National Theatre of Wales, Tate Britain, Wayne McGregor, Kensington Palace, Battersea Arts Centre, The National Gallery, Arnolfini, Google Creative Lab, UK Parliament, 01SJ San Jose Biennial, British Council, NESTA and many more.


Hayley Egan
Video Designer
Hayley Egan studied at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Work across theatre, opera and ballet includes The Boy With Two Hearts at the National Theatre; Everyday for Deafinitely; The Scandal at Mayerling for Scottish Ballet; WITCH at the Royal Academy of Music; The Child in the Snow at Wilton's Music Hall; The Language of Kindness for Wayward Productions; Freedom Season for Welsh National Opera; and I’ll Take You to Mrs Cole! for Complicité. Associate work includes Coppélia for Scottish Ballet; A Tale of Two Cities for Lost Dog; Litvinenko at Grange Park Opera; Don Giovanni for Greek National Opera; Nixon in China for Scottish Opera; Orlando at Vienna State Opera; Idomeneo at Teatro Real; I’m a Phoenix, Bitch! at Battersea Arts Centre; and Grief is the Thing with Feathers for Wayward Productions and Complicité. Film includes The Yellow Wallpaper for Channel 4's Random Acts.

Reuben Ingall
Reuben Ingall makes hi-tech lo-fi music often using home-made software patches, guitar, voice, field recordings and no-input mixing board. His other projects have included radio shows, experimental music nights and a mashup-DJ act.