The Lost Carnival by Wild Rumpus, preview: Time to take sides

Suzy Prince

We preview the 2016 incarnation of The Lost Carnival – a circus-esque affair for families, with set pieces, performances and a grand finale.

The Lost Carnival is an annual theatrical experience, presented by award-winning social enterprise Wild Rumpus, along with co-producers So It Is and LAS Theatre. Every year, as the evenings grow longer and the temperature rises, the Lost Carnival will appear in a different locality. Last year, it appeared in a park in Bury – this time it’s heading to Crewe. Audiences will be invited into a strange and wonderful world over three nights for an unforgettable theatrical experience.

The Birds and the Ingénues are two rival carnival families – one dark, swaggering and glamorous, the other sparkling, happy and shiny – battling for supremacy, and this year you’ll be invited to take sides, to choose your friends and foe as the Battle of the Carnivals commences. A large cast of actors and ensembles will provie spellbinding theatre and installations, including treetop performances and ground acrobatics from Whispering Woods, music from The Voodoo Love Orchestra, visual trickery and slideshows.

This is a truly imaginative, unique experience

Entrance to the event is staggered, meaning that the audience is able to remain relatively small at any given time. However, the organisers are hoping that once families are through the ticket barrier, they’ll stick around; every night, the showdown culminates in a spectacular finale performance at 9pm, just as the sun is setting.

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Before you attend the event itself, be sure to check out the website to browse the two family albums, get costume ideas and start watching the podcasts, devised by Geoff Bird, who also wrote the original story for the Lost Carnival, which explains more of the backstory.

All in all it’s a truly imaginative, unique experience, with the all-too-rare bonus that people of all different ages will genuinely enjoy it. It’s enough to make you feel tempted to run away and join the carnival: who knows where it will show up next year? The uncertainty is all part of the fun.

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