New US touring hub for Mechanics Alive

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Mechanics Alive & Explora text
A hand turns a wheel connected to a pinwheel which is in turn connected to a larger pinwheel positioned at a right angle.

New Cabaret Mechanical Theatre US touring Hub at Explora Science Centre, New Mexico, US.

Our history of exhibiting and collaborating with numerous science centres in the US goes back to October 1999 when we were invited to MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to be part of MindFest, an experiment looking at playful invention and exploration.

Through that event we began a collaboration with the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Several artists in our collection, including Keith Newstead, Tim Hunkin, Carlos Zapata, Kazu Haruda & Paul Spooner, have spent time there as artists in residence; working alongside the educators at the Tinkering Studio sharing ideas, creating automata projects and new tinkering projects.

Carlos Zapata smiles at the camera. he is in a busy workspace surrounded by his carved and painted figures.

Explora Science Centre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have exhibited our automata as part of their temporary exhibitions programme since 2018. They have developed in-house expertise and knowledge about our automata, the artists and integrating the learning opportunities inspired by the automata to merge science, art and engineering in their tinkering space. Our partnership with Explora has enabled the setting up of our new touring hub and to permanently base our successful exhibition Mechanics Alive! at Explora.

‘The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre automata are the epitome of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Each automata is a piece of art, a beautiful mechanism, and a five to ten second haiku. Everyone finds a favorite in the collection, and they just have to share with a friend or family member. I’m a big fan of the ‘Banana Ripener,’ which makes me laugh at my own impatience.’

Joe Hastings, Explora Executive Director
A women and her daughter are operating a large plastic geneva wheel mechanism. In the foreground is the cat automaton, poisoned milk.
Interactive Geneva Wheel

Mechanics Alive! Is a spectacular hands-on exhibition of 18 automata and explanatory interactives that playfully demonstrate mechanical principles such as cams, drives, pulleys and ratchets, a crowd pleaser for families, school and community groups and automata enthusiasts .

It is accompanied with information about Cabaret Mechanical Theatre’s history, artists interviews on film and numerous automata kits and making material.

Mechanics Alive! toured to Fleet Science Centre in San Diego in 2021 and we are excited to be planning tours behind the scenes with the Explora team for new venues in the US later this year and into 2024-25.

“I am delighted that we are able to work closely with our colleagues at Explora! in order to share our exhibits with US audiences, who, outside of the UK. are our No. 1 fans.  We will also get a chance to introduce more exciting automata from our collection as the tours develop”

Sarah Alexander, Cabaret Mechanical Theatre

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  1. Birmingham E says:

    I’m so excited to hear about Mechanics Alive! at Explora! It sounds like such an incredible opportunity to immerse oneself in the world of automata. I’m particularly fond of the Banana Ripener, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the kits and making materials they offer. I’m sure this will be a highly enjoyable and educational experience!

Our mission is to promote engineering and creativity through workshops, exhibitions and automata kits.

As a Community Interest Company all profits go toward this valuable work.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Learning CIC
Company Number: 14598590
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