Ground-breaking digital show to bring ‘magic and joy’ despite lockdown

Tickets are on sale for a ground-breaking digital show which organisers say will bring the ‘magic and joy of theatre’ to children in the safety of their own homes.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Westside has announced that the Northern Ireland-based children’s theatre company Cahoots NI will present an immersive digital show for children called The University of Wonder and Imagination from 1 to 5 December.

With the REP currently closed and most live theatre not possible due to lockdown restrictions, the company hopes the hour-long production will capture the “sheer joy and wonder that live performance brings young audiences”.

It will be broadcast live over Zoom to a limited pre-booked audience with tickets now on sale at www.birmingham-rep.co.uk.

The University of Wonder and Imagination is an hour-long interactive digital theatre production that allows audiences to effectively direct the performance, based on their interaction with the performers.

Led by the mysterious Professor Bamberg, the ‘students’ will embark on a journey where nothing is quite what it seems, encountering problems and puzzles as they attempt to unlock magical powers and ‘graduate’ with flying colours.

Paul Bosco McEneaney, creator/director of The University of Wonder and Imagination, and artistic director of Cahoots NI, said: “We are thrilled to be opening the doors of the University of Wonder and Imagination for enrolment.

“Now, more than ever, we want to capture the sheer joy and wonder that theatre and live performance brings young audiences, something we so desperately miss being able to provide at this time.

“We have worked hard to create an experience that would act as a first step to bridge the gap between young people and live theatre that can be enjoyed at home.

“The choices our audiences make live, during the event, will shape their unique theatre experience – and that’s hugely exciting for us.”

Added Paul: “The technology we are using for the production is intricate, but it will be seamlessly blended with physical sets and magical illusions.

“We believe it will be a fun-filled, thrilling experience for children, for their families and for our cast and crew to be a part of.”

Sean Foley, The REP’s artistic director, said: “Since closing our physical building in March due to COVID-19 restrictions, The REP has strived to continue its civic purpose within the city.

“From the wardrobe team creating scrubs for the NHS, the catering team providing thousands of meals for children in the city and our learning team reaching hundreds of school pupils and young people – our talented staff have found new, innovative ways to connect with communities.

“Now, as we continue with a second national lockdown, this inventive way of bringing theatre to children from the safety of their own home will provide families with a fun and exciting opportunity to come together and enjoy the magic of theatre.

“We look forward to welcoming families to The University of Wonder and Imagination.”

By Paul Linford

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