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 ÂŁ7 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: ÂŁ7

Get your tickets now

Get ready to Level Up with Rising Ape at Green Man 2019!

Image: Green Man Festival

We’re proud and excited to announce that we’re heading back to Einstein’s Garden at Green Man Festival this August.

In this most beautiful of Welsh valleys, we’ll be presenting Publish or Perish: Level Up, a semi-improvised mashup of choose-your-own-adventure, science satire and video game theatre.

The next evolution of our successful Publish or Perish format, this show will once again see the whole audience take control of a young researcher. Together, they’ll try make it through the strangest, most stressful day of their life (helped by an all-knowing game master) with the ultimate goal of hunting down the mythical “permanent full time position”.

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… (the show) really brought an audience of strangers together in a way that I didn’t think was possible!

Publish or Perish audience member

The new show is currently in development, but already we know there’ll be:

  • live action role play
  • daft songs/dafter dancing
  • a field trip full of improvisers
  • too many obscure game references
  • completely made up and useless science
  • an unhealthy dose of ridiculous audience suggestions

If even a tiny chunk of that appeals, we’d love you to join us in the Omni Tent at the festival. Will you survive the dangerous and surreal fantasy world of Academia? You and your votes will decide…

Get your tickets now for Green Man Festival, 15-18 August 2019.

Check out the rest of the amazing Einstein’s Garden lineup

Publish or Perish @Bristol Improv Theatre – Recap & photos

‘Is Taylor Swift really swift?’ With this crowd-sourced question pulled from a top hat, the audience of Play This Show! loaded up Publish or Perish and took control of luckless PhD student, Tom, to start their journey into the world of fantasy academia.

As ever, the course of good research never did run smooth. Together, the audience faced down nagging undergraduates, impossible deadlines, shadowy senior management figures, office equipment come to life, and overcame them all. They drank coffee, they let down their friends, they gained and (mainly) lost health, they even became a fantastic machine for measuring cow manure. They survived. Just.

I loved being able to vote on the outcomes and the actors’ amazing ability to make things up on the spot. Also I’ve never laughed so much for so long… (the show) really brought an audience of strangers together in a way that I didn’t think was possible!

– Jennie, audience member and player

Thanks to everyone for coming and being such willing participants of this weird, hard-to-describe show. Putting you in control of the action can feel terrifying so we were genuinely blown away by the generous response and the imagination you demonstrated throughout. Huge thanks also to Alistair Aitcheson and his Incredible Playable Show in the second half- Who knew we’d all enjoy becoming supermarket managers so much?

Enjoy the pictures of the nonsense below (thanks to James Pepper for the photography) and look out for the next chance to ‘Play This Show’!

 

Play This Show double bill – 12th April at Bristol Improv Theatre

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We’re teaming up with award-winning game developer Alistair Aitcheson to bring you Play This Show, a night of playable and improvised comedy featuring two shows like nothing else on stage- well, like nothing else on a Thursday night in April anyway.

Grab your tickets now from the Bristol Improv Theatre website

Publish or Perish

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Publish or Perish is the choose-your-own-adventure show where the whole audience gets to play together.

Alongside your friends, you’ll take control of a young scientist trying to make it through the strangest day of their life, guided by the all-knowing game master.

Mashing up daft songs, live action role play, deadly punning photocopiers, a lab full of improvisers and an unhealthy dose of audience suggestions, surviving the sci-fantasy world of Publish or Perish ultimately depends on your choices – democracy taken to the next level!

After a fantastic couple of shows at Green Man Festival 2017, we’re really excited to be bringing this show to a hometown audience at the brilliant Bristol Improv Theatre. And if you caught it last year, there’ll be new cast members, new games and even more pop culture surprises to challenge your spur of the moment decision making skills.

The Incredible Playable Show

Created by game developer Alistair Aitcheson, The Incredible Playable Show is an interactive video game comedy show where you, the audience, take to the stage!

Become human buttons, take on the Power Rangers, zap each other with barcode scanners, and play Pac-Man using inflatable toys. Or sit back, and watch your friends literally become cogs in a hilarious machine!

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New Green Man show, AI at the BIT, and Back to (summer) school: Rising Ape Spring Update

We’ve spent the cold winter months planning and preparing (also sleeping). Now it’s time to see what the Ape is cooking in the next few months.

The Audience – 26th May, Bristol Improv Theatre

 

The show is as LED-lightful as ever

Our fantastic friends at the Bristol Improv Theatre (BIT) have supported Rising Ape since our very first event, Life on Mars in 2015. Since then, they’ve gone through huge change, buying a building and completely refurbishing it to become the UK’s first dedicated Improv Theatre!

We were honoured to be asked to be part of their first spring season and bring The Audience to the BIT this May as part of a double bill with Alastair Aitcheson ’s Incredible Playable Show. It’s certain to be a night that fans of audience participation and Black Mirror-esque dystopian sci-fi won’t want to miss.

The Incredible Playable Show + Rising Ape, £7, 26th May, Bristol Improv Theatre

Book tickets on the Bristol Improv Website

Return to Einstein’s Garden at Green Man Festival

Decisions, decisions

After the success of The Audience at last year’s Einstein’s Garden, we’re now deep into writing our new show for this year’s festival. Publish or Perish, basically the Sims with scientists, will give people the chance to control the choices of a young researcher trying to make it through the day from hell.

Blending live action role play, improv, video games and biting insight into the real world of academic research (we knew those PhD’s half the apes were embarking on would come in handy), PoP is a must see for anyone who loves any of those things we just listed. Stay tuned for updates as the process of creating this show becomes ever more fraught and stressful, until the festival itself, 17-20 August.

Read more about Publish or Perish at the Green Man Festival website

Apes go back to (summer) school

Meant to be.

This July, we’re also excited to be working with UWE to put on a night of activities for researchers attending their science communication summer school. Based around the concept Worst. Science. Festival. Ever, it’s going to be an evening of fiendish quizzing, ridiculous challenges, and bonus points for science clichĂ©s: Fun for all the faculty!

Siobhan writes for Writes

Finally, we’re very pleased to be publishing a new A-Z series from Bristol writer Siobhan Fairgreaves. Catch up on A is for Atom and B is for Black Hole, and get C sent straight to your inbox using the Follow button in the bottom righthand corner of this page;-)

Phew, that’s plenty for now. We’re also in talks about a number of other events throughout this year, so look out for details in the not too far away future. If you want to get in touch about an idea, just chuck us an email at info@rising-ape.com, or use the contact page, we would LOVE to hear from you 💯