In collaboration with Beano publishers DC Thomson and Southbank Centre, we curated and designed Beanotown, a riotous installation-come-exhibition-come-play space that pays homage to Dennis and Gnasher, the Bash St Kids and the comic-book geniuses who created them.
There were opportunities to discover the story of The Beano since 1938 (with precious archival treasures on display for the first time); swot up on shenanigans at the Ultimate Prank Academy; tuck into a slap-up feed at the Beano Breville Bar serving themed food including jam and cheese toastie; shark infested custard and rice crispie cakes with added snap, crackle and poop; re-read your favourite annual in The Beanotown Library of Laughs; enjoy a game of Table Dennis (yes, that’s bespoke Beano table tennis!) and fire plastic missiles at inappropriately suitable targets – “imagine this is your teacher’s bum”.
As well as the immersive exhibition, we conceived a series of events including drawing workshops led by The Beano illustrators and sessions revealing the history of Dennis the Menace’s pranks complete with demonstrations.
Our design team were given rare access to the Beano archive selecting precious artwork from DC Thompson’s treasure trove in Dundee that illuminated the history of the weekly comic, DC Thomson & Co’s enduring characters and stories going back to before the second world war.
The original artists, including the late great David Sutherland, tell their stories on headphones, recalling the days when Biffo the Bear was the cover star.