Plastic Drastic Fantastic is a new production co-produced by Akademi and Polka Theatre. Using intricate movements, play and lots of interactions, the piece explores our relationship with all things plastic with themes of recycling, sustainability through the lens of South Asian dance.
With the unique addition of sensorial soft objects which pulsate the beat of the music for hearing impaired audiences, Plastic Drastic Fantastic promises to be a vibrant, fun and thought-provoking show for our time.
We sat down with Suba Subramaniam, Artistic Director of Akademi and Choreographer of Plastic Drastic Fantastic to find out more about this exciting new production.
Can you tell us a bit about Akademi and your work?
Since formation in 1979, Akademi’s work has been rooted in audience development, finding innovative ways of taking South Asian dance to a huge range of communities. We’ve worked in diverse settings such as hospitals, care homes, SEN and mainstream schools whilst simultaneously creating work from large-scale outdoor productions, mid-scale touring and intimate site-specific experiences for audiences in settings like the Edinburgh Fringe and the British Museum.
Akademi has a history of championing, promoting and challenging public perceptions of South Asian dance. Our work not only preserves and nurtures classical traditions but also pursues experimentation through cross-fertilisation of cultures and ideas, contributing significantly to the UK’s international reputation for innovation in South Asian dance. Our creative programme is driven by societal and scientific issues that are relevant and resonant to the now.
How did the idea for the show come about?
Interestingly, I initially conceived Plastic Drastic Fantastic as a Polka Creative Lab artist. The initial R&D took place as part of The Place’s Choreodrome.
I have worked with arts and climate change projects for nearly two decades alongside my career as a dance artist and science teacher. All my experience has led to this project – plastics is an urgent, relevant subject capturing the imagination of young people in terms of activism. I think dance can play an important role in helping young audiences engage with important subjects.
How is the piece being made accessible for d/Deaf audiences?
We have worked with Deaf Theatre Consultant Ramesh Meyyappan during the rehearsal process as well as a unique collaboration to create sensorial soft objects which pulsate to the beat of the music for hearing impaired audiences.
Artist/composers Kathy Hinde and Matthew Olden are collaborating with artist/maker Dawn Giles and fabricator Jasmine Butt to create a set of sensorial soft objects to accompany Plastic Drastic Fantastic. These soft objects have small vibrating motors embedded inside them and are designed to be held in the hands of audience members with hearing impairments to offer an additional sensory experience of the music and rhythms of the dance show.
What age group is the production aimed at? Is it only for children, or a wider audience?
The production is suitable for ages 7+ years and their families. It is designed and created with children at the heart of the process. We hope the work will create lots of interesting discussions within families and friends and instil a curiosity to find out more about our world of plastics. It is our passion through arts and science to engage and empower young people to believe that their voices and opinions are valued.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Plastic Drastic Fantastic?
Plastics can be fun! The show has been choreographed to be highly visual, drawing on familiar imagery of plastics in use from the domestic to the oceanic. The soundscape and set will draw from the science of plastics’ beautiful molecular structures.
The production draws on stories and ideas from children and young people, it is designed to have children at the centre of the creative process. It is our passion through arts and science to engage and empower young people to believe that their voices and opinions are valued.
Plastic Drastic Fantastic is suitable for everyone 7+
Wed 6 Apr – Sun 8 May | Tickets from £9*
*A £1.50 transaction fee applies to telephone and online bookings.