Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

16/03/2017 - 19/03/2017

Auckland Arts Festival 2017

Production Details


Award-winning theatre company Catherine Wheels find themselves Lost at Sea as they explore the biggest subject one can possibly try to tackle – the ocean.

The journey begins with a boy and a girl, fascinated by the true story of 28,800 yellow rubber ducks and other bath toys that accidentally ended up flung into the unrelenting currents of the Pacific Ocean. Their investigation sees them uncovering the mysteries of the sea and discovering its importance to every one of us on earth.

Inquisitive and immersive, Lost at Sea weaves together the wonder of theatre and the dynamic world of science.

From the company that brought the much-loved White to the 2015 Festival.

Suitable for ages 8+

Saturday 18 March, 2.00pm

 Friday 17 March, 5.00pm. Booking info here

Website: catherinewheels.co.uk


Commissioned by Edinburgh International Science Festival working in partnership with Imaginate, and supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund. 

Performers: Kirsty McDuff and Laurie Brown

Theatre , Family ,

1 hour

Tale of beachcombing bounty enthralls the audience

Review by Raewyn Whyte 17th Mar 2017

The first rule of beach-combing, we’re told, in Catherine Wheel’s charming two-hander Lost at Sea, is that everything found on a beach has a story behind it. And so this engaging family show tells a series stories which have at their heart some highly collectable yellow plastic ducks found washed up on certain beaches, and how they came to be found.

In the hour of the show, performed in traverse in Q Theatre’s loft, performers Kirsty McDuff and Laurie Brown introduce a number of people connected to the ducks. There are two beachcombing children on opposite sides of the world, their families and neighbours, a lolloping dog, a Scots librarian, an Alaskan storekeeper, an oceanographer or two, and man who put a letter into a bottle and tossed it into the ocean when he was a child. Interwoven amongst their stories are facts about the ocean, the patterning of ocean gyres and where they are located, the dangers of plastic afloat and the need to reduce the amount of rubbish in our oceans and washing up on our beaches.

The storytelling is deft, physical and highly animated, the characters believable, and the educational subtext unobtrusive. The ducks are ever-present, positioned at various times across the oceans of the world which provide an underfloor map, and taking pride of place on the skeletal shelves at either end of designer Karen Tennant’s delightful set.

The ducks were lost at sea in January 1992 when 10 containers of freight fell overboard in the north Pacific Ocean from the container ship Ever Laurel on route from Hong Kong to Tacoma, Washington, USA. There were 28,800 bath toys in those containers, a mix of yellow ducks, red beavers, blue turtles and green frogs. Thanks to their shape, the ducks were able to float and continued travelling on the ocean currents. Many were found on beaches in Alaska over the next 18 months, most famously by Duck Boy who we meet in the course of events. Some were found in Hawaii, some were frozen in Arctic ice and only washed up on beaches in the eastern USA, Ireland and the United Kingdom 17 years later, by then highly prized and much sought after, and also the subject of innovative oceanographic research.

This engaging family show has an especial appeal for children, keeping them utterly attentive to the story and happily contributing sounds to help the storytelling become more vivid. It is a fun addition to Auckland Arts Festival 2017.


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