Science on stage

Apr 4 2018 | By More

Strong theatre programme at Ed Sciencefest

There is a particularly strong programme of theatre productions at this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival, with performances around the city all through the Easter holidays.

Highlights include two new commissions by the festival, from Andy Cannon and Frozen Charlotte, with look at different elements of life in space. There is also a new short work from Grid Iron and the return of Mamoru Iriguchi’s Eaten – all about what happens to the food you eat (and excrete!)

Mamoru Iriguchi’s Eaten.

Leading storyteller Andy Cannon has just two performances of his new show Space Ape, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. In it he looks at space travel from the point of view of Yorick, an ape 20 years in the future, who stands alone, suited up and ready to blast off in a rocket on his celebrated journey to Mars.

Frozen Charlotte, which has had massive success with shows such as Paperbelle and Too Many Penguins?, has Valentina’s Galaxy at Summerhall an immersive show aimed at two to five year-olds – but no doubt fascinating to everyone – inspired by the adventures of real women in space.

Mamoru Iriguchi’s Eaten was one of the marmite shows of the 2017 fringe – it features Iriguchi as a lion, or maybe a man who has just been eaten by a lion, who contemplates his own demise and return to the earth as the lion’s dung.

It’s nominally aimed at over six year-olds, but will probably be best enjoyed by 8 to 12 year-olds who enjoy taking part. Most poo jokes are cheep entertainment, but while adults might shiver in horror at Iriguchi’s subject, children are endlessly fascinated by it.

Tortoise in a Nutshell has teamed up with the festival, Summerhall and Grid Iron for The Ornithopter, a short work in progress aimed at over 12 year-olds. Icarus dreams of touching the sun, reaching space and landing on the moon. And he’s invented six thousand ways how not to do it. But now he thinks he has found a way that will actually work….

There are also productions for children from Tangram Theatre Company, with The Element in the Room a musical by John Hinton about Marie Curie, and a work-in-progress from Hinton himself with The Ensonglopedia of Animals, in which he encounters 26 animals – one for each letter of the alphabet.

Bees are buzzing in the Botanics – yes, despite the far from summery weather – with ThisEgg’s new family comedy, Me and My Bee and Eco Drama return to the Festival Theatre Studio with The Worm.


Valentina’s Galaxy
The Old Lab, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL
Wednesday 4 – Sunday 8 April 2018.
Preview Weds 10.30am.
Thurs – Sun: 10.30am and 1.30pm.
Tickets and details: valentinas-galaxy
An intergalactic inspiration for starry-eyed 2-5 year olds and their adults. Frozen Charlotte’s fascinating, funny and moving experience is inspired by the wondrous adventures of real women in space. Created especially for young audiences, it is an immersive performance with a combustible concoction of experiments, rocket launches and stargazing.

Eaten by Mamoru Iriguchi
Dissection Room, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL (Ages 6+)
Thursday 5 April only: 11am and 2pm (50 mins)
Tickets and details: Eaten.
What if your food started talking back? Meet Lionel the Lion. He’s just eaten a human called Mamoru for lunch, but he hasn’t chewed his food. So Mamoru’s alive and well in his stomach, and now wants to say hello. A strange friendship between the eater and eaten starts to grow, meanwhile, Lionel’s breakfast wants to say hello…from his bottom! Eaten is a show about food, eating and being eaten that invites children and grown-ups to explore the fascinating world of food chains.

Space Ape by Andy Cannon
Netherbow Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR (Ages7+)
Saturday 7 April Only: 2pm and 7pm (1 hour)
Tickets and details: space-ape-by-andy-cannon
Once upon a time, approximately 20 years from now, Yorick stands alone, suited up and ready to blast off in a rocket on his celebrated journey to Mars. Space Ape is a new science fiction storytelling performance that will take young audiences on a journey through art, science and philosophy, and on a mission with a very special ape. Andy Cannon, Scotland’s leading storyteller for young audiences, tells the tale, sharing his passion for space travel using everyday objects and animation.

Me and My Bee
Lecture Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20a Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR (all ages)
Sunday 8 – Wednesday 11 April
Sun: 4pm, Mon – Weds: 11am and 2pm
Tickets and details: me-and-my-bee.
Our fuzzy little friends need our help to survive. ThisEgg’s new family comedy, featuring live music, is a political party, disguised as a party party, disguised as a show, that invites you to save the world, one bee at the time. Plant the seed for change and join the bee party!

The Ensonglopedia of Animals
Dissection Room, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL (Ages 5+)
Tuesday 10 April only: 11am (75 mins).
Tickets and details: ensonglopedia-of-animals.
Meet 26 animals – one for each letter of the alphabet, and all 26 through the medium of silly song. Learn fascinating facts about extraordinary echinoderms, distressed damselflies, crazy corals, batty beetles and amazing arachnids. This is a work-in-progress performance by John Hinton, the writer and performer of a string of award-winning science theatre shows. This performance will be followed by a feedback session, which is your chance to help him shape his piece in time for the premier of this show in late April.

The Element In The Room
Dissection Room, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL (Ages 7+)
Tuesday 10 April only: 3pm. (70 mins)
Tickets and details: the-element-in-the-room.
A radioactive musical comedy about the death and life of Marie Curie, arguably the most important woman in science. She discovered two chemical elements, won two Nobel prizes, pioneered the use of X-rays and made significant contributions to the search for a cure for cancer, all in the face of prejudice and personal tragedy. John Hinton’s multi-award-winning musical comedy – which also features Einstein and Darwin – tells her incredible life story, including breathtaking breakthroughs, exhilarating experiments and seriously silly songs.

The Ornithipter
Basement Gallery 1, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL (Ages 11+)
Thursday 12 April only: 10.30am–3pm, half hourly [not 12.30 or 1pm]
Tickets and details: the-ornithopter.
Icrus dreams of touching the sun, reaching space and landing on the moon. And he’s invented six thousand ways how not to do it. But now he thinks he has found a way that will actually work. Can he escape his dreary life and soar amongst those magnificent men in their flying machines? Is he brave enough to jump? Fly or Fall, there’s only one way to find out. Join us for a breathtaking, 20-minute, work-in-progress, promenade performance.

The Worm – An Underground Adventure
The Old Lab, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL (Ages 3+)
Thursday 12 April: 11am (relaxed performance) & 2pm, 1 hour
Tickets and details: the-worm-an-underground-adventure.
Underneath your feet in the muddy brown soil squirms the world’s best-kept secret…a wonderful, magical creature called the Worm. Join Wilma and William, two nature lovers, on a journey underground as they discover a family of friendly, musical worms and their colourful miniature world. Sit on the grass as the adventure unfolds, involving charming finger puppetry, colourful bobble hats, live cello music and laugh-out-loud songs. After the performance, you’ll be invited to meet some real worms in a special-designed wormery.

Family Story Time
The Old Lab, Summerhall, Summerhall Place, EH9 1PL
Friday 13 April, 10.30am, 12pm, 2.30pm. (50 mins)
Tickets and details:
Ideal for young people aged 3-7 and their families, this delightful interactive theatre performance looks at the science bits inside some well-known stories. Will the Wee Experts solve the science problems and learn something new? Join us for an adventure and find out what happens when they set out to discover the wonderful world of science in the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker.


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