You don’t need a sense of childlike wonder to enjoy the zoo – but it helps; which is why, as we grow older and gather responsibilities and worries, it seems to lose its appeal. But Melbourne Zoo’s new, adults-only theatre program I, Animal, is set to change this, reigniting our sense of curiosity and immersing visitors in their own animal instincts.
“It’s a bit naughty,” says Zoos Victoria’s Stella Kinsella, who project-managed I, Animal. “The content is not for kids. It’s a bit dark, a bit edgy…we swear a bit, we talk about sex, we talk about ancestry, we talk about love.”
I, Animal is part of a push by Zoos Victoria to expand their traditional demographic. They commissioned Adelaide theatre-makers The Border Project to adapt their award-winning Adelaide Festival show I Am Not An Animal, in which performers used Adelaide Zoo as a stage and its animals as co-stars, into an interactive theatre tour for Melbourne Zoo (Australia’s oldest), which will run nightly throughout the summer. The final ingredient was the tech savvy of Art Processors, the tech developers behind the ‘O’, the innovative iPod-Touch-cum-tour-guide used at Hobart’s MONA.