A mobile street performance, with a ten-person ensemble and their life-size doppelgängers.
Designed for busy public spaces, Imaginary Friends combines narrative with group improvisation, choreography, singing and theatrical set-pieces. The audience is led on a journey, through the twisting, turning streets of identity and group relationships. Who are these people? A dance troupe? Parents and children? Nurses and patients? Children and dolls? Tourists? The socially embarrassed, or the socially embarrassing? Imaginary Friends creates images of humour, tenderness, surprise and cartoon-style violence; a story of life on the move.
The show is suitable and accessible on different levels for all ages, and works very well with a mixed audience. It is ideally suited to busy town and city centre streets. The performance begins and ends at the same location and follows a pre-planned, circular route which makes creative use of existing architecture, parks, public art, shops and spaces which are accessible to all.
Imaginary Friends is a collaboration between Whalley Range All Stars and Dutch company, Babok. Babok was formed in 2005 by Guido Bevers and Carina de Wit, who worked together previously with Warner & Consorten. Since then they have created three full length object theatre shows, including Iglo, which won the Outstanding Production prize in 2008 at the International Strassentheater Festival in Detmold (Germany): “Babok do not define theatre but they invent it” – Jury.
Since its launch in 2011, Imaginary Friends has played with great success at major European festivals, including: Oerol Festival (Holland), Norwich & Norfolk Festival, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (GDIF), Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF), X-Trax Platform 4 Manchester, Kendal MintFest, Kunsten op Straat (Holland), and Amiens Fête dans la Ville (France).
More images, including concept art, can be found in the Imaginary Friends Flickr collection.
Some short videos of Imaginary Friends can found on our YouTube channel.
“Beautiful show! Absolutely beautiful!”
Stella Hall (Director – Preston Guild)
“I LOVED the show so much … One of the great highlights of the festival … Its imagination was overwhelming and the audience response was great.”
William Galinsky (Director – Norwich & Norfolk Festival)
“Really enjoyed the show – it’s really tight now and use of the built environment was particularly impressive.”
Jeremy Shine (Director – Lakes Alive Festivals)
“Gorgeous … amusing … gratifying … Toys very consciously and openly with its audience, and treads a careful line between improvisation and prepared material. Fun and games indeed!”
Dorothy Max Prior (Total Theatre Magazine)
“Melodic and captivating … A weird band … A poetic, unpredictable, perpetually-moving journey … Join the dance.”
Stéphanie Bescond (ZEPA – Zone Européenne de Projets Artistiques)
“Surprising and impressive, but ultimately always funny.”
“Dreamy, original, magical show! A great idea … Amazingly crafted … Expertly captured … Strangely eerie … Captivating, brave and beautiful … Excellent … Expressing content that everyone can relate to … Playful and utterly different … Unbelievable. What just happened!?”
Overall Design and Conception
Sue Auty, Guido Bevers, Carina de Wit and Edward Taylor
Devised, Made and Performed by
Sue Auty, Katy-Anne Bellis, Guido Bevers, Annie Brooks, Chris Davies, Carina de Wit, Beka Haigh, Aya Nakamura, Jonny Quick, Edward Taylor and Garth Williams
Songs Composed by
Additional Making by
Imaginary Friends is a collaboration between WRAS and Dutch company, Babok.
Commissioned by Without Walls. Additional funding from Arts Council England North West, NFPK and Lakes Alive.