A LIFE-SIZED model of a whale has shocked onlookers at a North East beach – but its presence is part of a powerful statement about climate change.

The interactive street theatre spectacle called The Whale involves a life-size, hyper-real statue of a sperm whale which is found washed up on a beach in Redcar as part of a strong environmental message. A team of performers acting as scientists run tests for three days to find out why it happened.

The highly cultural event, arrived at Majuba beach on Sunday and will be in place until Tuesday, between 9am-4pm.

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Local writer Carmen Marcus will respond live to the beaching through writing, poems, pictures and stories, interacting with the spectators and the actors broadcasting their response on social media. Artist Lizzie Lovejoy, also from the area, will be presenting some new work inspired by the whale beaching.

The artistic and cultural experience is also being widely used for educational purposes, with schools being offered bespoke online resources to learn about whales and their environment. Climate change is leading to a loss of habitat and food for whales.

The replica whale, which even produces the smell of decay, was made in 2013 and has been 'washed up' at cities and towns across Europe including London, Paris and Madrid.

Councillor Louise Westbury, cabinet member for climate change, environment and culture, said: “This is art with a serious purpose. We know all about the effects of climate change in Redcar and Cleveland and this is a very powerful educational tool to bring the message home.

“We hope the piece will create discussion within our communities about the effects of climate change and in particular the impacts as a coastal town.​

“It helps promote Redcar as a place where major cultural events may happen in a way which may engage people who may not normally be attracted to artistic events and it uses our cultural heritage in a really effective way."


The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

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