They may have been a bit scary when you were young (anyone remember the Groke who haunted dark, snowy forests?) or perhaps you loved everything about the magical world of the Moomins. The new immersive, interactive exhibition at London’s Southbank Centre, Adventures in Moominland, part of the year-long Nordic Matters festival, has something for everyone.
You can walk through seven different worlds that explore the influence of the Nordic landscape in the Moomin stories, including the lush springtime forests of Moominvalley, a dark, snowy midnight landscape, a canvas tent on the water's edge and author Tove Jansson’s studio, complete with the scent of paint!
Well thought out and cleverly designed, you will leave the real world behind for a while and immerse yourself listening to the narrative voiced by Sandi Toksvig and written by author and poet Laura Dockrill. Building on the success of 2016's interative experience, The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl, archive material (such as original drawings) are part of the narrative, bringing the world of the Moomins closer to the audience so we can learn more about Tove Jansson's inspiration behind the Moomin stories.
Several of the stories such as Comet in Moominland (1946) and Moominland Midwinter (1957) were written against the backdrop of socio-economic change in Finland. The tolerant world of Moominvalley offered a refuge from reality and Jansson also explored her art and own sexuality – her friends, enemies, fears and hopes all manifested in the complex, emotional stories.
And look out for more Moomins soon – Filmlance International has teamed up with Sophia Jansson, Tove Jansson's niece, to create a new animated adaptation of the children's series. With Academy Award-winning director Steve Box, and BAFTA-winning producer John Woolley, it's one not to miss.
Adventures in Moominland is on until 23 April 2017, at the Spirit Level, at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall. You must pre-book on a tour; tickets cost from £13.50. Click here for more information and follow @southbankcentre on Twitter.
Photographs: Vic Frankowski, Moomin Characters, Per Olov Jansson