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Spacetacular! costume cheer-off at the Manchester Science Festival 2011
spacetacular poster


Spacetacular! is quite possibly the first stand-up comedy/science/fancy dress/variety/quiz show entirely themed around outer space. In 2013 the UK Space Agency awarded it a Space For All Grant.

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Click here to see pictures of the Spacetacular! show at the Leicester Square Theatre in January 2013.
Click here for a review of the Spacetacular! show at the 2011 Manchester Science Festival.

When I first performed It Is Rocket Science! at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 there was no backstage or dressing room area of any kind in my tiny venue so I was forced to stand outside the door (very very reluctantly at first, but there was literally nowhere to hide) as the audience filed out at the end. Because of this I got to meet & chat to quite a lot of them, and it was intriguing (and a privilege!) to see the broad range of people from all kinds of backgrounds and of all ages who made up It Is Rocket Science's audience, and hear about their varied reasons for being interested in space. (As a direct result my social skills really did take a leap forward.)

While I was developing It Is Rocket Science! I'd also met excellent real-life rocket scientist and astrophysicist Dr Sophia Khan (at NASA she discovered three galaxies!) We initially worked together when Sophia took part in a Q&A session about space science after a sell-out performance of the show at the Science Museumís Dana Centre in 2008, and we then went on to create on a Free Fringe show in August 2010, called Starstruck! which was - broadly speaking - about Everything In The Universe (and how people who work at NASA dress).

After the success of Starstruck! it occurred to me that it would be great to host a night that was both for and reflected these varied audiences, and which had special guests - e.g. a space scientist, to be followed by a science fiction enthusiast, to be followed by a competition for best audience space costume....It would be a sort of alternative space science variety cabaret - in contrast to the grand space events with panels of famous names (which are totally brilliant of course - but it has to be said are also usually heavily male dominated and don't tend to feature a lot of jokes/dressing up in tinfoil). After a lot of umming & ahhing about it I started to get organised and met Londonist Editor and all round space nerd Matt Brown - we put our heads together and launched Spacetacular!

Our first show was held in Camden on the 12th April celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. It was an all-singing, all-dancing, mostly-dressed-in-space-costumes sell-out success and was followed by two explosive performances at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The aim of the show is to celebrate the cosmos as widely as possible. Weíve previously had Dr Sheila Kanani of UCL making a comet in a bucket along with writer Leila Johnston who had some (very funny) questions about Star Trek. In Edinburgh we were joined by gamma-ray researcher Hari Sriskantha, singing doctor Adam Kay and TVís Dr Bunhead.

Our guests talk about their love of space and we encourage them & audience members alike to bring along their own space stuff - we have a quick fire memorabilia show and tell if there's time... Plus! space costumes aplenty and free tinfoil and maybe even futuristic galvanized steel wire pan scourers to augment/create your look...