Show set to take Norwich audiences on a trip to Mars and back again

NNF 2014: Pioneer by Curious Directive

NNF 2014: Pioneer by Curious Directive - Credit: submitted

From the back of an ambulance to outer space - theatre company Curious Directive is returning to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival with a brand new show.Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more from artistic director Jack Lowe.

Audiences are set to have an out of this world experience in the latest show by a Norwich theatre company.

Curious Directive, who at last year's festival performed The Kindness of Strangers in the back of a travelling ambulance, are this time around taking to the Norwich Playhouse stage for the premiere of their latest production.

Called Pioneer, the show tells the story of the first mission to Mars.

Jack Lowe, Curious Directive's artistic director, said: 'We are trying to make theatre which picks up on the public's consciousness and one thing that seems really exciting at the moment is about where science is going, the idea that we are all heading into space, not just trained astronauts but lots of people are exploring the idea like Elon Musk with SpaceX and Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic.

'We wanted to look at what it will mean to travel into space as an everyday person and also our connection to Mars. It's also about the sacrifices needed to travel to another planet.

'You follow one story but see it from different perspectives - professionals in mission control, a girl on Mars, and two Russian brothers who are travelling across Siberia.'

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The company worked with an astrobiologist and a psychologist in rehearsals, and combine live drama and music with video projections in the show.

'We have tried to make a play which will appeal to people who really enjoy science fiction films like 2001: A Space Odyssey,' he said.

'The story is set in the near future, around 2030, although we are not really explicit about that.

'It asks a lot of questions about where will we be in the near future and how will we behave.'

Pioneer is a Curious Directive, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Watford Palace Theatre co-production and, following on from the festival premiere, Mr Lowe said Curious Directive would be taking the show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

After also premiering The Kindness of Strangers at last year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Mr Lowe said Curious Directive was also getting ready to take the show - which looks at the importance of the NHS and takes its audience on a paramedics' night shift - on a national tour in the summer.

• Pioneer is at Norwich Playhouse from Monday, May 12 to Wednesday, May 14 at 7.30pm each night. Tickets £10. For more information and to book, visit or call 01603 766400.

• For more about Curious Directive visit

• For more NNF Festival Focus features click here.

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