UNIVERSITY OF WONDER & IMAGINATION
Produced by Cahoots NI
From Belfast, Northern Ireland
About the Company
The University of Wonder & Imagination is now enrolling students of all ages and magical abilities...and there’s a place with your name on it!
Following its groundbreaking international ‘Zoom’ tour in 20-21, The University is back, this time in theaters, live and in-person! Assemble with your fellow students and journey to the most unusual of universities, where the mysterious Professor Bamberg will guide you through this interactive theater experience, and the choices you, the audience, make will shape your unique course. Choose your subjects of study and enter themed rooms (such as Math, Space, and Art!) You will interact with the liveliest of lecturers and encounter all kinds of problems and puzzles, unlocking your magical powers as you go.
Cahoots combines magic and illusion with multi-media technology to create an innovative, engaging theatrical performance that's bound to boggle the mind and spark the imagination… Come join the class!
This production first premiered as a “Zoom” performance in fall 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The live version of the performance will premiere in spring 2023.
Best for Grades 2nd-6th
Audience Size: Medium to Large Venues
Trailer - Zoom version of UNIVERSITY OF WONDER & IMAGINATION
Highlights - Zoom version of UNIVERSITY OF WONDER & IMAGINATION
This production first premiered as a “Zoom” performance in fall 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The live version of the performance will premiere in spring 2023. Please contact us to see an archival recording of the Zoom version.
Fine Arts: Performance, Digital Technology and Design, Art
Science: Space, Planets, Gravity, Atmospheric Pressure, Light, Refraction, Magnification, Scale, Environmental Conservation
Mathematics and Numeracy: Estimation and Calculation, Multiplication, Division, Subtraction, Addition, and Probability
Emotional/Social Development: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Curiosity, Growth Mindset
Load In Time: 4 hours
Crew Needs: 2 crew members
Min. Stage Size: 27’w x 27’d x 16’ h (can be adapted slightly for both smaller and larger spaces)
Sound Needs: All sound is on Mac Q Lab with 2 speakers for front and 2 placed behind audience for surround sound effect. Our ASM operates from behind blacks USC
Load Out Time: 1-2 hours
Minimum Tech Specs
Created and Directed by - Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney
Written by - Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney and Hugh W.Brown
Sound Design by - Garth McConaghie
Costume Design by - Diana Ennis
Set Design by - David Morgan
Digital Media - BNL Productions
Poster artwork/animation - Jordan Henderson
Hugh W. Brown
Audience & Critical Acclaim for the Zoom version
"The University of Wonder and Imagination may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of my students, who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. My students were amazed by how the performers integrated math and science with magic. My students now want to try to create some magic of their own. It is awesome when entertainment tied with academics, sparks a desire to learn more. I truly appreciated that the performers acknowledge everyone in attendance either by name or by class, as well as engaging many of the students to participate individually. This interaction helps build a student's self esteem. I also appreciated how the performers continued to encourage the students to use their imagination and to envision things in the future." -Cynthia Kiernan, Kennedy Elementary, Indio. Palm Desert, CA.
"The University of Wonder & Imagination was awesome for us to explore because we need to learn to use our imaginations more and believe in magic. The students made discoveries about how numbers work and more about the Earth (which supports our Earth Day activities this week). As their teacher, I was struck by how my students delved right into the performance, no questions asked. Overall, this experience was refreshing and unlike anything I or my students have experienced before." -KC From, St Theresa’s Catholic School, Palm Desert, CA.
"In looking through the resources to prepare for the performance, I was mesmerized by all of the content. The show was fantastic!!! It was the perfect blend of mystery and science, art and history, math and music. Because we are a S.T.E.M. school the problem solving and technology was so TRUMAN centered. For my class the show was timely, fitted in with "Investigating the Past." The show is so eclectic, and well put together, it could branch into any discipline of study. The kids most favorite (by vote) was Dr. Hoffman's future travel, "portraitology," and Prof. Lola's Space Department. We loved the vocabulary, word phrases and quotes. Here are a few I will redeposit: -- "We must concentrate to imaginate." -- "A picture traps you in time." -- "Art is the way you seethe world. Paint what you feel, fear... -- "Ice caps are not separate from desert. Seas are not separate from the land." - Verdlee Stevenson, Truman Elementary School, La Quinta, Palm Desert, CA.
"For Cahoots NI, director Paul Bosco McEneaney has crafted a glossily packaged, digital theatre family experience, entitled The University of Wonder and Imagination (★★★★). Drawing cleverly on two previously successful Cahoots productions, the audience of fictional undergraduates plots its own magical mystery tour around a quirky academic institution. Sean Kearns’ Professor Bamberg and his zany academic team employ a mixture of choice, probability and memory manipulation to whizz us through three fun-filled learning zones – mathematics, space and art. " - Jane Coyle, The Stage. Read the full review here.
"The University of Wonder & Imagination more than lived up to its name and is a fantastic example of how innovative digital theatre can deliver as engaging an experience as an in-person show, and share it with a far wider audience." - The Family Stage. Read the full review here.
"Cahoots NI has produced a show to be proud of and one that I would recommend in a heartbeat, this isn’t a show that’s been made in spite of limitations, this is a show that embraces the opportunity to do things completely different but with the same love, care and dedication that they’ve always done." - Pastiebap. Read the full review here.
"Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney infuses his company’s work with magic, surprises, slick stage management, and a great control of light and sound. And in these socially distanced times, he’s managed not to let go of his secret ingredients to create an experience that goes far beyond what would be expected online through the sometimes tired medium of Zoom.” - Alan in Belfast. Read the full review here.
"Director Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney has taken the limitations of pandemic theatre and turned them into possibilities, creating an innovative, exciting and engaging work for young audiences. The University of Wonder and Imagination certainly lives up to its name." -Sitting on the Fourth Wall. Read the full review here.
Past Tours: Secrets of Space, Penguins, Shh! We Have a Plan, Egg , Danny Carmo's Mathematical Mysteries, Nivelli's War, and Lights, Camera, Math!
Cahoots NI is at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children. Since beginning operations in November 2001, Cahoots NI has produced original, boldly innovative work for children, some staged in conventional theatre venues and some in purpose-designed sites or specific locations, including schools and healthcare settings. Its work concentrates on combining the visual potential of theatre with the age-old popularity of magic and illusion.
For more information, please visit the company’s website.