0 comments on “What went down in Life on Mars: The Gameshow at Einstein’s Garden, Green Man Festival 2015”

What went down in Life on Mars: The Gameshow at Einstein’s Garden, Green Man Festival 2015

Einstein's banner - Green Man

***TRANSMISSION BEGINS***

We made it back. Thanks to the Rising Ape Space Agency  we have returned from Mars and finished our thorough debrief with the professional medical staff here at RASA Mission Control in Bristol. But the memories of our time with you Martian colonists will stay with us, at least until the same time next year.

In total eight teams signed up to compete in the first ever gameshow held on Mars, including Superstars, Team Uranus, Space Oddity, and Team Placenta. The prize? A luxury hamper containing precious bonus rations of ice-cream (freeze dried), a foil blanket for the cold Martian night, and an extra regulation RASA crew t-shirt. The be-tophatted host, James Riley, introduced his two android helpers, A-TON and E-STEL, and the serenest super computer this side of Orion, DAVIDBOT 3000, and then the games were afoot.

Host James

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Ash, our engineer, and a veteran of a simulated Mars mission who helped us devise the rounds was unable to attend the festival at the last moment. Understandably, these sorts of things can happen in space missions, and it gave us an opportunity to practice an important skill for all astronauts to have: improvisation.

Into the breach stepped Zoe of the National Space Centre, who with minimal (read: no) rehearsal delivered three motivating speeches throughout the show on the importance of Teamwork, Communication and Psychological Understanding to a successful space mission. You colonists made our guest very welcome and there were loud cheers for her inspiring words.

Aton and James

Round 1 was all about Teamwork. It saw two teams race against the clock to navigate a giant exposed wire that formed part of the hab’s airlock system. A steady hand and excellent coordination between team members was required to succeed. Amazingly, both teams completed the challenge in the time allowed, but due to touching less exposed wires, Team Uranus made it through to the final.

Charades Round

In the second round, Communication, two teams engaged in a Charades-off based around various space-related titles in pop culture. Incredibly this proved even more difficult than on a Christmas evening after too many sherries when your nan has to act out Shawshank Redemption. Perhaps the pressure of the crowd, or the weight of the potential prize was weighing on the colonist’s minds, but in the end Space Oddity qualified despite only getting two film titles correct! Special mention must be made for their rivals, Team Placenta, who managed to describe Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus for their only correct answer. using only frantic pointing. The colony administration salutes your dedication!

DAVIDBOT 3000

For the third qualification round, the teams had to guess the most popular answers to the Colony-wide survey that was distributed shortly before the weekend. The Colony Administration would like to thank all who volunteered their personal psychological data, and to let those who selected ‘Lighthouse Family – Lost in Space’ know that they are being closely monitored.

In an extremely tense round, the young whippersnappers of Superstars came from behind to steal the win from Team Uranus, after correctly deciding that most Colonists would want to call their parents for their annual phonecall (aww, you softies). Full results of the survey will be available soon for those who really want to know what the Colony’s favourite ice-cream (freeze dried) flavour is. Hint: it’s not ‘Chorizo’.

Alex on Mars

And so the final round was upon us. At this point the downpour was really trying to make sure everyone believed there was liquid H20 on Mars which will have come as welcome news to those early 21st Century rovers that we saw gathering dust out on the plains. The three qualified teams remained resolute and threw themselves into the final challenge. Tasked with carrying multiple radioactive pellets all the way around Einstein’s Garden, using only a custom made hand-held safety transporter, which only looked a bit like a big spoon covered in foil and hazard tape, before throwing them into the Colony furnace from a safe distance to save the habitat’s rapidly shutting down life-support system…. Well, let’s just say they nailed it.

In the end, Team Uranus emerged victorious, out throwing the others by some margin, and claiming the extra rations as their prize. Like true Colony comrades they immediately shared the spoils with the remaining teams, in a scene which nearly, nearly brought a virtual tear to DAVIDBOT 3000’s stoic pixels. As if in awe of what it had just witnessed, at this point the rain finally stopped.

RASA off stage

We’d like to thank Maddy for letting us on the Solar Stage for this escapade, Jen and the crew of Einstein’s Garden for solving our problems and making us feel so welcome, Ash and Zoe for their contributions to the show and, most of all, the eight teams of brave colonists who stuck it out through the deluge and competed with such admirable gusto. The future of Martian colonies looks safe in your hands.

And so, as the lights of the vast domed Green Man festival habitat went down, we tidied away the set and DAVIDBOT 3000, before celebrating the success of the first ever gameshow on Mars by dancing around to some very fine musical acts. Circulating rumours of the white suited RASA team being repeatedly mistaken for the band Super Furry Animals and engaging in 5am sing-alongs with Charlotte Church can be neither confirmed, nor denied….

***TRANSMISSION ENDS***

0 comments on “Eruption! ft. Nicky Young… The Movie!”

Eruption! ft. Nicky Young… The Movie!

Rising Ape Eruption

It’s fair to say that ‘Rising Ape Presents… Eruption!’ was a blast. You became vulcanologists for the evening, vulcanologists who knew a surprising amount about the career of Pierce Brosnan. Using your in-depth knowledge of lava flows, increasing pH levels and the correct pronunciation of Ejyafjallajokull you came to the aid of the perilously located town of Rising Apeton. You were then regaled by researcher Nicky Young and her tales of studying Hawaiian volcanoes and dodging Aberdeenian seagulls. Thank you once again for making it a fantastic evening (and some of the most tortuous quiz team names ever imagined)!

There was just one problem. The next day, when your work colleagues asked what you did the night before, they probably didn’t believe you, it all sounded so incredible. That’s where we can help.

Please enjoy the video evidence of your heroics in our highlights reel below, and show those doubting friends of yours what they missed out on. We hope you like it.

Finally, a massive cheers to the highly professional crew of Raw Frames for making the film. We can heartily recommend them to anyone looking for a video of their event.

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Eruption Ft. Nicky Young

03/06/15 7.30pm, Bristol Improv Theatre, ÂŁ3.50 entry

“What was that?” gasped Carol, one of Rising Apeton’s oldest residents. She’d been hearing worryingly strange rumblings for weeks. This was partly down to her astute, matriarchal, cautious nature; but also the amusing fact that ever since she’d sent her hearing aids in for service, they were now so sensitive she could even pick up three channels of Croatian TV. “It’s nothing, you’re hearing things again you old bat,” barked her ogreish neighbor. But Carol wasn’t that old, and if she were a bat she’d have been smart enough to leave this damned place long ago. What Carol had been hearing was the murmuring of Risuvious, the apparently dormant volcano that lay at the centre of the Bristol ‘Bubbling Cider’ fault line. The birds had left weeks before, but in their arrogance the clever humans had stayed far too long. The end drew near for Rising Apeton…

eruptionflyer

Rising Ape returns with a real lava palaver! What’s your mission? To work out how to save Rising Apeton. As always, you’ll need your best quiz heads on, and of course the winning team will get a sizzling prize. The night will end with an incandescent talk from bubbling volcanic researcher Nicky Young. So come along, grab a drink, and get planning!

Nicky Young studies volcanoes as a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol. An early love of rock-hounding and geology-based movies such as Dantes Peak, Volcano, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (factual or not as they may be) led her to beginning a Geology MSci at Bristol 6 years ago. This was followed by a 6 month stint in Hawaii at the Volcano Observatory where Nicky explored the signals Kilaeau volcano emitted to try and discern volcanic movement. Since then studying volcanoes has been her passion, which is why she returned to Bristol for a PhD. She studies the movement of active volcanoes to understand what is happening deep below our feet.

Location: Bristol Improv Theatre, St Pauls Road, Bristol, BS8 1LP

Ticket Price: ÂŁ3.50 on the door or available online from the Bristol Improv Theatre website

Time: 3rd June 2015. 7:30pm – 10:00pm

0 comments on “Rising Ape announced at Green Man Festival”

Rising Ape announced at Green Man Festival

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, other Unidentified Life Forms of every gender dimension. The Rising Ape Space Agency is gearing up for its second trip to the Red Planet, this time with our friends at the legendary Einstein’s Garden of Green Man Festival, 20-23 August!

It’s your first day on Martian Colony #1, and definitely not a field in the gorgeous Brecon Beacons. As you wipe the hyper-sleep from your eyes, you stare around the landing module and see your teammates. You remember the last thing that the Rising Ape Space Agency Mission Control said before you left: “There’s going to be some strange people waiting for you when you land. We sent them up first but they may have gone rogue. They’re probably going to try and make you do a ridiculous Mars-themed competition. Just go with it. Humour their dust-addled minds.” You blink and take your first steps on the Red Planet. ‘First to wake up! 10 points!’ a voice shouts from nearby. Your life on Mars has begun…

Life on Mars event

So come down to the Festival Habitat Module, or ‘Solar Stage’, on Saturday 21st August with the rest of your plucky team. You’ll need to prove yourselves up to the task of settling Mars on a gameshow for the whole crowd that’s so out of this world, it’s made it to the next!

Fresh off the rocket is our newest recruit and resident Mars expert, Ashley Dove-Jay, a space engineer (best job title ever!). Ash’s work is wide-ranging. In the last year he has developed radiation mitigation strategies for astronauts in deep-space with Inspiration Mars; advised senior NASA figures on strategies for protecting civilisation from the effects of a solar super-storm; written several papers for his Ph.D. regarding the development of future ‘green’ aircraft morphing wing technologies; and has conducted a solo-hiking expedition through the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard, conducting biological research on floral pollinators. Phew, we hope he has some energy left by August.

He has also commanded a two-week long simulated Mars mission in Utah.  This experience should stand him in good stead for what lies in store after joining our new Life on Mars!

More details to follow…

Einstein’s Garden is an essential, cherished part of Green Man Festival, where you can explore the far flung reaches of your imagination with over 100 jaw-dropping performances, from live comedy, music and theatre to walks, talks and interactive installations – all set across three sustainably powered stages.

Nestled among the leafy arbors and fragrant rosebeds at the heart of the beautiful Green Man site, Einstein’s Garden is the perfect place to cultivate your curiosity and indulge your creative passions. You won’t find anything quite like it at any other UK festival!

Read more about the Einstein’s Garden lineup. Buy tickets for Green Man Festival.

Follow them @EinsteinsGarden and @GreenManFest

0 comments on “Debrief: Enter the Bat Cave”

Debrief: Enter the Bat Cave

rising ape

Rising ape presents enter the bat cave

It’s that time again when we sit back and reflect on last month’s proceedings. As February’s Rising Ape event was bat themed, I’m tempted to say I’m sat in an old, cold and creaky castle, in a deep and dusty chair, scribbling by a candlelight which animates lurking figures on the walls. But after attending Enter the Bat Cave we know this demonic stereotype and the repulsion it spreads is unwarranted.

Barising apets, far from living up to their reputation as the archetypal Halloween animal, are actually quite cute. And thanks to Kiri and Stuart from the Avon Bat Group we all got up close and nocturnal with some pipistrelles – a cute little species found commonly in the UK.

Your quiz team names were, as ever, impeccable. We had the Hand Wings (Google it), Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Quiz Team (touché), Bats with Prostates (they do have them), and the Flying Rats (what did we just say about stereotypes, ey?).

Avon Bat Group Rising Ape
Kiri and Stuart showing off their bats

And in the activity your bat untangling skills shone through. Many of you even became dab hands at bat identification – a skill that can take researchers many years to master.

Enter the bat cave Rising apeRising Ape presents enter the bat cave

Heather Nichol explained how wind turbines can and do affect bats in their environment. This isn’t an argument against renewable energy, far from it; we just have to make sure that in trying to save our world by mitigating climate change, we don’t unwittingly cause damage to local ecosystems.

Heather Nichol Rising ape
Heather imparting her batty knowledge.

The night hopefully did a small part to peel back the bad name of bats – the bloodsucking prejudice which taints the image of these fascinating creatures. Thank you again to everyone who came along and took part. Keep an eye out on Facebook or Twitter for our next event.

0 comments on “Want to adopt a bat with Avon Bat Group?”

Want to adopt a bat with Avon Bat Group?

Microbat Photo by Neal Foster

A BIG thank you to Kiri and Stuart from the Avon Bat Group for coming to Enter the Bat Cave and showing off the beautiful little animals they have in their care. Everyone really enjoyed getting up close and personal with an animal that is so rarely seen by the general public.

Stuart and Kiri with their bats and Bish the bear from Bristol Improv Theatre
Stuart and Kiri with their bats and Bish the Bear from Bristol Improv Theatre

If you are interested in supporting Avon Bat Group, adopting a bat, or just want to know more about your new favourite mammal; you can find more information on their website at www.avonbatgroup.org.uk, or like their facebook page for regular updates. We hope that after all you learnt during the evening, you can really appreciate how important their work is.

Thank you to everyone who came last night, we hope you had a great evening! Keep an eye on the website for more information about our next event and for another of Antony’s excellent infographics about Enter the Bat Cave.

0 comments on “ENTER THE BAT CAVE Ft. Batwoman Heather Nichol”

ENTER THE BAT CAVE Ft. Batwoman Heather Nichol

Plunge into the depths of one of Bristol’s darkest bat caves – a place where the echoes of lost souls linger and haunt the footsteps of all those who enter. Fleeting silhouettes of winged creatures lay claim to these walls, and the stench of guano weighs heavy on the air


OK, so in reality we just turned off all the lights in the Bristol Improv Theatre, and the Rising Ape team forgot to wash, but bear with us for a moment. Rising Ape returns with a night of bat-themed madness. Bring a team and stretch your wings in the quiz. You better know your long ears from your short snouts, your Dracula from your Orlok, and your Slazenger from your Gunn & Moore. But as bat researchers stuck in a terrifying cave, we don’t expect you to just sit there all night. Be prepared to get up close and personal, untangling these creature’s fascinating secrets for yourselves with help from some special guests. To conclude the night’s eerie proceedings, real-life Batwoman Heather Nichol will share her personal journey into the world of bats.

Tickets available at http://improvtheatre.net/calendar/enter-the-bat-cave/

Tickets also available on the door.

Enter the Bat Cave... there is no exit.
Enter the Bat Cave… there is no exit.

More about Heather Nichol: Heather has been involved in bat conservation for the past 5 years. She was first introduced to the world of bats during her undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds, and has since taken part in various conservation projects, including a project that discovered the first know breeding colony of Alcathoe bats in the UK. Heather has just completed a Masters by Research at the University of Bristol studying one of the hot topics in ecology at moment: bat fatalities in wind farms in Britain.

0 comments on “Debrief: Life on Mars”

Debrief: Life on Mars

It’s been just over a week since our first event, Life on Mars, and we thought now would be the perfect time to sit back and reflect on it.

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone for coming along and making it such an enjoyable evening. Your witty quiz names and animalistic competitiveness added so much to the proceedings.

rising ape presents
What would quizzes be without pun names?

For the first group of civilians on Mars, you settled in quickly. Drinking your way through the ethanol rations and indignantly defending your David Bowie album knowledge. In light of certain disagreements over quiz answers, future Rising Ape quizzes will come equipped with an academically formatted Harvard reference list. Still, the legendary Colin Pillinger would be delighted by your flattering biro portraits, and a couple of you were incredibly close to pinning the Curiosity on the Mars-y. Accordingly, inter-planetary points were awarded galore.

Next, we were very proud to see your ambition when taking on your mission to design a Martian rover. We were also slightly astonished with the lack of humanity when teams raided the scrapheap for building resources. We were reminded of a group of starving, rabid squirrels swarming in on a small packet of KP salted peanuts – needless to say, some did not survive.

rising ape presents
Constructing the rover using NASA-certified materials.

Following your vibrant materials raiding, we were surprised by your incredible ingenuity, some of the rovers could actually roll across rocky terrain, and one was built without any tape at all! (We know most Martian rovers are built without sticky tape, be it sello or gaffer, but NASA don’t use straws as axles either – this was seriously impressive!)

rising ape presents
“I tell you, he was small and green and I saw him run into that crater!”

When the sandstorm outside the colony had died down, our speaker Michaela Musilova inspired us with the science of astrobiology. She also shared with us stories from her time on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a Mars colony experiment in the Arizona desert. According to her experiences on the MDRS, before we ship off to Mars, we need to seriously work on the psychological problems which we suffer from when cooped up with people in a small space. The Rising Ape Team thinks the only reason there hasn’t been a murder on Big Brother is probably the voting off process. Needless to say this isn’t an option on Mars.

rising ape presents
Michaela’s captivating presentation.

Following Michaela’s talk we opened up to questions from the floor. The first of these came in at warp speed, with what is probably the hardest scientific or metaphysical question you can ask in three words: What is life? Keep this kind of curiosity coming Rising Apes, it’s what has made humanity special all along.

Here’s the night’s playlist because we know how much you colonists enjoyed doing the Martian Hop.

rising ape presents
Our chemist, David ‘Chem Judge’ Judge, with an assemblage of Martian rovers.