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Collaborating with the NMA education team and animal curators, the local college and a group of teenagers who were leaving foster care; we created a series of spectacular interactive events with aerial acrobats, a rock band and underwater ballerinas. The event achieved 97% of total box office sales over a week and was used as a ‘best practice’ case study for the national Arts Award scheme.

The NMA struggled to attract teenagers and young adults to the aquarium, so they briefed us to help solve this problem – in collaboration with teenagers who were about to leave the security of foster care and struggling with life.

Together with the young group, scientists and conservationists, we designed a series of spectacular events to attract young new audiences.

The young creatives worked with writers, musicians, actors, a local rock band, a choir, and aerial acrobats to stage the events. Rehearsals included days at the bottom of swimming pools with ballerinas; and training the fish and rays in the largest tank in the UK to be comfortable with dancers in red wedding dresses. (one large ray learned the routine and made a habit of trying to upstage the performers)

Seven sell-out events in a week

The events accounted for 97% box office sales; the aquarium’s previous event had achieved less than 10% sales. 57% of our sales were new audiences for the NMA.

BBC, ITV, TV & Radio Coverage

Live broadcast and web reach to c.10m people (NMA’s estimate)

A Sea-Change for the Young Creatives

The young people aged 8-21 who planned, scripted, designed and produced the show every night attended 96% of the workshops, rehearsals and performances – against an average school attendance of less than 10%. None of the group had previously had any sustained engagement with theatre, performance or the arts.  None had seen a live performance in a professional venue before. In the five years since we worked on this project we have watched and supported them as they have gone through media arts and performance degree courses, completed apprenticeships, secured fulltime jobs and – in three cases – escaped violent relationships.