MUNICH, GERMANY, February 13, 2023 — The new space adventure, Little Major Tom: Into the Unknown, will premiere at Experimenta, located in Heilbronn, Germany, on Thursday, April 27, 2023. The world premiere event will include a live performance by Peter Schilling and his band, and Little Major Tom: Into the Unknown will also premiere at planetariums and fulldome theaters in Germany and around the world on April 27.
Dr. Peter Popp of both Softmachine and Reef Distribution and musician Peter Schilling, singer of the international hit song “Major Tom (Coming Home),” teamed up to create Little Major Tom: Into the Unknown exclusively for fulldome theaters. Schilling and his band are planning a series of live performances in conjunction with the show’s premiere. The performances will include a variety of songs Schilling has made popular, including “Major Tom,” which is featured in the show.
Little Major Tom: Into the Unknown was inspired by the popular German children’s book series, Der kleine Major Tom, which Schilling co-created. The show brings the beloved characters of Tom and Stella to immersive domes in an exciting tale set in the year 2053. Teenaged friends Tom and Stella live, laugh and train at Space Base 1, honing their astronaut skills as they float above Earth. Stella is ready to dive into any challenge, while Tom is panicking at the thought of completing his first-ever spacewalk. But a massive hurricane is forming on Earth, and Tom must put aside his fears and accept a difficult space mission. If Tom and Stella fail, the consequences could be devastating for them — and for Earth.
This fulldome show weaves meticulously researched facts about climate change and our future in space with engaging characters, including a robot cat nicknamed Pluty. Kids of all ages will relate to Tom and Stella as the characters come to terms with their dreams and disappointments, accept responsibilities and consequences and become better friends and teammates. Bolstered by the successful book series and the popular song that inspired the show, Little Major Tom will appeal to children, school groups and families alike.
“This show is the perfect combination of great storytelling and fascinating information about our potential future in space,” says Popp. “The story conveys how much fun it is to be in a space station, while also demonstrating how critical teamwork is to that environment. It also incorporates an important message about the future that Earth could be facing due to climate change.”
The popular German book series about Little Major Tom, Der kleine Major Tom, has been published by Tessloff Verlag since 2018. So far, 16 books have been published featuring Tom, his friend Stella and the robot cat Pluty. The stories convey facts and knowledge about space and science.
Schilling knew that Little Major Tom would make a great planetarium show, which led him to Popp, the founder of Softmachine Immersive Productions and Reef Distribution. Popp based the story on the characters and style of the books, working closely with the books’ illustrator, Stefan Lohr. “The books are 2D, of course,” says Popp, “and we had to make the characters 3D. The story is completely original, but true to the series in that it combines knowledge and narrative. We just made Tom and Stella a bit older to appeal to a wider audience and to allow their adventures to grow as well.”
Popp’s past films have featured animated characters, such as the fish of Legends of the Enchanted Reef. The challenge of making a film with human characters intrigued him. The setting of space was particularly thrilling to him. “The scenes work so well on the dome,” he shares. “No one has ever seen a story like this on a fulldome screen. And the cinematic-quality visuals are reminiscent of the best space films. In my opinion, this will be the most advanced dome show ever.”
Little Major Tom was conceived as a series of three fulldome shows. With two more new shows releasing over the next four years, Tom, Stella and Pluty’s thrilling adventures will continue for years to come.
Additional music for the score for the show was composed by Daniel Requardt.
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Reef Distribution is an expert in the distribution and marketing of immersive edutainment that leaves a positive impact on the audience. Founded in 2003 by Dr. Peter Popp, Reef provides excellent marketing tools and delivers high-quality content for 360° fulldome and Giant Screen Theaters located in science centers, museums and planetariums worldwide. Reef’s mission is to raise awareness for the delicate balance between nature and humanity, while helping expand horizons through engaging science-based edutainment films, shows and experiences. Learn more at reef-distribution.com.
Softmachine Immersive Productions
Softmachine Immersive Productions is an award-winning, trendsetting animation studio for 360° fulldome content and films, with more than 20 years of expertise and experience in immersive storytelling. Founded in 2001 by Dr. Peter Popp, Softmachine is a group of skilled, creative individuals with backgrounds in film production and 3D animation.
Softmachine produces premium immersive content in 2D and 3D for planetariums, science centers and attractions. Softmachine is the leader in the artistic and creative process of filmmaking, with a mastery of storytelling, editing, camera, sound and music. Learn more at softmachine.de.
Experimenta Science Center
In keeping with our promise “the entire world in one place,” the Experimenta Science Center offers a unique world of knowledge and experience for inquiring minds from three to 103. In the 25,000-square-meter facility, everyone can experiment, be amazed, be creative and discover the world with all the senses. https://www.experimenta.science/en/