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 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. Tom and Stella 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.”
Little Major Tom was conceived as a series of three fulldome shows — with two more new shows releasing over the next four years.