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From the blog

Fake Moustaches and Secret Messages


Theatre practitioner and director from Lamphouse Theatre, Tom Fox, explains how detectives took over Peterborough during the Green Festival in May 2015.

If you’re curious about the title of this blog you might not know that, for the Green Festival 2015, some world-renowned Detectives arrived in the city to solve the greatest puzzle of today. They wandered around Peterborough city centre and slightly beyond to discover how to stop the underground crime syndicate from taking over the world. They met characters, found clues and followed their noses!

Detective [Insert Name] was a walking performance that put the audience in the centre of the action, playing the detectives. The themes of the narrative, although I won’t give too much away, were climate change, the environment and art heists. It is definitely something you need to experience to understand fully.

My role on the days of the show was to introduce the concept to audiences in an ‘initiation’ style scene – where detectives collected their gadgets, gave themselves a fake name and, most importantly, got handed their trusty fake moustache, to be used once and to be used wisely.

For us, the performers, it was quite a complex run of shows. Up to five shows could run every day starting every half an hour. With a duration of an hour and a half, we could have three groups within the show at one time. We had to find ways to communicate with each other without getting caught. Our own secret mission! I would receive texts from other performers such as ‘The eagles have left the nest…’ and ‘The cats are on the roof’.

The aim of the show was to get audiences to work together as a team and for them to have fun together. It was fascinating seeing families work with other families, adults working with young people, culturally diverse groups mixing and working together. We have had many good comments back such as:

‘It took us to a part of Peterborough we hadn't been to before in the 13yrs I've lived here. It made us look at the world around us and notice more detail. Interactive theatre is great and I hope you keep it up in the future.’

Hopefully the mission was achieved and that the audience looked around more, they appreciated their surroundings and walking in the open air. As the Chief Detective says at the end of the play:

‘Stand for what you believe in and work together to make a decent life for the next generations. We don’t need to be the destroyers, but the nurturers of a living world. Good luck in all you do… you are now released back to your normal lives. Be resourceful! Be active! Be brilliant!’