Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Taiga Christie

21: Taiga Christie

Faultline Ensemble

Create a performance about nuclear power in Vermont

Founded in 2014, Faultline Ensemble grew out of the work of the Rosehip Medic Collective and was inspired by community-based performance traditions and alternative models of health education, emergency response, and collective process.

We operate using an innovative collaborative process and strive to reflect our antioppressive values in both process and performance. Our work includes devised and text-based original performance, as well as unique productions of existing scripts. We are committed to vigorously examining and revising our artistic process in order to maximize its accessibility to queer and trans individuals, people of color, survivors of trauma, individuals living with chronic conditions, and people of a variety of abilities, ages and experiences.

Project description

In Vernon, Vermont, next to the Connecticut River and behind a razorwire fence, sit 58 large concrete casks containing the spent waste from the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. As Vermont Yankee decommissions, the surrounding community is reconciling with the remnants of a difficult past. Our project will use physical improvisation, interviews, and historical figures to create a performance exploring Vermont Yankee’s impact on Southeastern Vermont.

Vermont Yankee has been controversial for decades. The plant has been a lightning rod amplifying the already divisive nature of Vermont politics, pitting middle class liberals against working class conservatives in a political debate that spilled into lawn signs, protests, and graffiti. Everyone talks about the plant, but only in their own echo chambers.

In 1980, the Department of Energy convened a group of anthropologists, physicists, behavioral scientists, and science fiction writers called the Human Interference Task Force (HITF). They were tasked with preventing humans of the future from interfering with possible long term nuclear storage sites – though none have been built in the U.S. to this day. These sites would remain hazardous for ten thousand years – twice the time written language has existed. The HITF gathered ideas from around the world for how to label a site as dangerous for humans of a distant future.

Faultline is creating a devised performance based on the history of Vermont Yankee and the HITF. This project, to be performed in 2026 on the former Vermont Yankee site, will tackle tackle communicating across divides of politics, ideology and time. Through a combination of physical improvisation and interviews with residents and Vermont Yankee employees, we will devise a performance about our community’s relationship to the nuclear industry that centers imagination, experimentation, visual worlds, and the process of communicating across divides.

Media Sample 1

In progress Human Interference Task Force scene. “This workshop performance at the Yale School of Public Health demonstrates initial material developed based on the Human Interference Task Force.”

Media Sample 2

Human Interference Task Force Communication Sequence. “This workshop performance demonstrates our initial work devising scenes — based on original HITF text — about communicating across divides.”

Media Sample 3

Counting Pebbles Scene. “This Faultline performance about first responder trauma will tour to Brattleboro in 2023 to build relationships with local emergency responders.”


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Acadia Klepeis August 4, 2023