Science does educational theatre with a bang

Martin Lamb, director and co-writer of the Energy Show explains how fusing science with theatre could ignite children's passion for the subject

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"I always look forward to the parts where they play with the liquid nitrogen," says Martin Lamb.

He is the director and co-writer of a new production, which opened on Saturday at the Science Museum.

Called the Energy Show, its aim is to tell the story of two science students who have to develop demonstrations of the nine forms of energy.

This involves a great deal of "blowing things up", and plunging things into liquid nitrogen, live on stage.

Once the show has completed its short run at the Science Museum, which ends on 11 April, it will go on tour to 34 theatres across England and Wales.

From setting fire to soap bubbles filled with flammable methane, to powering plastic bottle rockets with a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, each of the live experiments demonstrates how a form of energy is converted into another.

"[The characters] have to do science as they go.

"They have to learn all the science themselves and they have to demonstrate it, so they do the experiments as they go," Mr Lamb explained.

Nine forms of energy

  • Chemical
  • Kinetic
  • Potential
  • Elastic
  • Electrical
  • Thermal
  • Nuclear
  • Light
  • Sound

Sam Mason, of the Science Museum, who co-wrote and produced the show, thinks the fusion of live science with theatre enables the audience to learn "without realising they're being taught.

"We're the Science Museum, so it's vital that we get our science right, but this is a piece of theatre, it's not a science lecture."

"There are some very big bangs, and flashes. We even have musical lightning - things that they'll have never seen before.

"But what I really want them to want to know how it worked and realise how much fun experimenting with science and exploring science can be."

Martin Lamb, director of the Science Museum's Energy Show, shows Victoria Gill how to make a fireball from soap bubbles

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