In 2010, Unlimited’s artistic director J Spooner accidentally set up their own space agency. Based out of their garden shed, the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) started as a fun way to tell stories about science to children. UNSA’s early projects had award-winning success, people started to take UNSA seriously and in all honesty, J really liked to wear the space suit that came with the job.
J arriving at The Space Shed on the Astronaut Delivery Vehicle at The Holbeck in Leeds 2020 – photo by Simon Allen
For 13 years, J was UNSA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and worked with some of the world’s most prestigious space and science organisations and UNSA’s patron was the British astronaut Tim Peake who took J with him to space!
So what better way to take our message out into the world than building a mobile replica of UNSA Headquarters (J’s shed)!
The Space Shed is fully mobile, weather resistant and designed to be installed indoors or outdoors. We made it to go into fields at festivals, public squares in towns or cities, galleries in museums, on stages in theatres or anywhere else!
The Space Shed
When The Space Shed “powered on” it awoke and came to gorgeous, ingenious, impressive life: unfolding and opening up to create a self-contained ‘stage’ with fully integrated sound and lighting. This was the playing space that we told our stories from – using video, sound and light designed in collaboration with our regular team of sector leading artists.photo: Nathan Whittaker – Bluedot Festival 2018
Great Exhibition Road Festival, 2019
As well as the show, J also hosted conversations and interviews with scientists in the Space Shed (think Graham Norton meets the Broom Cupboard. In Space). We had chats with a huge range of super cool guests including Beth Healey (space doctor), Andy Newsam (Professor of Astrophysics), Libby Jackson (UK Space Agency Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme Manager Agency), John Butterworth (Professor of Particle Physics) and Shu Pillinger (Ultra Athlete and daughter of Colin Pillinger) among many others.
Interviewing Astrophysicist Dr Alex Amon outside the Great North Museum: Hancock for the great Exhibition of the North 2018Interviewing Space Doctor and film maker Kevin Fong in the Faraway Forest at Latitude Festival 2018
Once the sun goes down the Space Shed morphed once again into a late-night disco party with special guest DJ’s.
2018 Resident DJ Dr Rob Appleby – particle physicist and mixer of deep house at Latitude Festival
Robin Fallback DJing under the Lovell Telescope at Bluedot Festival 2018
“A brilliantly funny, real life tale of one human’s quest to achieve the seemingly impossibly… captivated both children and adults”
review of Just So Festival on childrenstheatrereviews.com
“Brilliant! A hilarious true story… J shared a genuine joy of space exploration and told their delightful story to an enthralled audience.”
review of Latitude Festival 2017 on exciting-stuff.co.uk
“It was amazing, brilliantly educational. It brought a tear to my eye.”
Mum with four children at Blue Dot Festival
Space Shed conceived by
Lead Space Vehicle Designer
Sound system designed by
Video & Lighting system designed by
& Flight Dynamics Officer
SIMON PERKINS & STEVE WATKINS
Originally produced by
Space Vehicle Realisation
& Assembly by