Stans Cafe and Squidsoup exhibitions

23 March 2012

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents the following exhibitions opening in April 2012 as part of the World Shakespeare Festival (WSF).

Stan's Cafe:
Of All The People In All The World
Performance Installation by Stan's Cafe
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
14 April - 31 July 2012
Admission free

On Saturday 14 April 2012 the playful theatre company Stan's Cafe will be arriving at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with 1033 kg of rice – the weight, they have calculated, of 62 million grains, one for everyone in the United Kingdom – for their performance installation Of All The People In All The World.

Over the course of three months members of the company, dressed in smart caretaker uniforms, will carefully measure out the rice into labelled piles representing a wide range of human population statistics. The installation will respond in real time to news as it happens during the World Shakespeare Festival.

Piles of rice will also represent fascinating facts from Shakespeare's time and pick up themes inspired by shows in the World Shakespeare Festival. A range of national and international statistics will cover contemporary topics from sports, arts, politics, business, travel and the environment, from the number of arrests made during the UK riots of August 2011 to the number of athletes competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Of All The People In All The World has captivated audiences in venues and festivals around the world and Stan's Cafe Artistic Director, James Yarker, promises a thought – provoking experience for visitors to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre:

'Numbers and statistics are often difficult for people to grasp. This installation makes these values very clear and gives them great power.

'It is one thing to know that the population of England in Shakespeare's time was a little under five million people, but to see a mound of nearly five million grains of rice is something else again, something much more powerful. We can then compare this with the similar number of people who visited Stratford-upon-Avon last year or see it dwarfed by the current population of London and these numbers take on new meanings.'

Of All The People In All The World isn't like a museum or an art gallery; it changes over time and responds to its audience. As performer Charlotte Goodwin explains:

'Much of the show's power comes from how the piles are arranged beside each other. By careful placement we can make the show playful, politically charged or highly emotional. You'll regularly hear visitors laughing out loud, and occasionally you'll catch someone choking up with tears. Visitors enjoy suggesting statistics that we can work into the show. The piece sets people thinking and talking. It's very rewarding to be involved in.'

About Stan's Cafe

Stan's Cafe has a history of making unusual performances dating back to their formation in Birmingham in 1991. The Voyage, their 12 minute long opera, premieres this year and can be seen at the Southbank and is being covered by Radio 3. The Cardinals, a puppet show telling the history of the world (with cardinals stepping in for puppets) has its UK premiere at Warwick Arts Centre. Olympian Steps and Mystery Steps, both D.I.Y. theatre installations, can be found in Handsworth Park and Coventry City Centre respectively. The Just Price of Flowers, a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, tells the story of the 2012 financial collapse via Tulipmania in the style of Bertold Brecht. Their arrival at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre marks their first collaboration with the RSC.

Living Walls
Colonnade and Relic Wall
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
20 April – 23 September 2012
Admission Free

Artists Squidsoup bring the walls of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to life with a set of three dynamic digital projections made of animated texts and quotes from Shakespearean characters in what promises to be an exciting, interactive encounter for visitors.

Commissioned specially for the World Shakespeare Festival, Living Walls places Shakespeare in the digital world. Using text-based projection mapping and self-animating visuals, Squidsoup's display reacts and changes to the actions of passersby, with often playful results. Words wriggle across the walls and patterns morph into insect like-creatures, scuttling around and leaving curses, messages and questions in their wake.

Living Walls blurs the barrier between the virtual and the real world, conveying as the title suggests, the sense that the walls of the theatre really have come alive.

Squidsoup co-founder Anthony Rowe explains the project:

'Our aim in devising Living Walls was to engage people with the works of Shakespeare within a visual, digital context. We were excited by the concept of combining advanced computer-based interaction techniques with the words and characters created by the world's most famous playwright.

'We have created interactive digital experiences incorporating three classic Shakespearean character types - the malcontent, the lover and the fool - which people can engage with in what we hope will be an entertaining and illuminating experience.'

About Squidsoup
Squidsoup is an international group of artists, researchers and designers working with digital and interactive media experiences. Their work combines sound, physical space and virtual worlds to produce immersive and emotive headspaces where participants can take active control of their experience. They explore the modes and effects of interactivity, looking to make digital experiences where meaningful and creative interaction can occur. Their work has been shown at numerous festivals, seminars and galleries around the world, including Ars Electronica (Linz Austria, 2010-11), SIGGRAPH (LA, 2001 and 2010), Glastonbury (2010), Kinetica Art Fair (London 2010), the V&A (Late at the V&A, London, October 2008) as well as several online exhibitions.

About RSC Exhibitions
The exhibitions programme aims to create imaginative opportunities and fresh perspectives that explore and explode the work of the RSC. The new strand of work engages audiences outside of their experience of watching a production on stage, opening up the creative process and encouraging new ways to participate. Exhibitions take place in two dedicated spaces in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Room and the PACCAR Room, and appear as interventions around the building.

About the World Shakespeare Festival
The World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organizations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe. It runs from 23 April to November 2012 and forms part of the London 2012 Festival which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012.

For further details visit the WSF website.
The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.
Social media links at Facebook and Twitter.

Listings details for Stan's Cafe and Squidsoup:
Stan's Cafe: PACCAR Room, 14 April - 31 July 2012
Squidsoup: Colonnade and Relic Wall, 20 April – 23 September 2012
CV37 6BB
Tel: 0844 800 1110

Exhibitions open daily from 9am to 10pm and from 10am to 5pm on Sundays. More information is available on our Exhbitions webpage.

For further press information and images, please contact Mark Farnan in the RSC press office, E: or T: 01789 272438

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