Leaving Planet Earth
by Catrin Evans and Lewis Hetherington
10th – 24th August 2013 Edinburgh International Festival
Nominated for a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland in the Best Technical Presentation category.
World premiere of a site-specific promenade performance in Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (audience gathering point Edinburgh International Conference Centre). Part of Edinburgh International Festival. In association with University of Edinburgh Centre for Design Informatics/ Centre for Speckled Computing and Edinburgh Napier University Institute for Creative Industries
Old Earth has nothing left for us, and so it is time for a new beginning. Cross galaxies, traverse light years and find yourself in a world where you be the centre of your own universe.
Welcome to New Earth. Never look back.
Vela, the revered and celebrated architect of this new society, has recently been avoiding her public duties in favour of visiting the Old Earth Museum and the company of its Security Guard. As the final migrants arrive, she is becoming increasingly obsessed by her memories, and questions are growing about her sanity.
Award-winning theatre company Grid Iron fuses live interactive performance with innovative digital and new media technologies. Leaving Planet Earth is a site-responsive promenade production on an epic scale. Tracing the story of humanity’s first migration into space, it asks fundamental questions about our connection to this planet. Should we leave this world, and if so, who will endure and at what cost?
This production was dedicated to the memory of our friend and colleague, Ross Ramsay.
What The Press Said:
Lyn Gardner, Theatreblog, Guardian
The design elements - from the video and sound work to the reassuringly naff costumes and the shallow eclecticism of the Old Earth Museum - are a delight... this piece succeeds through a combination of its clever choice of venue, impressive theatrical logistics and an occasionally absorbing narrative.Sunday Herald
Its great strength, in a series of scenes taking place on different levels of the vertiginous climbing centre, is that it forces us to consider the bleak prospect of what it would mean to lose our home planet... the play forces us to confront the big picture. It's not about our opinions on the individual issues such as how to generate power or keep the water supply going, it's about how much we value the whole planet. This is no journey into the future, but a journey into nowScotland on Sunday
The brave new world scenario being played our will be familiar to sci-fi fans. And the production looks the part. Nowhere more so than at the finale where the audience gather in the rock climbing quarry to hear Vela's rallying cry regarding 'final closure' beamed onto the rock face, with a booming techno soundtrack also in full effect. It is here that you really do feel the pull of leaving planet earth... the show wears its epicness on its sleeveSTV Entertainment
As an audience member, the effect of the site is truly impressive. The gentle pulse of the coloured lights and music that fill the glass building becomes increasingly eerie as darkness draws in throughout the performance. Lights beamed up against the quarry walls are visible from within the centre and the dramatic final scene, staged in a vast chamber, is an unnerving sensory overload... This is a science-fiction production in every senseWired
★ ★ ★ ★ Timeout
An intriguingly dualistic piece of promenade theatre... Like all science-fiction, this piece is much less about another planet in another time that it is about the condition of humanity in the here and now... Site-specific theatre lives or dies but the selection of its location. Grid Iron have, once again, chosen a venue which serves their purposes brilliantly. The designs introduced by the company (from set and costumes, to sound and video) enhance the building's atmosphere impressively... Leaving Planet Earth is an extraordinary undertaking and one in which Grid Iron, ultimately succeeds thanks to an inspired combination of logistical know how and theatrical imagination.★ ★ ★ ★ The Telegraph
"It has been a pioneer of site-specific theatre since 1996 but in those 17 years, the acclaimed Grid Iron of Edinburgh can never have worked in a space so strange, so vast, and so-awe-inspiring as the huge Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho... If some elements of this Brave New World scenario are familiar, though, the quality of the writing, acting and direction is often superb, perfectly pitched to the huge spaces through which it must move... the show offers us an extraordinarily wide and passionate perspective on the story of human life and migration on earth, even as we risk destroying it. The task of production a completely untested original theatre piece for the Edinburgh Festival is a notoriously difficult one, but this time, Grid Iron has created a beautiful, eloquent and technically stunning show that offers a unique and spectacular future perspective on the most challenging crisis of our time"★ ★ ★ ★ The Scotsman
"The grandeur and vision of Leaving Planet Earth leaves one breathless... Leaving Planet Earth challenges us to look at ourselves as a species, and to ask ourselves whether we would behave any differently if we were given a clean slate. If we destroy our homeworld, do we deserve another chance? It's a stark question, and one that Grid Iron have successfully managed to ask in this remarkable production."★ ★ ★ ★ Ed Fest Mag
The imaginative inventions of Leaving Planet Earth create a dystopic vision as authentic as any novel or film. But this production is not all about science fiction fun, there is a deeper message running throughout... Leaving Planet Earth is all about mystery and participation... The arrival at new Earth is special indeed; a stunning venue made of glass and steel set around a quarry with natural rock face. The building and landscape become as much part of the production as the actors... With a willing suspension of disbelief, it is easy to be drawn into this brave new world, carried along by the earnest and optimistic performance... walking away from the production leaves you with a genuinely refreshed perspective on our environment. Leaving Planet Earth is an original collaborative feat of technology, art and theatre, a show that works both as an immersive piece of entertainment and a successful thorough experiment.★ ★ ★ ★ Huffington Post
Cast & Crew:
Emilia: Molly Taylor
Hal: Chris Nayak
Harper: Juliana Yazbeck
John: Finlay Welsh
Jost: Peter Wiedmann
Meeka: Anna–Maria Nabirye
Saad: Robert Jack
Vela: Lucianne McEvoy
Boy [Audio]: Angus and Joseph Pinsky
Sinead [Film]: Muireann Kelly
Gatekeeper Voiceover: Melody Grove
GFO Voiceover & Film: Kenny Blyth
GFO Journalist [Film]: James Blake
GFO Scientists [Film]: DK Arvind, Janek Mann, Jon Oberlander, Arno Verhoeven
Writers/Directors: Catrin Evans & Lewis Hetherington
Producer: Judith Doherty
Set & Video Designers: Becs Andrews & Dave Lynch
Lighting Designer: Paul Claydon
Composer & Sound Designer: Philip Pinsky
Costume Designer: Kat Smith
Production Manager: Fiona Fraser
Finance Manager: Deborah Crewe
Technical Manager: Simon Hayes
Stage Manager: Mickey Graham
Stage Management: Lee Davis, Kara Jackson & Anne Page
Head of Sound: Roy Fairhead
Sound Engineer: Guy Coletta
Head of Stage: JJ McGregor
Production Technicians: Kieran Diamond & Dave Cooper
Set Design Assistant: Lia Waber
Costume Design Assistant: Dannie Gallagher
Costume Cutter & Maker: Sara Hill
Costume Maker: Felicity Edmond
Set Build: B Scenic
GFO Film-makers: James Blake, Kirsten MacLeod & Blair Stewart
Programme Design: Emma Quinn, Beata Zemanek & Ann Davies
Publicity Image: Douglas Chalmers
Transmedia Designer: Beata Zemanek
Transmedia Assistants: Omar Barco, Douglas Chalmers, Robert Doyle, Natalie King, Chris Pincombe, Stuart Smith & Martha Schofield
For University of Edinburgh Centre for Design Informatics/Centre for Speckled Computing/Edinburgh College of Art: Professor Jon Oberlander DK Arvind, Janek Mann, Michael Walters, Andrew Bates, Arno Verhoeven & Mark Kobine
For Edinburgh Napier University: James Blake, Malcolm Innes, Ian Lambert, Andrew O’Dowd, Nigel Smith & Euan Winton
The audience for Leaving Planet Earth gathered at the magnificent, newly opened Atrium building of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in the city centre before being transported, by City Circle Coaches, to the incredible Edinburgh International Climbing Arena which is the largest indoor climbing arena in the world.
The shows are listed in chronological order with the most recent first.