Pedalling science guru makes whistle-stop in Warkworth

Pedalling science guru makes whistle-stop in Warkworth

David Klein performs his part theatre and pop-learning one-man science storytelling show Tour de Science. Photo, Emma Ashbrook
Science enthusiast and storyteller David Klein is pedalling his way to Warkworth to perform his one man Tour de Science show on February 17.

It is part of a 60-show, 5000km bike tour that started in the South Island last November and ends in the North Island at his hometown, Wellington, in March.

David will perform at the Otamatea Repertory Theatre in Maungaturoto, on February 16, before cycling 55km to perform the next day at Warkworth’s Old Masonic Hall in Baxter Street.

Part theatre and part pop-learning, Tour de Science is a scientific and personal learning adventure. David, who has a biology degree and background in radio and performing, shares his journey of curiosity and discovery from childhood to adulthood of atoms, cells, evolution, the solar system, stars and beyond.

It is a tweaked version of his show Toward a Better Understanding of the Universe, which won him Best Newcomer at the 2015 NZ Fringe Festival.

“I want to inspire curiosity so people wonder and ask questions, look things up and evaluate ideas,” he says. “Working closer to the truth of how the world works helps us make better decisions.”

David wanted to take the story on the road to halls, libraries, theatres and sheds throughout the country. As he doesn’t drive, cycling was the only option. After training by cycling 12km to work in windy, hilly Wellington to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision archives, he took five months off with well wishes from his colleagues.

Riding a Surly ‘Big Dummy’ cargo bike, provided by Bicycle Junction in Wellington, he literally takes the show on the road, cycling about 60km for about seven hours a day carrying his tent, sleeping bag and paper fold away props for the show.

He has had to adapt his riding to avoid sore knees with the extra weight, and had a month off over the festive season to recoup and rest his inflamed Achilles tendons.

David relies on selling tickets at each venue to pay for his meals and costs. He either stays at campgrounds or with locals when invited.

“I make ends meet, but it’s not about money. When I’m going up a big hill or performing for a small crowd I remember I’m passionate about sharing science and curiosity.”

His smallest show in Twizel in the South Island was an ‘intimate performance’, when only a father and son turned up, but he drew a crowd of 60 in Christchurch.

He arrives in each town at least two hours before the performance. He has only had to cancel two shows, Gore and Balclutha last November, after a storm.

David added Warkworth to his tour after his flatmate Jake Brown, originally from the area, recommended it. The stop will be half way through his North Island tour of 40 shows.

Otamatea Repertory Theatre, Maungaturoto, February 16, 7-8pm. Old Masonic Hall, Warkworth, February 17, 6-7pm. General admission $10, concession $5. Cash only door sales.


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