When they want to hide, polar bears cover their nose with snow. 

An insatiable hunger for unlikely facts: it’s something we all share, but children of a certain age are especially drawn to the 'crazy but true' genre, and liable to amass and trade such extraodinary information before eventually recounting it to peers, parents - passing it on...

The world’s 8 richest people have the same amount of money as the poorest half of the world's population. 

CRAZY BUT TRUE is an interactive installation for children from ages 8 - 11: a panel of experts in conversation. The children, as these 'experts', are given their lines via headphones, repeating what they hear into microphones, without rehearsal. What results is a rolling list of extraordinary facts disguised as a conversation - some serious, others plain funny.

On average, sharks kill 12 humans a year.  

On average, humans kill 100 million sharks a year. 

Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years.

We know what the problem is and we are perfectly capable of putting it right.

Sometimes it seems the world gets weirder every year. CRAZY BUT TRUE exposes our part in that - us, the humans who have gone before them and who now sit before them, in the seats, watching and listening.

The deepest hole in the world goes 12 km into the ground.

The center of the Earth is a massive, solid, iron ball.

Pain is measured in units of “dols”

From the outside, the reality of the situation is transparent: children agreeing ‘to say whatever they're told to say'. Information being funneled into their ears, through their brains, and out of their mouths. If, despite the fun, this seems problematic, the provocation is consistent with the wider aim of the work: to face up to an inevitable challenge... For many adults it’s hard to imagine a child growing up and absorbing this kind of information. Bringing a child into the world is perhaps the easy part. More difficult is how to bring the world into a child.

In the US, in 2015, more people were shot by toddlers than by Islamic terrorists.

You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.

Butterflies taste with their feet.

As the facts switch and roll, we start to feel the fearlessness of a child's wonder alongside their willingness to absorb what the world has to offer, no matter how crazy it seems. For the adults watching, there’s a sense of being both ’outside' this game and yet deeply involved in (or responsible for) the world it describes. For the kids, it’s above all a funny and engaging fantasy of owning the kind of knowledge they may already be collecting. Some may even develop a sense that there are reasons why some of the information is not often heard.

CRAZY BUT TRUE runs for 3-4 hours in semi-public spaces (for example, the foyer of a large theatre). Visitors and participating children can come and go as they wish. They may come especially for it, or perhaps they chance upon it.

A participating child needs no rehearsal. Each session lasts 12 minutes. At any one time there are three performers. There’s a changeover every 4 minutes.

The text spoken is partially rewritten for each location.

All photos by Manuel G. Vicente - Escenas do Cambio, Spain 2017

An Imagine 2020 Coproduction.



              BUT TRUE


              BUT TRUE

Coproduced by  2 Degrees Festival 2017 / Artsadmin (London), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Schwouburg Rotterdam, Vooruit (Ghent).

Experiments and prototypes in Santiago de Chile (Espacios Revelados 2016), Athens and Kythira, Greece (‘No Future’ Performance Biennial), Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain (Escenas do Cambio 2017) and Gent, Belgium (Vooruit /Blauwdruck, 2017). Studio support from PianoFabrik Brussels. Many thanks to all these organisations for their collaborations.

For more info please contact us.

“The concept is as simple as it is overwhelming. During the three hours in which the children are speaking, an intense awareness of shared responsibility awakens: we are all shaping the world that we pass on to our children. Hampton wants to activate his audience to stay critical and committed, and he effectively succeeds in doing just that. Without wagging a finger, he makes you conscious of your place and responsibility in a world in which so many things go wrong. With the most important message being, however bleak the outlook is, to never lose faith in a better future. Or, as a shy eight-year-old quotes Dr. Martin Luther King: ‘we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.’  ”

- Jan Dertaelen, De Morgen