At the beginning of 2005 we were approached by an American company called Too Far who wanted to publicise the UK launch of their new book, written by controversial American author Richard Shapiro.
The book is about Richard's travels and experiences in Alaska and contained several allegorical passages including climbing mountains, friendship and wolves chasing sheep. We decided to base the performance aspect of the project both on the book and on original material.
Too Far were particularly keen to reach out to a 18 ‚Äì 30 year old male demographic and there was a specific request that we should include some music festivals during the three month promotional run.
We had initial discussions with the client and went through all of the possibilities. It was decided to set up five separate groups of five performers (in the end we employed 30 people on the project) to cover different areas of the country. The rehearsals took place in Bristol and London as there were simply so many performers involved.
We engaged a producer, Jade Dunbar, to run the project. She was the perfect choice as she has extensive experience at running complicated projects and she is extremely well connected with festival organisers, specifically Glastonbury festival and The Download festival.
We sourced costumes and props for the groups and arranged all of the travel and accommodation where it was needed, however, as we auditioned for the cast all over the country there were significant savings in accommodation and travel.
We also agreed to produce weekly reports for all of the groups that were to be sent back to America for assessment.
The groups then spent twelve weeks performing street theatre in various cities around the UK. Some of the favourite sketches were 'Wolf and Ram' acrobatic balancing, the 'Ban this Book' protester whilst books were being given out, mountain climbers on the high street and other interesting improvisation that happened along the way.
The result was an extremely successful promotion of the book which achieved a high level of public awareness in the localities that the project took place in.