HURRAH! It Is Rocket Science won the WISE Media Award 2013! You can probably tell from the photograph that it was something of a surprise...
Just come back from Geneva where I've been hosting the first ever Large Hadron Comedy night - at CERN. It was a wonderful evening in a truly amazing setting - the Globe of Science and Innovation!
The show was sold out and approx. 10,000 people from all over the world tuned in to watch the show live online! There are some photos of the gig (taken by Piotr Traczyk) and of CERN generally (taken by me) here.
I'll be recording a live set for Comedy Central's The Alternative Comedy Experience at The Stand in Edinburgh on Friday 12th July. It's a brilliant lineup, with Bridget Christie, Josie Long and Kevin Eldon. For more info and tickets click here. And here's the trailer for the previous series...
I'm going to be performing at Visions of the Universe Late on 13th June - an evening of astro-culture to celebrate the openining of the National Maritime Museum's Visions of the Universe exhibition. Click on the flyer below for more info - tickets are FREE!
The 4th episode of the new series of the excellent Jon Ronson's BBC Radio 4 show Jon Ronson On - features Bob Mortimer, a New York Times reporter (now ex...), a North London rabbi, & me.
And I'm on the 5th, too.
We held our biggest sold-out Spacetacular! yet at the Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday. Massive thanks to everybody who came along - especially those who made astonishing tinfoil costumes - it was a fantastic night and there are some excellent photos (taken by Craig Richmond) on Facebook.
Our brilliant performers were:
Kevin Fong (@Kevin_Fong) - his new book is available here.
Hanny van Arkel (@hannyvanarkel ) - Hanny's website is here.
Sarah Angliss (@Therematrix ) & her scratch band Voskhod specially formed for the show and featuring Kate Grant (@katedaisygrant ) and Nick Pynn (@nickpynn).
Sarah is appearing on Robots for Humans - part of the World Service's "What if" season - listen on BBC iPlayer here - and her website is here.
Kate's Facebook page is here and Nick's website is here - and look out for them on tour!
Gary Delaney (@GaryDelaney ) - Gary’s going to be touring his excellent 2010 Edinburgh Fringe show, Purist in early 2013, click here for dates - and his website is here.
Honor Harger (@honorharger ) - Honor's website is here.
Sophia Khan - Sophia doesn't do social networking, but can be found IRL at Imperial College London.
Chris Lintott (@chrislintott) - the Zooniverse website is here and his podcast, Recycled Electrons is here.
The marvellously costumed Galactic Knights (@GalacticKnights) and Iconic Legion (@Iconic_Legion) raised £130 in the interval for the Dogs Trust.
And our quizmaster as ever was Matt Brown (@mattfromlondon), Editor of Londonist.com.
Happy Christmas/Winter Solstice/Hanukkah/Yuletide/Immolation, etc!
This month I’m a guest on the excellent Space Boffins podcast - you can listen to it on the Naked Scientists site here.
I’m also performing at the Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People on 15th, 22nd and 23rd Dec at the Bloomsbury Theatre – more info & tickets here.
And the Science Grrl calendar, featuring loads of excellent people – and me - is available here.
And coming up for 2013…. A big Spacetacular! (kindly supported by the UK Space Agency) – at the Leicester Square Theatre in London - tickets here and lineup information here.
And *finally*... watch this space for details of other BBC projects – including series 3 of It Is Rocket Science…
If you're looking for something to do tonight & are a fan of the Natural History Museum, I'm involved in a live version of the Radio 4 show Museum of Curiousity (on a panel with Sir Terry Pratchett & Professor Richard Fortey (!!!!)). It's being held in the Great Hall - with the Diplodocus and others... There are just a few tickets left, I think, here.
Here's a picture from the night of me and Terry Pratchett - I have apparently changed colour with excitement.
Hello! Two excellent causes I'm involved in shows for on Tuesday 16th October, first off I'm doing at set at Ada Lovelace Live! (tickets & info here)- I'll be doing a slightly bigger & (with any luck) slightly better version of my set from last year's ALD on the Mercury 13 and there'll also be particle physics, humming fridges, perfoming robots, sharks, and plenty of scientists, technologists, musicians, engineers, broadcasters who also happen to be women! [some press here: BBC Online, Guardian Science Blog]
Then I'm off to ZSL London Zoo for the adventure-themed Save the Rhino Fundrasing Dinner 2012 (tickets here) which also has turns from all kinds of exciting people including Christina Franco (who will be attempting to travel solo to the North Pole in February next year) AND lovely *food* in a *zoo*.
Hello! I'm back from possibly my favourite Edinburgh Fringe so far. Thank you so much everyone who came to see the show.
A couple of things I'm involved in this month: If you're in the North East of England and like space - specifically planetarium shows about the moon - then why not pay a visit to the Centre for Life Science Village in Newcastle and see Moonstruck which is narrated by me and is probably the first ever funny planetarium show. Click here for more details and click here for press.
Also I'm involved in this: www.sciencegrrl.co.uk, a project that aims to make sure girls continue to achieve great things in science, technology and maths. Help fund their work here.
Hello! I'm at the Edinburgh Fringe all this month doing my new show Helen Keen: Robot Woman of Tomorrow. Click here to read some reviews so far, or here to listen to some show-related podcast guest spots I've been doing recently (Guardian Science Weekly & Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast).
Here's a preview clip from the final episode of series 2 of It Is Rocket Science - the full episode goes out at 11pm on Wednesday 6th June on BBC Radio 4.
The new BBC Radio 4 series of It Is Rocket Science starts on Wednesday 16th May at 11pm, with me, Peter Serafionwicz and Susy Kane. It was produced by Gareth Edwards. They are all intimidatingly talented and amazing - please click on their names to go to their websites/blogs, etc.
I'm taking a new show to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. It's called Helen Keen: Robot Woman of Tomorrow and it's (probably) going to be (mostly) about early science fiction and the horrors of doing an admin job (but I haven't entirely written it yet, so it's possible that this might change...) Click here for Edinburgh tickets and please do check out my gig list for details of previews. Next chance to see it will be at the Brighton Fringe on Mon 21st and Tues 22nd May at the Caroline of Brunswick - where - in an extremely subtle attempt to distract the audience from any slightly shambolic elements - there will be delicious robot-shaped biscuits (even more delicious than - and definitely not the same batch as - last year's). For Brighton tickets click here.
Hello! There's no Yuri's Night Spacetacular or space-y solo show from me on April 12th this year, alas - but if you'd like to do something the night before - 11th April - why not come along to the recording of my Radio 4 space-comedy series It Is Rocket Science! (featuring me, Peter Serafinowicz and Susy Kane) at the BBC Radio Theatre from 7pm. here for FREE tickets.
Hello! At the Brighton Fringe on May 21st & 22nd I'm doing a 7pm show at the Caroline of Brunswick.
Click here to buy tickets.
Hello! I'm going to be part of the line-up for the Douglas Adams 60th Birthday celebrations on Sunday at the Hammersmith Apollo (as a huge fan of Hitchhiker's this is incredibly exciting and quite a bit daunting for me...) I'm also going to be involved in the Improbable After Dark - Ig Nobel Event on Saturday in Teddington.
Today I'm going to be compering Newcastle Bright Club. The show usually sells out it advance, but there may be a few tickets left on the door....
And there are lots more great events coming up as part of the Newcastle Science Festival -click here for more info.
I'm going to be back at the Cambridge Science Festival on March 15th performing Helen Keen: Robot Woman of The Future! Tickets are on sale in advance here.
I'll also be giving a short talk about space-y things as part of the great line-up for ThinkCon on March 17th.
If you'd like to come to Spacetacular! in London this month you can buy tickets in advance here.
Our guests are: Catie Wilkins - one of Dave's Top 10 stand-ups to catch; Radmila Topalovic - from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich; Gareth Jones - presenter of ITV's inspirational classic How 2 and captain of Get Fresh's Milennium Dustbin (how exciting is that!?) and Kevin Fong - space medicine expert and frequent presenter on shows such as Horizon and Space Shuttle: Final Mission.
ALSO we have a special showing of award-winning space documentary She Should Have Gone To The Moon presented by the director Ulrike Kubatta. Plus the usual Spacetacular-ness from me and Matt Brown.
Hello & Happy 2012!
I'm spending most of this month writing & polishing the 2nd series of my radio show It Is Rocket Science! I'm sitting at my computer most days now so any space facts/stories v gratefully received! (firstname.lastname@example.org or @helen_keen on Twitter). It looks like we'll be recording the show in London (with a live studio audience again) in early March. And - and! - a new & fairly excitingly located Spacetacular is on the way for late February in London, too. I'll post details of how to get tickets for both of these soon
...And listen out for a new BBC Radio 4 series of It Is Rocket Science! coming out in 2012.
Here's a quick clip of me talking to the New Humanist about my set at Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People on December 19th. (NB That is not my shoe and towel next to me - eeeeuw - I'm slightly horrified by the proximity.)
I'm doing the Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at the Bloomsbury tomorrow night - it's been sold out for a while I think, but there might be some last minute standing tickets (though - warning!- there are *a lot* of (great) acts on, so it won't be a short night....
On Saturday I was at the Royal Institution for an amazing night celebrating the Ghosts of Christmas Lectures Past, hosted by Robin Ince. It was wonderful and a little bit unreal to stand on the stage in the Faraday Theatre...
I chose to pay tribute to the 1929/30 lectures by Stephen Glanville, 'How Things Were Done In Ancient Egypt'. According to newspaper cuttings from the time (kindly provided by Charlotte New at the RI), Glanville's lecture was particularly popular and attracted a wider audience than usual, in spite of the unusual-for-an-RI-Christmas-lecture subject. The Evening Standard reported the next day "almost as many chuckles as if it had been at the pantomime". But it seemed to me that Glanville's lecture was also a serious riposte to the popular press's preoccupation with the supernatural in relation to Egypt of the Pharaohs - 'The Curse of the Mummy' had been widely discussed in the 6 years since Carter and Carnarvon entered Tutankhamun's tomb. Glanville eloquently described life for ordinary people in ancient Egypt, and showed that Egypt's staggering achievements were the consequence of human endeavour and intellect. He described workers and foremen and farm labourers in a way that made them instantly come alive and seem relevant and recognisable to his audience. He illustrated his lecture with magic lantern slides, so I felt free to homage this with PowerPoint - my slides are here (or you can flick through them below).
I got asked (at the very very last minute!) to talk at Boring 2011 & so I thought of the poor space shuttle - there's a rather good illustrated summary of the talks here:
Massive thanks to everyone who came along to the London and Manchester Spacetaculars in October. There's a review of the Manchester show here and click on the image below to see some photos of the amazing audience costumes.
We're planning another London show in January - news here soon or follow Spacetacular! on twitter.
Two Spactaculars and two Bright Clubs coming up:
Back at the Camden Head for a London Spacetacular! on 20th October and then up to Manchester for a huge Spacetacular! actually in the Museum of Science and Industry on 28th October.
I'll be compering a brand new Bright Club in Dundee on 8th November and I'm on the bill at the Bloomsbury Theatre for Bright Club Stars (compered by Welsh comedy genius Lloyd Langford and also featuring the utterly brilliant Lucy Porter) on 11th November.
(And there are also some new podcasts up on the podcast page - including one from Bright Club.)
I have an Autumn/Winter of gigs celebrating (and featuring) some of my favourite rather spectacular Great Women. First off - brilliant Ada Lovelace day gig on Friday 7th October (click here for more info), then on Friday 14th October The Suffrajesters (more details here) some of us may dress as Suffragettes for this. And - who knows? - end the night chained to railings while holding forth about the inquities of the Cat and Mouse Act. And finally - full details of this haven't been announced yet, but in November I'll be involved in a very exciting project by one of my favourite comedians, and it may be just a bit inspired by the Mitford sisters (more on that one soon...)
One my current projects is being Comedian In Residence at Newcastle's Science Village, the Centre for Life and we held our second Bright Club this week - good article about some of the excellent academics involved here. Bright Club's now a national phenomenon - if there' s one on near you - go! :) it's a great night - more coming in Newcastle in December....
I am guest presenting The 7th Dimension, the BBC’s regular radio slot for sci fi, fantasy and horror (on BBC Radio 4 extra).
It's a really good week! Here are some iPlayer links in order of appearance:
Terry Pratchett’s Nation
The House on the Borderland
Fear on Four: The Speciality of the House
Doctor Who & the Giant Robot
Some stuff I've got coming up...
*Spacetacular!*, the entirely outer space-themed & entirely tinfoil-wrapped show-and-tell variety show Spacetacular! will be coming to the Edinburgh Free Fringe for a couple of nights this August! As with the London shows there'll be special guests from the worlds of science and comedy plus the audience can bring along their own space memorabilia for a quick fire show and tell... The shows will be at The Canons' Gait on 15th and 22nd August from 20.25-21.20. Please come - and dress up if you want to!
Click here for more info/to see photos of previous nights.....
I'm also going to be performing a few work-in-progress previews of my new show Helen Keen: Robot Woman of The Future at some fringe festivals over the next couple of months. They'll probably be a bit shambolic, but should be fun (eventually, or at least in retrospect?)
(Click on the dates for tickets & more info.)
Buxton Fringe 9th July
Henley Fringe 21st, 22nd and 23rd July
Camden Fringe 1st and 2nd August
And - finally - I'll be a guest on the space-exploration themed episode of Radio 4's Infinite Monkey Cage, presented by Robin Ince and Prof Brian Cox in June (it's all go...)
Hello & Happy 50th Anniversary of Human Spaceflight!
On 12th April 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to orbit the earth. On 12th April 1981 the US launched the first space shuttle. On 12th April 2008 I, H. Keen did a very early preview of It Is Rocket Science! which, to be honest, wasn't really as good as it might've been (but y'know, it picked up later...) Anyway - let's celebrate the first two & not really mention the latter ever again at ....
SPACETACULAR FOR YURI'S NIGHT! Tonight, at the Camden Head, Camden Town, tickets £3. Come in space-related costume, come with space related memorabilia or just come as you are! Hosted by me + Matt Brown! Wonderful line up includes - Leila Johnston, Andrew Jaffe, Peter Dillon Trenchard, Sheila Kanani & Kate Arkless Gray.
A final massive thank you to everyone who listened to/recommended/ tweeted about/put iffy copies on Pirate Bay of (because, er, it is sort of a compliment…?) It Is Rocket Science on Radio 4. There may still be a few more performances of the live version before I retire it, but there are some new live dates coming up too…
If you’re a space fan in London on April 12th and fancy coming along to a space-themed science/comedy/tinfoil evening in celebration of Yuri’s Night (the 50th anniversary of the spaceflight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin) hosted by me and Matt Brown of The Londonist – click here for details of our first Camden Spacetackular! Hope we’ll be putting on a few more later in the year too…
I’m also going to be previewing my new solo show, about The Future (& robots!) at the Brighton Fringe Festival in May. Click here for tickets & info.
*Also* I’m going to be one of the guests for several dates of Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage tour (Uncaged Monkeys) with Brian Cox, Ben Goldacre, Robin Ince and Simon Singh – May 1st in Oxford, May 5th in Birmingham, May 6th in Manchester and May 14th in Edinburgh. Click here for tickets & info.
Onwards to Mars!
March 9th (pm)
There are some interviews/articles about the radio series It Is Rocket Science! at the links below:
Comedy.co.uk (Ooh! Currently heading up the front page - it's a quiet day for new comedy - but it still counts!)
Nature.com London Blog
The New Humanist
March 9th (am)
The first episode of It Is Rocket Science! is going to be broadcast today on BBC Radio 4 at 11pm. So please do tune in if you can. It's also going to be available on BBC iPlayer and (for the first episode only) as a BBC Comedy of the Week podcast on iTunes.
What people have said about the first episode so far:
"Irreverent comedy and aerospace engineering don’t seem an obvious fit, but It Is Rocket Science! proves that fact-based boffin buffoonery works" (The Guardian)
"Quirky, offbeat and original, this four-part history of space travel and rocketry adroitly blends comedy and science... Helen Keen is clearly someone to watch" (The Sunday Times)
* * * * "Informed, enthusiastic and funny" (The Daily Mail)
Massive thanks to everyone who came to the recording and I hope you like it...
Just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone at AstroFest and at QEDCon on Feb 5th for making a very hectic Saturday performing at the two conferences (to over 1000 people!) really brilliant. There are some photos of AstroFest here and of QEDCon here.
The countdown to the BBC Radio 4 series of It Is Rocket Science! starring Peter Serafinowicz, Susy Kane and... er... me begins very soon! The first episode will be broadcast on March 9th at 11pm so please do tune in. And we now have a Twitter account for the show @R4RocketScience which will be tweeting an array of excitingly relevant space facts and links as we get closer to the date.
And London Space Fans! On April 12th I'll be part of an event in Camden to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. More details here. Please do come along. And wear your favourite space costume. There will be prizes for the best use of tinfoil! And it will be hosted by me and Londonist editor and all-round space nerd Matt Brown.
We recorded the BBC Radio 4 series of It Is Rocket Science! (my low budget, highly subjective look at the history and future of space travel) on Monday.
Thank you *again* to everyone who came to the recording – here are some links for the people involved...:
Gareth Edwards produced the show - as well as being the best possible producer, he's on twitter @garethmammal & check out his wonderfully entertaining blog here http://somekindofexplanation.blogspot.com/
Peter Serafinowicz's sheer genius is here: http://peterserafinowicz.com/
Susy Kane is also a comedy writer and musician as well as a brilliant actress she's on twitter @smlkane and http://www.youtube.com/user/littlecosmo
Marcus Chown very kindly looked over our final episode (though obviously any errors that have crept in are not his fault!) His website is here: http://www.marcuschown.com/
And finally Miriam Underhill who wrote the show with me is on facebook (she dreams of having 90 fb friends one day - and for more of her views on facebook - see also, Episode 4)
Also - thanks to our unknown Physics Champion who pointed out a very embarrassing script typo in our joke about pressure in episode 3 and saved us from shame (and hundreds of letters).
Also #2 we had some exciting cameos (I'll leave those as a surprise)...
And brilliant production from Lyndsay Fenner, with Marc and Roger "in the booth" (the booth was amazing - I am going to regret not taking a photo of that mixing desk for the rest of my life...)
The first episode's going to be broadcast on 9th March 2011 at 11pm.
It Is Rocket Science! is going to be recorded as a series for BBC Radio 4 on 6th December at 7pm at the BBC Radio Theatre (at Broadcasting House on Portland Place, W1A 1AA) .
There’s more info and details of how to get hold of (FREE!) tickets if you click here.
I'm a guest on this week's Shift Run Stop podcast! (I had been alone with my computer & radio script for *some time* before leaving the house to meet Leila & Roo, and my enthusiasm for human conversation is tragically apparent (i.e. they barely get a word in edgeways, but were very nice about it)). There's a taster video below but the full episode is online here.
I forgot about this because it was recorded a couple of weeks ago - but I was a guest on BBC7's Comedy Club with Robin Ince this week. (Only remembered when I listened again to Nebulous (one of my favourite things on the radio at the moment) and heard myself at the beginning of it!)
I’m going to be performing It Is Rocket Science! and The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival in the UK and Ireland this autumn so please do come along if you can.
Saturday 23rd October, 16.00 – It Is Rocket Science! at the Fortean Times UnConvention (click here for details)..
Thurday 28th October, 19.00 - The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival at the Manchester Science Festival (click here for details)..
Tuesday 9th November, 18.00 - The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival at the Dundee Science Festival (click here for details)..
Wednesday 17th November, 19.30 - It Is Rocket Science! at the Otley Science Festival (click here for details).
Wednesday 1st December and Thursday 2nd December It Is Rocket Science! – 2 shows in Cork and 2 in Dublin (details tbc).
And I’ll be recording the Radio 4 version of It Is Rocket Science! soon (very exciting!) – so details of that will be up here as soon as the date’s been confirmed.
It Is Rocket Science! is pick of the Camden Fringe in The Times (no link sadly as they make you pay to read it), the Standard, London is Funny, Spoonfed and The Londonist.
Click here for tickets if you'd like to come along.
Tomorrow's It Is Rocket Science! in Henley has only one ticket left (I'm as surprised as you are....), a few more for Saturday though.
And if you're in Henley some other time, check out Hot Gossip Coffeehouse on Friday St - it's wonderful!
I've got a brand new version of It Is Rocket Science! and it'll be on all over the shop this summer.
I'm at the Buxton Fringe on the 9th, 10th and 11th of July, the Henley Fringe on 22nd, 23rd and 24th July, the Camden Fringe on 3rd and 4th of August and then Edinburgh Fringe from 6th to 30th of August (click on the above place names for ticket info).
I'll also be performing a Free Fringe show - Keen & Khan: Starstruck! on the 9th, 10th and 11th August at the Voodoo Rooms, with real life rocket scientist Dr Sophia Khan. Click here for more details.
There will be several science festival-y/conference-y outings for It Is Rocket Science! (and for The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival) later in the year too.
And the in-front-of-a-live-audience recording of the radio series should be sometime in October in London. I'll post details here as soon as I have any definite dates....
Hello - tickets now on sale for It Is Rocket Science! at the Edinburgh Science Festival (click here) and the Brighton Fringe Festival (click here). Will be trying out some bits too for the R4 series if they get written in time (not as easy as you might think...)
If you click here you can hear me talking to BBC Radio York about the show I'm going to be doing tomorrow night at the York Science Festival
I am back at some more science festivals soon - including:
Cambridge (with the Arctic Survival Show) at 6.00pm on Tuesday 9th March at the University Centre
Tickets: £3 (available on door)
Newcastle (with It Is Rocket Science!) at 8.00pm on Wednesday 17th March at The Hyena Comedy Club
Tickets: £9 (0191 2326030 or see www.thehyena.com )
York (with The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival) at 7.30pm on Sunday 21st March at Bootham School
Tickets: £4 (01904 557208 or email@example.com)
And Edinburgh (It Is Rocket Science!) at 4.30pm on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th April at Adam House Theatre
Tickets: £5.50 (0131 553 0322 or www.sciencefestival.co.uk )
This is almost certainly the new rock n roll.
Hello - I'm in Otley on Saturday 30th January to do my Arctic Survival show (EDIT -apparently this is now sold out with a waiting list for tickets (?!) but I'm in York closing the Science Festival there with the same show on Sunday 21st March). Also, I'm a guest on Woman's Hour in Manchester on Friday 29th January (and my mother is very excited about that (esp. after I didn't make on there at the last minute in October - very kind of W.H. to have me back!))
I'm going to be performing my latest Edinburgh show The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden on 14th December at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £6.50 and that includes membership, so you'll get money off anything else you go to see there (see www.etceteratheatre.com for more details). (If you're already a member tickets are £5. If you're really skint but would still like to come, email me & we'll sort something out...)
Please come! If nothing else it will probably be quite festive.
Check out the 'suprise me!' dinosaur button. One day it will be like the improbability drive, transporting you to far flung, fascinating corners of the Internet universe, but - for now - "just" elsewhere upon this website...
It's a strange thing - if you're a world leader & you put big pictures of yourself up *everywhere* then people mutter darkly about totalitarian Stalinist dictatorships. However if you work in comedy & are doing a website, preliminary research suggests you can go to town and no-one bats an eyelid.... So welcome to helenkeen.com. I will edit them down soon, but for now there are too many pictures of me (I do know that, just so you know).
Reproduction of images is free for normal publicity purposes/any large parades at which nuclear weapons will be wheeled reverently past my immense countenance.
That's all for now, bye!
Yrs, The Beloved Leader xxxxx
Hello - like so many things in (my) life, this website is a work-in-progress and done with no budget - so if you see something horribly awry or have any helpful suggestions for how to make it better please do get in touch & let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Keep checking back to watch it evolve excitingly....