Masters Thesis

Salmon is everything: the emergence and development of eco-drama in the context of the Klamath salmon crisis and an examination of its role as a pedagogical tool

The deaths of thousands of salmon have been a large part of the Klamath Watershed Conflict. Salmon were once abundant in the Klamath, and its various tributaries, but populations are now far below historic levels. The intersections of people’s lives which are affected by or dependent on the salmon are just as complex as the watershed itself. All along the Klamath River, are many narratives and perspectives struggling to be heard. In response to the Klamath Salmon Crisis the Klamath Theatre Project was developed, which created a community-based theatre work called Salmon is Everything. Based on interviews from various parties and input from the local community, this theatre work, often termed an eco-drama, is a unique project that warrants an in-depth look. Salmon is Everything displays some characteristics of theatre forms with a transformative nature. A great deal of literature has explored forms of theatre that raises awareness and creates dialogue about pressing social issues, working towards individual or social change. These forms have the ability to educate, transform, and heal and strengthen communities. Drawing from these uses of theatre, I explore what function the Salmon is Everything production has within the context of the Klamath Watershed Conflict. Using data from in-depth qualitative interviews and primary document/archival research I investigate if and how the play has changed perspectives about the Klamath Salmon Crisis and the parties involved. I also analyze how the development process of Salmon is Everything has contributed to community outreach, education and activism. By researching the origins and continued development of Salmon is Everything this study examines the play's role in representing and forging community and its implications for community-building across difference from within the Klamath Salmon Crisis conflict.