Zoo SpaceCamp

About The Project:

In April 2017, The Zoo Animals were commissioned by Cornerstone Arts Centre to spend 2 weeks Researching and Developing a new production, working alongside RAL Space (Science + Technology Facilities Council) and the Harwell Campus, to find out how theatre could effectively engage Low Science Capita audiences, and young people, in the wonders of space science as a whole. 

Working alongside leading calibration expert and space scientists, the four core Zoo Co artists (Roz, Fleur, Nick and Flo) went on a mission to find out as much as we could about 4 core space science principals and areas of research. These were satellites, stars & supernovas, solar weather, orbits & The Goldilocks Zone.

Through researching these 4 core areas, we uncovered incredible information and research about leading female scientists who were instrumental in the discoveries of both past and present researchers and scientists. These unsung heroes fascinated us, encouraging us to ensure that the legacy of these scientist's discoveries were realised within the piece itself.

By the end of the 2 weeks, we presented an outline of our research, ideas for how we would bring these huge, abstract concepts to life onstage (hint: lots of expensive circusy elements and exploding stuff!), and a framework of our storyline, told through the eyes of a young aspiring girl who's fascination with space takes the audience on a moving, personal and engaging story, hurtling the audience, and the character's mum through space using interactive, highly visual, accessible story-telling and theatre.

The Creative Process So Far: Documenting our Research and Development Period - April 2017

Part of Zoo Co's focus for this year is to open up and share our rehearsal process and documentation in an accessible and immediate way. We created Instagram Stories and shared them with our followers via Facebook and Instagram and via our newsletter. Zoo Animal Nick also created a weekly video documentary of our rehearsal process, which you can see below.

R+D IMAGES:

WEEK ONE:

WEEK TWO:

What's next?

Another R+D! We are delighted to announce that we have received full funding from the Spark Award which will enable Zoo Co to bring together a cohesive and vital pilot of the surrounding engagement programme included within the project, creating a body of workshops in collaboration with RAL Space for audiences and young people. 

It will also enable us creatively, with time allocated to work with a playwright and set designer in order to create a fully realised production proposal. 

​Following this second R+D period, The Zoo Co and Cornerstone Arts Centre will make further funding applications to both science funding bodies, and arts funders, in order to create and tour this exciting production.

This project is being created with a view to touring the production and engagement programme over a long period of time after the pilot period is completed, with touring potentially being rolled out across 1-3 years. So this R+D represents the project in its very earliest stages!

For more details about the project, please do contact Florence on florence@zooco.co.uk

REFLECTIONS FROM THE ZOO ANIMALS AT A GLANCE:

Nick

​"The biggest challenge for me was working out how to translate all of our research into theatre, working out how to put these massive ideas onto the stage in front of an audience.

​My favourite parts of the R+D included the light-hearted improvisation workshops we did, personifying planets and satellites, turning science into everyday situations, for example, using orbits to explore everyday relationships with our families, friends and relatives"

Flo

I loved this R+D because it included detailed, complex and astronomically exciting research, working alongside real life scientists (!) who helped us to understand these abstract principals in an engaging (and probably hugely simplified!) way. This made the challenge of bringing story-telling to these themes more readily accessible and gave us such a lot to use in terms if inspiration and material.

Also, the raging feminist in me found it utterly crap that so many incredible female scientists have had their work belittled, ignored, and claimed by other male scientists and I'd love to think that if even one of our young female audience members feels empowered to become the next leading astronomer, that would be a real win"