2 minutes with Tom the Scientist from Publish or Perish

Rising Ape Collective are busy preparing our next live action choose-your-own-adventure show.

During rehearsal last week we found a befuddled scientist wandering around backstage and demanded he explain himself.

Oi. Who are you and where have you come from?

Hi, I’m Tom the Scientist. No last name I’m afraid. I’m a pretty one dimensional character right now but I really feel like I’ve got a lot of potential. 

As far as I can tell, I was grown in a big fish tank by Rising Ape Labs. I emerged last year, fully formed and ready for science and have been sciencing away in their Publish or Perish show ever since.

You seem a bit unsure of yourself. Why is that? 

The problem is that my history, character and actual behaviour are all decided for me each night by this weird group of people called an ‘audience’ so it’s hard to know anything for certain in my life.

Well can you at least tell us why the show is called Publish or Perish?

As you probably know, publishing research papers is a really big deal and I’ve got a big deadline for a very important paper coming up. I should make it as long as I’m not distracted by any bizzare characters or side quests.

The ‘perish’ part is quite worrying, personally. There are rumours around the uni that a shadowy yet powerful cabal exact painful punishments on those who fail their departments. But as long as the audience make the right choices for me, I’m sure I’ll be fine. I hope so anyway.

How does it feel to have your destiny completely out of your hands each night? 

It’s actually pretty exciting. Last week I had to go to the Moon to research the best way to put tiny hats on spiders. I guess it must have made sense at the time.

Wild stuff. Any advice for audience members aspiring to be a researcher? 

The best way to put a tiny hat on a spider is to open a tiny hat shop. They just come in and try them on themselves!

Thanks, Tom. We can’t wait to decide your fate!

Rising Ape Collective perform Publish or Perish on Saturday 22 February at The Room Above, Bristol, as part of a comedy double bill with improvisers The Free Radicals.  Book your tickets now

3 minutes with Bradley from The Free Radicals

This month, we are beyond excited to be hosting The Free Radicals and the Bristol premiere of their improvised science comedy show, Schrödinger’s Hat. Ahead of the double bill at The Room Above theatre, we sat down with the group’s cartoon mascot, Bradley, to get the scoop on the show.

Hello new cartoon friend. Who are you and what are The Free Radicals all about?

Hi there, I’m Bradley Radical, the friendly face of The Free Radicals, an improv troupe based in Reading.

The Free Radicals formed out of a group of improvisers who attend the “What’s The Game” drop-in improv classes. The venue for the classes also hosted the local chapter of the British Science Association (BSA) and we learned they were looking for science-inspired events for British Science Week 2017.

Dave, founder of the troupe, pitched an idea to the BSA: an improv show based on a talk from a local researcher. They loved it. So, a team of willing improvisers was assembled from the class and we performed the show Schrödinger’s Hat for the first time in March 2017.

Feedback from the first audience, speaker and players was positive and we’ve been going ever since.

‘Schrödinger’s Hat’, great improv pun title. What motivated you to make this kind of show?

The term “alternative facts” had recently been coined around the time we started and was being used a lot to disparage evidence-based journalism. Dave’s background is in software engineering and he was keen to showcase legitimate science and technology research in a way that would be accessible to wider audiences. Bringing in a guest speaker to provide a short talk for the improvisers to riff off of seemed like a great way of achieving this goal.

The “Schrödinger’s Hat” of the title came about as we tell the audience that the physicist Schrödinger would often lecture whilst talking through his hat. This meant that what they heard was simultaneously true and false- a joke that chimes well with the themes of ‘alternative facts’.

What do the speakers think about your performances based off their research?

When we first started, we were concerned that we might accidentally cross a line and upset our speakers. However, we have had a unanimously positive response. We and the speakers see two main upsides to how we treat their research.

First, our audiences tell us they understand and remember a lot more about the talks than they were expecting. We think that, because they know we are creating sketches and stories around the research, the audience listen carefully to the speaker so they can spot the callbacks and references during the improv. In addition, the memory of a sketch or scene helps to reinforce some of the facts from the talk and even help to make sense of the science.

Second, our speakers love the way we play around with their talk. We are careful to respect the speaker and their science so it’s always done in a good-natured style.

How are you feeling about doing the show in Bristol?

We’re very excited. Notwithstanding that this is our first time performing outside of Reading, Bristol has particular significance for The Free Radicals.

Bristol is home to the Bristol Improv Theatre, plus loads of brilliant local troupes, and we recognise that there is a mature and discerning audience for improv. We are looking forward to seeing the reaction we get from the local community.

But Bristol also has a really strong science communication community, too. We feel that we are, in some small way, doing our bit for the public understanding of science. Finally, we are excited to be playing alongside Rising Ape Collective who have a foot in both scicomm and theatre like us.

Pretend I’m someone who absolutely hates science. Convince me to come to your show anyway.

The Free Radicals are drawn from the world of theatre, as well as STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths), so you can be confident you’re going to see a show that you’ll find funny at the very least. Our style is a mix of short games and long-form improv that can be both daft and clever.

When you add in the talk, you’ll also get to learn something you probably didn’t know before, so we hope the experience opens your mind. And at just £7 for two full shows it’ll be worth opening your wallets too!

I’m sold! Thanks Bradley, we’ll see you at the show.

The Free Radicals perform Schrödinger’s Hat as part of a double bill with Rising Ape’s Publish or Perish on Saturday 22 February at The Room Above. Book your tickets now

Double Bill: Publish or Perish & Schrödinger’s Hat @The Room Above, 22 Feb

This February, Rising Ape Collective presents a double bill with a difference – a night of science comedy and interactive theatre, the likes of which Bristol’s never seen…

Get your tickets now

Rising Ape Presents: Publish or Perish

The return of the choose-your-own-comedy-adventure from Rising Ape, where the whole audience gets to play together.

You and your friends take control of a helpless young scientist. Your task? Make it through the strangest day of their life in the weird world of Academia, guided by the all-knowing game masters.

Mashing up live action role play, daft songs, a fieldtrip-full of improvisers and an unhealthy dose of audience suggestions, surviving the sci-fantasy world of Publish or Perish ultimately depends on you – choose wisely!

“I loved being able to vote on the outcomes and the actors’ amazing ability to make things up on the spot.”

“I’ve never laughed so much, for so long”

“It brought an audience of strangers together in a way that I didn’t think was possible!”

Special guest show: Schrödinger’s Hat

We’re excited to be hosting the Bristol premiere of comedy science showcase – Schrödinger’s Hat, the show from the amazing Free Radicals of Reading that fuses together real science and improvised comedy theatre

At the heart of the performance is an engaging and informative talk from a mystery local researcher.

The Free Radicals players won’t have heard the talk before and, without rehearsal or script, they take its themes to produce a truly astonishing comedic journey of the imagination.

Tickets available: £7

Get your tickets now

Time Saviours make history hilarious @Creative Reactions Bristol

Huge thanks to everyone who came along to the Island gallery and became Time Saviours over the last two weeks. We tasked you with designing and building prototype inventions so good we could send them back in time to help out/sell to our ancestors. We were not disappointed…

Yes, Rising Apecorp, and unexpected guest Napoleon Bonuspoints, were blown away by your ridiculous creations, such as:

  • the crocodile flail and scuba for Ancient Egyptian babies
  • the ice age dams built to keep doggerland and our connection to Europe open
  • the medieval cat armor (armor for cats)
  • the luxurious spa, science centre and tree house combo where the horses of cowboys could unwind
  • And of course the fully operational MOT Reminder cannon designed to scare off self-driving cars (literally blown away).

Well done to the two winning teams, who, in particular, brought extraordinary creativity to their solutions for the challenges of the past- or at least worked out how to suspend mannequin legs from the gallery ceiling. Commiserations to the teams coming last, we hope the Peter Kay Live DVD and George’s favourite glove make up for your efforts.

Above all, thanks so much to Creative Reactions Bristol for having us as fairly chaotic part of their programme for this year, and for the team’s support on the nights.

Enjoy the pics below to get a sense of how it all went. If you missed out, keep your browsers peeled for details of future events, we hope you can join us soon.

Rising Ape Presents: Time Saviours – w/ Creative Reactions

Join Rising Ape and Creative Reactions Bristol for an artistic evening out with a difference over two nights this May.

Ever thought a pub quiz needed less questions and more masking tape? What if Dragon’s Den had a love child with Scrapheap Challenge which went along on Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Then Time Saviours needs you!

Artist’s impression of potential time travel safety wear

The year is 2026. Time travel is an everyday reality. Apecorp have invited the finest creative minds in Bristol to their imagi-lution suite for one purpose: changing history for the better whilst making money off this extremely dangerous technology.

You and your colleagues will cut, tape and glue. You will laugh, cheer and argue. But will your team come out on top of the pitch deck?

What strange beings lurk in the mists of time? And what can you sell them?

Bring your pals, grab a drink and get stuck in as we challenge you to solve the problems of the past with your fantastic inventions, and most of all, enjoy yourselves!

Get your free tickets now for the shows on Thursday 23rd May or Thursday 30th May.

This event is a part of the SciArt exhibition curated by Creative Reactions – Bristol, taking place at The Island Gallery Space and North Art Gallery throughout May.

Invent The Future @Creative Reactions Bristol, Hamilton House

How do you save the world from the debris of satellites made of dogs? Or help children hooked on baby-steroids? Or come to terms with the Earth becoming flat? These lot had the answers.

More than 70 people crowded into the Rising Ape Corp Imagination Solution Nexus (the top of Hamilton House) to first create the pressing problems and then solve them (or at least make money off them) out of bits of scrap.

Pitches were pitched, bonus points handed out and, after a parade through the building, the winners announced in the Creative Reactions Gallery itself.

The enthusiasm and creativity shown by the teams made this one of our favourite events so far.  Enjoy the gallery below to get a sense of the chaos, we can’t wait to Invent the Future with you all again soon.

Thanks to Matt Lee of Creative Reactions Bristol for the photos.

 

The Audience is in session – 1st December, Bristol Improv Theatre

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Your voice is ‘important’ to us.

MSG FROM: Ministry of Justice PLC
SUBJECT: Have you RSVP’d?

MSG BEGINS: Dear Citizen. Fresh from being the most packed, “disturbing”, and ethically confusing interactive show of the Green Man Festival Einstein’s Garden tent, The Audience is hitting Bristol with a heady mix of mob rule, computer smart-arsery and LED lights.

In the latest immersive show from Rising Ape Collective you’ll meet ALIX, the friendly courtroom AI, and get to have your say on what society thinks is morally right and wrong.

The show will be followed by a Q&A with the writers and a panel of local researchers ready to discuss your questions on the future of AI, our legal system, and whether robots will take all our jobs.

Attendance is voluntary, yet strongly advised. Please respond to your video invite, ALIX can’t wait to meet you.

Vote Justice. MSG ENDS.

More details, and RSVP on the event page.
Tickets available at  improvthreatre.co.uk

 

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

“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…

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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

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.