By Paul Johnson
ABBA: Super Troupers – The Exhibition opens on 6 December to celebrate one of the most successful and best-loved pop bands of all time.
In the same mega-structure as the hugely successful dining experience, Mamma Mia! the Party, opens a new exhibition just to confirm the extent of how engrained ABBA-mania is in today’s society.
Open until the end of August 2020, ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition brings to life the world of the chart-topping Swedish pop sensation (Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid) in an experience that charts their music, lyrics, creative process and influence as one of the most iconic pop bands of the modern age.
Broadcaster and writer Gemma Cairney will narrate the exhibition, which is presented by Entertainment Exhibitions International (UK) Ltd. (EEI) in association with ABBA The Museum in Stockholm.
She will provide the narration for a specially created audio guide (incl. 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.
ABBA burst onto the UK music scene with a dazzling win on 6 April 1974 at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Brighton Dome, introducing the irresistible song that would become their first UK chart-topper, Waterloo. (In its widom, the UK judging panel infamously awarded Sweden 0 points in that year’s voting.)
The new exhibition examines ABBA’s rise to global superstardom through a series of atmospheric rooms, exploring each of ABBA’s eight 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, examining the band’s universal popularity.
From their multi-layered sound to their iconic look, the exhibition goes behind-the-scenes to examine the heavyweight 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 & 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.
- a recreation of the Eurovision Song Contest stage in Brighton, 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.
- A glimpse inside the band’s POLAR Studios, where the 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.