Your Choice: Stories and games following the threads of cancer clinical trials

What will you choose to do about cancer? 

Join us for an inspiring night of interactive games and verbatim theatre taking you on the journeys of patients, clinicians and researchers involved in cancer clinical trials.

cancer clinical trials bristol

Where: Bristol Improv Theatre, Bristol

When: 27th January, 7.30pm

Tickets: £5-£7 online 

Your Choice is a unique night that combines moving performances of personal clinical trial stories with challenging role play games that put you and your team in the hotseats of cancer researchers.

Rising Ape Collective, in collaboration with Cancer Research UK, have been busily gathering the stories¬†of the people closest to clinical trials ‚ÄĒ cancer patients, researchers and nurses ‚ÄĒ so you can experience them for yourself. And there’ll be prizes!

Why do clinical trials matter?

One in two people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Whether you develop it yourself, or it takes hold of someone close, it’s a sad reality we all must face.

But, crucially, the future is brightening all the time. Half of people diagnosed with cancer today will survive, and that’s down to the work of countless scientists, doctors and nurses who tirelessly lead the fight against cancer. But the new treatments they develop wouldn’t be possible without the patients who choose to participate in vital clinical trials.

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Clinical trials provide the evidence to drive forward research into treatments for cancer by discovering which therapies work best. By choosing to opt in to a trial, patients choose to further our collective knowledge of cancer, so we can beat it sooner.

Your Choice is all about celebrating the extraordinary contributions of these everyday people. Come down with your team to the Bristol Improv Theatre and discover the choices everyone is making about cancer.

Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5-£7. Follow the link below to book yours in advance:

BOOK TICKETS

Space on the night for teams will be limited so snap them up!

Rising Ape + Cancer Research UK + BIT = Something special soon…

cancer research uk rising ape event bristol

This summer Cancer Research UK Cardiff approached Rising Ape Collective¬†and asked if we’d like to develop¬†an immersive event¬†based around¬†clinical trials and patient involvement. After successful initial discussions, planning and research, we are very pleased to now start shouting about it!

In January, Rising Ape and the Bristol Improv Theatre will host an evening that gets you, our audience, right in the shoes of the people making clinical trials and cancer research happen. Like all our events it will be audience-centred and engaging as hell. But this particular subject means we get the chance to try something even more human, moving and relatable.

It can¬†be easy to take for granted¬†the¬†impact cancer research has had on our world, especially if you’re lucky enough to lack personal experience of this impact. In the seventies, 1 in 4 people diagnosed with cancer died. Over the last 40 years, thanks to the work done by the people of organisations like Cancer Research UK, survival rates have doubled.¬†This astonishing progress¬†would not be possible without the thousands of real people,¬†patients included, from all¬†backgrounds who come¬†together to make it happen through projects¬†like clinical trials. These people continue to work together every day and it’s their contributions we want you to experience.

cancer research uk rising ape event bristol

For all it’s success, cancer research is an area that can seem every bit as complex, confusing and, let’s face it, as scary, to most of us as the diseases¬†it’s working to understand and combat. How are new drugs discovered? Who decides what treatments patients get? How do we know what works? It may¬†not sound like the obvious choice for the next Rising Ape Presents

But we’re excited.

We’re excited because we get to highlight the human stories behind clinical trials: the place where¬†scientists, nurses, doctors, and (most of all)¬†patients¬†work together¬†to beat cancer sooner.

We’re excited to bring together a whole medley of people, patients, performers, researchers, game makers and others, to forge new conversations and understandings in an effort to create something unique.

We’re excited to collaborate¬†with both the Bristol Improv Theatre¬†and Cancer Research UK to make this possible. The first is an old friend we are loving working more closely with, and the second is a renowned organisation of committed and passionate people that¬†have given us the opportunity¬†to push ourselves¬†in new ways.

And we’re beyond excited for you to be a part of it, whether in Bristol or, who knows, even beyond?

So look out for production updates/creative tantrums/over-excitement here on the site and @RisingApeTweets, @CRUKCardiff and www.improvtheatre.net and keep the end of January as free as Willy when he soars over that Canadian sea wall, thrashing his big tail. Rising Ape, BIT and Cancer Research UK will be waiting for you.

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***

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.

Eruption Ft. Nicky Young

03/06/15 7.30pm, Bristol Improv Theatre, £3.50 entry

‚ÄúWhat was that?‚ÄĚ gasped Carol, one of Rising Apeton‚Äôs oldest residents. She‚Äôd 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‚Äôd sent her hearing aids in for service, they were now so sensitive she could even pick up three channels of Croatian TV. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs nothing, you‚Äôre hearing things again you old bat,‚ÄĚ barked her ogreish neighbor. But Carol wasn‚Äôt that old, and if she were a bat she‚Äôd 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 ‚ÄėBubbling Cider‚Äô 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…

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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: £3.50 on the door or available online from the Bristol Improv Theatre website

Time: 3rd June 2015. 7:30pm – 10:00pm

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‚Äôs 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: ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs going to be some strange people waiting for you when you land. We sent them up first but they may have gone rogue. They‚Äôre 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‚Äôll 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėgreen‚Äô 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 ‚Äď 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

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 ‚Äď 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.

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.