June 2013 - September 2016, UK
Are you ponmarter than a rodent? This was the question at the heart of ‘Lab Rats’, an immersive theatrical experience we originally created for audiences at Shangri La, the anarchic after-hours corner of Glastonbury Festival.
Designed in collaboration with Ridley Buchanan Architects, the maze-shaped installation at Glastonbury 2013 turned the tables on our audience by casting them as experimental subjects for a trio of rat scientists – Zucker, Wistar, and Lewis.
Once inside, the audience were categorised according to their sex, “variety”, and level of intoxication, before being put through a battery of sensory tests devised by fantastic neuroscientist Ed Bracey.
Our experimental subjects were then challenged to navigate the radial arm maze – a giant version of the eight-pointed stars used in animal research laboratories – before being brought back into the experimental chamber to have their performance graded and the final verdict delivered: smarter or dumber than a rat.
In 2016 we brought the Lab Rats back, but this time to New Scientist Live, where they put Londoners through a raft of sensory challenges.