An immersive public theatre production showing the remarkable ways pets through the ages have influenced the world has been launched by Blue Cross.
To celebrate how pets can change lives – and sometimes shape the course of human history as a result – a series of free performances will take place daily in Russell Square, central London, between Wednesday 28 June and Sunday 2 July.
The rarely-explored influence of pets on five of history’s greats – Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein and Freddie Mercury – will be portrayed by actors to anyone who sits beside them on the Blue Cross bench.
How Pets Changed The World: Five Plays is open for anyone to join at any point from midday until 4pm, with a new character occupying the blue bench each day ready to strike up conversation with passersby.
The public will witness Winston’s fortitude and cutting wit soften in describing the reciprocal nature of his bond with his pets during his period in government (even crediting them with helping him guide the country through its darkest days); hear how a shy Warhol deflected to his Dachshund, Archie in tricky social situations; and savour juicy details of the private phone conversations between Freddie Mercury and his beloved Blue Cross cat Delilah while the Queen frontman was on tour.
Audience members will also hear how Florence Nightingale's experience of getting a lame sheepdog back on all four paws determined her very future in medicine, and what influence physicist Albert Einstein's cat Tiger had on him as he developed groundbreaking theories which continue to steer the world of physics and astronomy today.