Blue Cross Immersive Outdoor Theatre At Russell Square With ‘How Pets Changed The World: Five Plays’

Pets change lives. Sometimes in little ways: a friendly ear, loyal companionship, an excuse to get out of the house. Sometimes in life-altering ways. And sometimes even in ways that shape the course of human history – few ask what might have happened if Florence Nightingale or Albert Einstein hadn’t been “pet people”… but the answer to that question could be astonishing. So this summer, that question is being asked and answered in an immersive public theatre production commissioned by national pet charity Blue Cross; where audiences are given a unique window into a rarely explored element of five iconic figures from the past.

How Pets Changed The World: Five Plays will run daily from Wednesday 28th June until Sunday 2nd July – performances are free and open for anyone to join at any point, from midday until 4pm. The stage: a distinctive blue bench in Russell Square, in the heart of London’s historic Bloomsbury. The plot: scientific inspiration, rousing leadership, heart-warming companionship, artistic vision, selfless stoicism… and five lives, changed by pets.

The players: Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein and Freddie Mercury – all freshly imagined and portrayed.

Any audience member who believes they know what to expect from these historic personas will have to think again, as each character will show a side to themselves rarely seen by the public. They’ll witness Winston’s fortitude and cutting wit soften in describing the reciprocal nature of his bond with his pets during his period in government (even crediting them with helping him guide the country through its darkest days); hear how a shy Warhol deflected to his Dachshund, Archie in tricky social situations; and savour juicy details of the private phone conversations between Freddie Mercury and his beloved Blue Cross cat Delilah while the Queen frontman was on tour (and even led guitarist Brian May to create a distinctive “meowing” effect which was used in the band’s music).

Each day, a new character will occupy the Blue Cross bench, ready to strike up a conversation with passers by who sit beside them. The schedule for How Pets Changed The World: Five Plays is as follows:

  • Wednesday 28th June: Albert Einstein: Pet Theories
  • Thursday 29th June: Florence Nightingale: How My Path Was Lit
  • Friday 30th June: Freddie Mercury: Delilah – My Queen
  • Saturday 1st July: Winston Churchill: The PM And The Poodles
  • Sunday 2nd July: Andy Warhol: Pups Of Pop Art

Blue Cross spokesperson explained, “At Blue Cross we believe every single pet rescued, rehabilitated or rehomed becomes a potential life-changer. They are our motivators, confidantes, companions, playmates, teachers, and even healers. Maybe there is a promising future scientist or creative genius out there whose inspiration will be fired up by watching their kitten play – or maybe just a shy child who finds the friendship of a faithful furry friend gives them a new confidence. Pets are always there when we need them. So, for all that they give to us: it’s time to give back to pets in need.”

“Blue Cross provides veterinary care, specialist behaviour training and find loving, happy homes for pets in need, as well as providing education for current and future owners and pet bereavement support for those struggling to cope with the loss of a much-loved pet.”

The five historical personas being portrayed are among ten great people in human history being celebrated by Blue Cross. Spanning the arts, science, politics and medicine, all of their lives were shaped by their pets:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Anna Sewell
  • Andy Warhol
  • Anne Frank
  • Edward Elgar
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Winston Churchill

More detail on all their stories is available to view at www.bluecross.org.uk/pets-of-history – as well as information on how you can help Blue Cross change pets’ lives in turn. Performances are suitable for all age groups.

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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