Civic Digits Theatre Company is pleased to announce that its ground-breaking, interactive production The Big Data Show, reshaped to a purely digital form, will be presented in Scottish schools this September. Originally scheduled as a live show for June 2020, The Big Data Show was cancelled in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Edinburgh-based Civic Digits Theatre Company, which focuses its work on what it means to be human in the 21st century, has been working with a team of multi-talented freelancers on The Big Data Show for almost a year now with the idea for this show in development since 2017. In light of the live theatre performances being cancelled due to the pandemic, the team quickly adapted and reshaped The Big Data Show to a purely online form which offers an inspiring mix of digital magic, educational tricks and eye-opening truths about living in the digital age.

The Big Data Show (TBDS) is an immersive experience for young people (P7-S3) weaving theatre and gaming together to explore cybersecurity and data citizenship.

It is about what it means to be a digital citizen and how to be social in a world obsessed with social media. Who knows what about you? What are you agreeing to when downloading an app? Who has access to your secrets? And most importantly, how to stay safe and sane in this digital age where friendships and relationships are often counted in likes and expressed in emojis. This show is even more relevant as pupils return to school after lockdown.

Scottish Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “For the past few months, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, people across the world have been learning, teaching, working and socialising online.

“Digital technology has never played a bigger role in our lives, and never has it been more important to be aware of the risks from cyber space.

“I’m delighted that The Big Data Show has responded so creatively to the pandemic, taking the event fully online. The information that young people will gain from this new version of the Show will help to keep them safe and secure online and to become more cyber resilient. Perhaps it might even inspire some of them to consider careers in cyber security in a few years’ time.”

The show sees two ethical hackers, Cy (Cindy Awor) and Bug (Kim Allan), taking pupils on a virtual journey telling the story of Rupert Goodwins, one of the young hackers involved in gaining access to Prince Philip’s BT email in the 1980s and the court trial that ensued. Using performance, bespoke mobile gaming and digital tricks, the show inspires greater understanding and engagement with our future as digital citizens in the 21st century.

This new, digital version of the show will have pupils watching 5 short episodes over an hour and a half guided by Cy and Bug, and interacting with a purposely built website and brand-new Super Swipe game app at the same time, trying to solve mysteries they discover as they delve deeper into the fascinating and shocking world of The Big Data Show.

The Big Data Show is co-written by Civic Digits’ Artistic Director and acclaimed playwright Clare Duffy and Rupert Goodwins himself.

Clare Duffy said: “We are incredibly excited to be working on The Big Data Show as an online experience! We are confident our audiences will be excited, surprised, shocked and delighted in equal measure and at the same level we had planned for the live show. It is a thrilling creative challenge making audiences feel as immersed as they would be in a live show, and we have got a fantastic bunch of digital magic tricks up our sleeve to make sure that happens. They work in people’s homes in lockdown as well as in classrooms as pupils head back to school in August.”

Rupert Goodwins said: “Taking the show online is an amazing and exhilarating experience for us. All the excitement and wonder, tension and magic of the stage show, already so drenched in digital, has translated superbly. It is perfect for our story about how lives in the real world and online interact in danger and delight. The whole creative and technical team has leaped into cyberspace like we were born there, and we can’t wait to share what we have made with our audience of true digital natives.”

The digital version of The Big Data Show will be presented in September in several Scottish schools. Teachers who are interested in presenting The Big Data Show to their pupils are encouraged to get in touch with Civic Digits Theatre Company asap here. Please note the capacity is limited.

The Big Data Show by Clare Duffy and Rupert Goodwins is produced by Suzy Glass and Robyn Jancovich-Brown for Civic Digits, with co-producers Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts and Unlimited Theatre. The project received National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland. It is also funded by the Scottish Government and the Garfield Weston Foundation and is presented as part of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

The Big Data Show team also collaborated with the Institute for Design Informatics at The University of Edinburgh on the Introduction to cyber resilience and digital citizenship workshops (accredited by SQA) where pupils create motorised emojis using facial recognition and open source data sets. For this, Design Informatics is re-purposing the Dynamic Wall Visualisations. Pupils who complete the workshops as well as the digital show will get the SQA qualification.

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