October 27, 2015
If you have heard of You Me Bum Bum Train you’ll probably remember the name. If not, let me explain a little about it.
To call it a unique or immersive theatrical experience conjures up something altogether too predictable. Alone, you pass through a series of entirely naturalistic scenes whose nature you only discover as you enter them. The key element is that you are the centre of attention, the pivot of the action. Each time – and there may be up to 20 scenes – you have to decide how (or if) to respond. The “passengers” are sworn to secrecy so that the scenes remain a surprise for those who come after.
However, examples of scenarios from previous shows include giving the eulogy at a funeral, hosting your own radio phone-in show, excavating a hole with a JCB, conducting an orchestra and giving the team talk to an American Football team. Remember, in each case you walk into the scene without any warning of what it contains and have to react to what you are presented with. It’s a white-knuckle ride.
The other amazing thing about YMBBT is that it is possible to be one of the hundreds of performers needed to make these scenes so real. No acting experience necessary – just sign up through their website. It’s a different but still extraordinary experience which doesn’t come along very often!
We supported the show in 2012 and are doing so again this year with products and the technical knowhow from years in the theatrical-scenery and stage engineering business. You can check it out here – https://www.facebook.com/youmebumbumtrain.
Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd first devised this format more than 10 years ago. Each show takes two or three years to get together and demands complete dedication from them. Yet, like the thousands of performers who volunteer to take part in the show, they earn nothing from it. This is a level of commitment and integrity which, even in the undervalued arts world, is rare.
I was lucky enough to participate in 2012 and came out seeing every new location I found myself in as if it were a YMBBT scene. Even now there are times when we talk about “having a YMBBT moment”.