Interactive street theatre spectacle 'The Whale' washes up on Redcar beach

AN INTERNATIONALLY-RENOWNED interactive street theatre spectacle called The Whale will appear on Redcar beach in a powerful statement about the environment and climate change.


The highly successful cultural event, which involves a hyper-realistic looking whale on the beach, has been acclaimed across Europe and was described as, “the best piece of street theatre I've ever seen, and it's not even in the streets" by famous author Lemn Sissay.


Image of the whale sculpture on the Redcar beach surrounded by people.

The whale has been created by Belgium-based artistic group, The Captain Boomer Collective in cooperation with sculptors from Zephyr Wildlife reproductions. Captain Boomer creates location-based shows that explore the boundaries between reality and fiction.


It will appear on Majuba beach, Redcar on Sunday 22, Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 May between 9am and 4pm each day.


The event involves a life-size, hyper-real statue of a sperm whale which is found washed up on a beach in Redcar. As part of the spectacle, a team of performers acting as scientists run tests for three days to find out why it happened.


Image of two actors dressed as scientists standing in front of the whale and pretending to disinfect their costumes

It's hoped the installation will help Redcar be further recognised as a place where communities explore the opportunity to see and engage in a quality cultural offer that challenges and stimulates discussion about wider agendas such as climate change. Local writer Carmen Marcus will respond live to the beaching through writing, poems, pictures and stories, interacting with the spectators and the actors broadcasting their response on social media. Artist Lizzie Lovejoy, also from the area, will be presenting some new work inspired by the whale beaching.


The artistic and cultural experience is also being widely used for educational purposes, with schools being offered bespoke online resources to learn about whales and their environment. Climate change is leading to a loss of habitat and food for whales.


Image of an actress pretending to be protestor standing in front of the whale with a megaphone and talking about climate change

Multiple teacher guides will ensure that teachers are able to utilise the information, links and videos as the basis of a range of literacy tasks linked to the curriculum. Schools will be encouraged to upload examples of work, and pictures of the children working, to showcase the fantastic work that will be inspired by the event.


The replica whale, which even produces the smell of decay, was made in 2013 and has been 'washed up' at cities and towns across Europe including London, Paris and Madrid.


Councillor Louise Westbury, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Culture, said: “This is art with a serious purpose. We know all about the effects of climate change in Redcar and Cleveland and this is a very powerful educational tool to bring the message home. We hope the piece will create discussion within our communities about the effects of climate change and in particular the impacts as a coastal town.​


“It helps promote Redcar as a place where major cultural events may happen in a way which may engage people who may not normally be attracted to artistic events and it uses our cultural heritage in a really effective way."

The project is supported by Arts council England. The whale project is one of the first actions of The #66 Project, spearheaded by Cumbria-based Eden Arts, the project seeks to unite east and west across the A66 through cultural, digital and sustainable initiatives. The sculptor for the project is Zephyr and Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is the original commissioner.​