Friday, 5 December 2014

PREVIEW Antarctica at the Battersea Arts Centre

A DOCUMENTARY on how animals live in the remote wilderness of Antarctica has formed the inspiration for a new show for young children at the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC).
Antarctica, which has just opened at the Lavender Hill arts venue, has been created by Little Bulb Theatre company and features slippy-slidey penguins, glamorous sea lions and pesky birds as well as an intriguing creature - the owlabear.
Its artistic director Alex Scott came up with the idea after watching an episode of Frozen Planet.
"We have never done a show for children under seven before but were very excited to be commissioned to do so," he says.
"They are an amazing audience because they really invest and believe in the things they are seeing. It means you can do a lot of exciting things for them and we therefore wanted to make something really special for them.
"We were watching Frozen Planet which featured polar bears and we thought the imagery was so beautiful and the animals and the way they cope with the extreme cold so interesting.
"We found out so much amazing information about the animals and birds who live in the region - it was utterly fascinating and we thought we would love to do an adventure story where kids and their families get to go to the Antarctic."
And so the story began to take shape with Alex and his team keen to bring the Antarctic to life.
It has resulted in a show in which the audience is invited to join the Explorers' Club and to be whisked away on what Alex hopes will be an unforgettable journey.
"We've incorporated songs, puppets and lots of snowy surprises!" he says. "I play the explorer who runs the club. My character is on a mission to find an Owlabear and it becomes a quest for the audience too.
"Along the way we meet a whole array of other animals including polar bears, fish, penguins and birds so visually it's amazing.
"It's quite sciencey and a bit educational but also we wanted it to be funny and magical as well and that's where this mythical and magical creature comes in.
"The kids are very good at seeing it but as the explorer, I'm not so good! In fact I'm very bad at spotting it which is all part of the story."
As well as Alex there are three other actors on stage who between them play all the animals and of course there is the owlabear itself.
And to link in with the explorer theme it's been set in the Victorian era.
"We were all inspired by the exploits of the explorers of that time - such as Scott and Shackleton," explains Alex.
"It's mind blowing because they achieved so much and had a real mission to go out there and discover things. They had a devil may care attitude.
"I'm hoping that because children are naturally inquisitive and curious they will be completely absorbed and inspired - and excited to discover the amazing owlabear!"

Antarctica is on at the Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, until January 4. Tickets cost £14 for adults and £9 for children. Visit or call the box office on 020 7223 2223.

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