Shona Reppe: 'I want to dispel the idea that art is for the elite – life is art!'

Shona Reppe: 'I want to dispel the idea that art is for the elite – life is art!'

Designer and children's theatre maker discusses her new show, Atlantis Banal: Beneath the Surface

Her set design is often described as a work of art, so it seems fitting that Shona Reppe's new show Atlantis Banal should be set in a pop-up gallery. Although, ironically, on this occasion, the queen of Scottish children's theatre is going for a pared down approach.

'This time the set is totally minimal, which is a real change for me,' says Reppe. 'I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that the set develops as the show progresses. I wanted to try something new and create the show around the audience.'

The story of visual artist Atlantis Banal, who was born on an island and struck by lightning, the show is centred around Banal's new exhibition, Beneath the Surface. Reppe was inspired by real-life artists who work with found objects, in particular Yoko Ono and Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.

'These two women were overlooked as artists in a man's world at the time,' says Reppe. 'Baroness Elsa was an eccentric artist who wore tin cans on her head, and it's rumoured she exhibited in the toilet of an art gallery before Marcel Duchamp did.'

Following the success of previous shows, Magic Sho, Cinderella and The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean, Reppe has now teamed up with French company Velo Theatre, who are known for creating atmospheric shows using objects.

'We worked together on capturing the feel of an art gallery,' explains Reppe, 'and it's been fun creating the character of Atlantis Banal, an artist who makes the ordinary extraordinary.

'Why make a show about art for children? Because so much of art is inspired by everyday life and children are in the thick of it so why not? I want to dispel the idea that art is for the elite – life is art!'

Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Wed 9 & Thu 10 Oct; Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Sat 19 Oct and touring.

Atlantis Banal: Beneath the Surface

Children's show about the artist Atlantis Banal, set in a pop-up art gallery.

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