Space Rebel Princess

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


Building on Essex’s previous research into methods of engagement with live performance, Space Rebel Princess focuses on modes of interactivity and improvisation in child centred performance. Among the 10 aspects of life covered in The Good Childhood Index (2012), children’s happiness with the amount of choice they have in life tends to be the most strongly associated with their overall well-being. Due to their legal status, children’s choice and autonomy are much more dependent on the willingness of others to grant them these things. Space Rebel Princess creates an innovative interactive performance environment where children participate and contribute to the production. Informed by the work of Viola Spolin into improvisation and loose structures in which children can solve problems in a creative, spontaneous and interactive manner, Space Rebel Princess was devised to invite choice, play, interaction, and creative ownership for its child audience. Furthering Danish writer Beth Juncker’s research into the dichotomy between theatre which treats children as beings (artists and critics in their own rights) and becomings (the adults they will become), the work places children at its centre by drawing on children’s own approaches to making work, namely repetition and modification, elaboration, imitation, and imagery, to create a work which can appeal to the children’s own aesthetic visions and imaginations. Adrian Turrell-Watts, Producer at Fittings Multimedia Arts says: “Space Rebel Princess is a brilliant little show for children with a childlike playfulness at its heart. A lovely example of participatory performance that includes its audience simply and effectively to move the story along and leaves them with a visible sense of achievement. A great experience for those that took part and fabulously entertaining for those that watched. Genuinely playful genius.” Inspired by the story of Helen Sharman, the first person from the UK to travel to space, the work seeks to illuminate females in the sciences as potential role models for young girls. Commissioned by Middlesbrough Council, the work has toured across the UK to major international festivals and theatres. Research from from this project has been disseminated through workshops delivered in Canada (two days of workshop for professional artists delivered through Young Lungs dance Exchange), in an article for The Dance Current, and in a paper delivered as part of Critical Care: Audience in Interactive and Immersive Performance at London Southbank University
IncludFest (Durham)
YoungFest (Liverpool)
Middlesbrough Library
TrAction Festival (Crewe)
Sandbach Festival of Transport
Fleetword Tram Sunday
Stockton International Riverside Festival
Greenbelt Festival (Kettering)
DN Festival (Doncaster)
Mouth of the Tyne Festival (Tynemouth)
Tamworth Library
Waterside Arts Centre (Trafford)
Festival of Thrift (Kirkleatham)
Microdot (HATCH Manchester)
Festival of Thrift (Redcar)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2017
EventGreenbelt Festival - Northants, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Aug 201825 Aug 2018


Bibliographical note

National tour including performances at: Young Fest at The Bluecoat, Sandbach Festival of Transport, Middlesbrough Library, TrAction Festival Crewe, Tram Sunday Fleetwood, Stockton International Riverside Festival, Mouth of the Tyne Festival, IncludFest, Greenbelt Festival, DN Festival, Microdot, Festival of Thrift, Waterside Arts Centre, Festival of Thrift

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