Last year, David spoke to Daily Review about his play, and said that he believed the right-wing attacks on his play would probably prevent it from being produced by subsidised companies wary of controversy.
The Daily Review reported that in 2014, conservative commentator Andrew Bolt got his knickers in a knot over a new Australian play by David Finnigan provocatively titled Kill Climate Deniers.
Bolt, who had not read or seen the play, was furious that the ACT Government had given funding worth $19,000 to a play which he categorised as “a project urging others to kill fellow citizens.” The play drew even more attention when it premiered in late 2016 in Canberra, inspiring James Delingpole of Breitbart to suggest his own play, Kill The Greenies.
Bolt and Delingpole may be disappointed to learn that David Finnigan’s play received another plaudit this weekend, winning the $10,000 Griffin Award for new Australian writing.
We were keen to find out a little more about David’s play and what he has been up to since leaving Radford, so I asked him a few questions:
Was attracting Andrew Bolt’s and Breitbart’s ire a goal in life? What other goals are left?
Not really. Offending people (even the perpetually-offended Andrew Bolt) is never the goal. Sometimes it might be worth offending people as collateral damage on the way to making a bigger point – and this might be one of those times. But also, I might be wrong! Always might be wrong.
You obviously see a role for art in advancing social issues. Can you share your perspective on this?
When it comes to climate change and Australian politics there’s this incredible disconnect. On the one hand we have a massive, global, interconnected crisis which is gradually accelerating towards us and which affects every human being on the planet. On the other hand, we have a two-party political system which is focused on the 24-hour news cycle, opinion polls and the next election. The tools seem pretty unfit for dealing with the problem. There’s a kind of bleak hilarity in that, isn’t there?
Also we have this amazing Parliament House building, and virtually no action hostage dramas which conclude with a gunfight on the Parliament House flagpole at dawn.
Can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?
I’m part of a science-arts collective called Boho, formed with three other Radford graduates (Mick Bailey, Jack Lloyd and David Shaw). In January we’re going to Singapore to build a new game looking at evacuations from volcano and typhoon disasters, for local government groups in south-east Asia.
What does the Griffin award mean for you?
It’s a lovely thing that they’re producing the show, and I’m really excited to catch it and see what it looks like.
What do you think about arts education in schools? At Radford?
This is an unexpectedly hard question! You only ever have your own experience, right? I don’t have much basis for comparison. What I know is that I formed a theatre company right out of leaving Radford, working with a bunch of other graduates and going straight into making plays in the Canberra indie theatre scene. The community of young artists taught me everything I know about theatre, but it was the arts education we received at school that created that community.
If you’d like to read Kill Climate Deniers, or listen to the Kill Climate Deniers album, both are available on the play’s website.
Read his collegian profile here.