FloodSax alternative sandbags have had a starring role in the theatre.
The original sandless sandbags were used in a pioneering tale of adventure set in Hull’s near future.
The production was called Virtual Horizons and staged by Jack Chamberlain Creative at Hull Truck Theatre.
The show was very different in that it mixed virtual reality with acting and Jack worked closely with people living in flood-threatened communities to tell a climate story of hope and resilience.
Jack said: “It took people on an immersive experience and back again. This fusion of storytelling, technology and community collaboration ignites the imagination and inspires a brighter future.
“During the show the audience members are encouraged to directly interact with the character and the story. Early into the production we asked audiences to stack FloodSax alternative sandbags to be part of a community effort ahead of a flood event.
“While producing a previous project with the University of Hull I learned about FloodSax so wanted to use them as part of the performance. The aim of this is to show audiences what alternatives there are to flood management.”
In their dry state FloodSax are very flat with a large surface area so are ideal to soak up internal leaks, spills and floods, especially in hard-to-reach places such as below boilers, beneath pipes or underneath radiators.
Yet immerse FloodSax fully in water and the gelling polymer inside absorbs the water and retains it, turning the once flat FloodSax into a robust alternative sandless sandbag in about five minutes.
All the FloodSax were donated to the production team by entrepreneur Richard Bailey who invented FloodSax in 2007 and has since sold around 3 million of them worldwide through his company Environmental Defence Systems Ltd based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
Richard said: “We like to support the arts and live theatre and Jack has devised a powerful way to get across a very modern message about the climate and the ever present risk of flooding. There are many ways to manage floods and it’s great to see how Jack and the actors have opened people’s minds to what’s out there.
“One thing all the flood experts agree on is that sandbags simply don’t work yet they are still what many people think about first when flooding is imminent. That mentality needs to change rapidly or we will see yet more homes and businesses flooded in the coming months and years.”
Virtual Horizons was written by Maureen Lennon and Hull Communities. It was funded by Arts Council England, Hull City Arts and the Sir James Reckitt Charity and supported by the University of York.
For more on FloodSax go to www.floodsax.co.uk