Broadcaster, writer and activist Gemma Cairney will narrate ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition, which opens at The O2 on Friday 6 December 2019. The exhibition is presented by Entertainment Exhibitions International (UK) Ltd (EEI) in association with ABBA The Museum in Stockholm.
The new exhibition will occupy a 14,000 square foot space within London’s home of music. Through a series of immersive and interactive rooms, ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition explores each of the band’s eight albums and the wider socio-political backdrop against which they were released.
Gemma Cairney will provide the narration for a specially created audio guide (included in the price of admission) that will give context to the developments of the decade, highlighting the global news events and musical soundtrack that defined the era. The exhibition features objects from ABBA The Museum and other archives, several of which have not previously been on display in the UK.
Running from 6th December 2019 to 31st August 2020, ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition brings to life the world of chart-topping Swedish pop sensation ABBA (Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid (“Frida”) Lyngstad) in an experience that charts their music, lyrics, creative process and influence as one of the most iconic pop bands of the modern age.
Gemma Cairney is one of the BBC’s foremost presenters. She has hosted programmes on BBC Radio 1, Radio 4 and 6 Music, has been part of the BBC’s Glastonbury presenting team, and fronted special programmes and documentaries across the BBC. She has been awarded two Sony Gold Awards, and her interview with Grace Jones for Amazing Grace won the Best Music Show Rose d’Or.
Gemma’s acclaimed TV documentaries include History of Feminism (BBC Learning) and Riots: The Aftershock and Dying for Clear Skin (BBC 3). She is also an Ambassador for Oxfam, and in this capacity recently raised over £26,000 for Oxfam’s The Music Circle Rumble in the Jumble celebrity jumble sale. Gemma is also a supporter of Women’s Aid.
Commenting on the announcement, Gemma Cairney said: “I am delighted to have been asked to narrate ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition. The project sounded far too fun and uplifting not to get involved. For me, ABBA are the absolute epitome of pop music and complete masters of their craft, having written some of the most universally joyful songs of all time. I think there’s a time in everyone’s life where they start thanking ABBA for the music. Whether you are a long-standing fan or have come to the band more recently, ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition will immerse you in the wonder of the ABBA’s legacy. Join us in celebrating the phenomenon!”
The exhibition has been conceptualised and curated by Jude Kelly CBE, a renowned theatre director and former artistic director at The Southbank Centre (2006-2018) and approved by ABBA.
ABBA burst onto the UK music scene with a dazzling win on 6th April 1974 at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Brighton Dome, introducing the irresistible song that would become their first UK chart-topper, “Waterloo”. ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition examines ABBA’s rise to global superstardom through a series of atmospheric rooms, exploring each of ABBA’s 8 multi-million selling albums, alongside the band’s personal and public journey.
Transforming the traditional exhibition experience, this innovative take on the ABBA story takes visitors to the heart of the journey of each band member. Incorporating lyrics, costumes, instruments, experiential backdrops of the key events and locations that defined and shaped the band, album artwork, photography, film and more, ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition examines the band’s universal popularity. From their multi-layered sound to their iconic look, the exhibition goes behind-the-scenes to examine the heavy-weight influence of one of the most enduring acts of all time.
ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition will display an array of objects that include:
· Personal artefacts from each musician’s youth that provide an insight into their pre-ABBA lives, including Björn’s school report, his military book and photographs from his time in service, and pictures of a 13-year-old Frida in a jazz band as a beatnik teenager.
· Key items from the height of the band’s heyday, reflecting on both the personal – such as a collection of behind the scenes photos taken of the band on their ‘77 Australian “Arrival” tour – and the professional, with iconic items from the height of their success, including:
– A limited-edition replica of the ‘Star Guitar’ played at Eurovision ’74, signed by all four members.
– Over 40 Gold Discs from ABBA’s personal archive, including “Dancing Queen”, their biggest selling single, worldwide.
– A collection of exquisitely designed, image-defining costumes and personal clothing.
– A recreation of superfan Andrew Boardman’s Manchester living room, a veritable shrine to ABBA memorabilia. Andrew began collecting 40 years ago, having fallen under the band’s spell when, at age 16, he first attended an ABBA concert. This room explores the notion that ABBA may have the most ardent and committed fans of any contemporary band.
Visitors will be fully immersed in the ABBA story through the ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition’s theatrical staging, including:
· A recreation of the Eurovision Song Contest stage at the Brighton Dome, where, from lush deep theatre seats, fans will watch the performance before experiencing the excitement of the vote reveal.
· Multiple photo-opportunities, where attendees can capture themselves beside:
- – A full-sized replica of the helicopter that graced the cover of “Arrival’.
- Replicas of the iconic “Super Trouper” album cover costumes.
- A life-size replica of the scoreboard that saw ABBA secure Eurovision Song Contest victory (despite null points from the United Kingdom…).
- A glimpse inside the band’s POLAR Studios, where the hard-working pop perfectionists refined their defining harmonised sound, with interactive elements that include a voice recording booth and mixing desk.
Ending the experience on a hedonistic high, guests are invited to sing, dance, add to fan mail, explore memorabilia and indeed say “Thank You For The Music” in The Legacy finale, as a specular audio-visual backdrop documents the very best of the band’s monumental successes.
ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition is running at the o2 arena from Friday 6 December 2019 – Monday 31 August 2020. To book tickets visit https://www.abbasupertroupers.com/
Photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images