Science and art to collide in this new family drama

Curious Directive Theatre Company show Spindrift as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Picture

Curious Directive Theatre Company show Spindrift as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The worlds of science and art collide once more as theatre company Curious Directive opens its latest show. Arts correspondent EMMA KNIGHTS reports.

Curious Directive Theatre Company show Spindrift as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Picture

Curious Directive Theatre Company show Spindrift as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

'A love letter to the blue planet and the invisible forces of nature' is the way theatre company Curious Directive sums up its new show.

Spindrift opens tonight at The Garage, in Norwich, and like with previous productions by the company it uses multi-media performance to explore science.

Director Jack Lowe said this latest show was looking at the fledgling science of quantum biology and considering how human life is possible, but that at its heart the production is also a story about the Steiner family living in America.

'It's a family drama really. Our publicity essentially introduces all five members of the family and I think that's important because the ideas [of science in the show] are so big and epic, but essentially it is what happens to a family when they are grieving,' said Mr Lowe, a former Gresham's School pupil who grew up in Norfolk.


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In the show it is Christmas 2019 and mother Carol has just been awarded a Nobel Prize for her work in quantum biology, meanwhile her three daughters are also leading busy lives – Niamh is swimming across the Pacific Ocean, Ira is an air traffic controller out of radio contact with flight QF838 and Noa is discovering her ability to walk through walls.

Their father Richard disappeared sailing around the world 20 years ago – but exactly what happened is a mystery. And running alongside all this a comedy science-podcast duo is preparing for a new podcast episode.

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There is lots going on in the show and Mr Lowe said the play aimed to get its audience thinking on lots of different levels. 'Our skill as a theatre company is we try to lead audiences into the very depths of a story so they come out saying, 'gosh that play is about so many things',' he said.

For the science side of things, the company joined forces with Professors Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili who are the authors of Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology, a book described by New Scientist as looking at how quantum physics, the science of the incredibly small, might affect biology.

Mr Lowe said: 'Since 2014 we've been looking into what we think are the most intriguing ideas coming from science, and we came across Johnjoe and Jim's ideas. We were hooked.'

He added: 'In some ways the nautical themes of Spindrift, the vastness of our blue planet and how little we know, links into the general mystery surrounding quantum biology. Johnjoe used nautical analogies to explain his ideas when we first met up, which were some of the most inspiring moments I've spent with a scientist.

'And from here has gradually emerged our work, stretching the limits of our storytelling.

'From the form of podcasting and 3D animation to capturing the emotionally interwoven inner life of a family, we're trying to give audiences a heart-racing and emotionally intelligent 100 minutes with us.

'Spindrift is the spray blown from cresting waves in a storm at sea. We can't wait to finally share it with an audience.'

Spindrift is the third show Curious Directive has presented at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

In 2013 the company performed The Kindness of Strangers, which took place in the back of a travelling ambulance and looked at the lives of paramedics, and in 2014 it performed Pioneer, a performance about Mars and astrobiology.

Spindrift is at The Garage, in Norwich, from today until Sunday. Tickets £12. To book tickets, visit www.nnfestival.org.uk or call the box office 01603 766400.

For more news and reviews about festival events, visit www.edp24.co.uk/nnf

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