A Fool’s Journey

‎”I remember one particular incident as if it was only yesterday and that was a very unusual caving expedition I conducted with a couple of friends of mine. We could not have been much older than nine or ten years of age and we were on our own miles away from our homes exploring a particular cave looking for dinosaur remains. The entrance was huge; tall ceilings and wide areas which had bats flying around overhead [If my memory is correct.] and this gave way to a gradual narrowing of the walls and a lowering of head room until we came to a bolder blocking our path. As boys we knew no fear at the time and we were already crawling on our hands and knees having travelled deep into the cave with only candles as a light and chalk marking our way out.

The bolder had a very thin gap underneath and we drew lots as to who should proceed and I was elected and duly placed my stomach to the floor and began to edge forwards. I have caved since but I have never experienced the same adventurous spirit as I had that day and for a few painstaking minutes I squeezed myself underneath until, with my head to one side, I could see the other side.

What I saw remains with me to this day and stopped me going any further because there before me illuminated by my outstretched arm, candle in hand and legs still on the other side, was a set of steps carved into the floor that moved off to my right. It was there, unequivocal, and it sent such a shiver up my spine. Not only was the image clear but the cave had turned into an arched ceiling and an alleyway that had a purpose. I asked to be pulled back and we never returned”

Steve Burton (2011)

And so the next stage of our journey begins. A fool’s journey. Beneath that boulder and down that staircase. Towards death or perhaps towards life.


About collectiveunconsciousuk

Collective Unconscious are a theatrical company who create immersive adventures where audiences are incorporated into the fictional world of the performance and are invited to interact with the characters. We aim to initiate conversations about feelings, about philosophy, about life and ultimately, about death. We ask the kinds of questions that rarely get asked and provide a safe environment for audiences to consider those questions and to respond honestly. Our performances take place in unusual locations and respond to the sites in which they are held. We see the potential in empty buildings and unused spaces and want to find ways to deliver engaging and exciting theatre in a safe way. We ask our audiences to come as themselves rather than requiring them to play a role. We are interested in who our audiences are, what they’re life experiences have been and how they feel about the world in which they exist. We do not set out to embarrass audience members by asking them to engage in behaviour that they might find embarrassing or by singling them out in front of a group of people, in fact, most of the time audience members experience our fictions alone. We believe in allowing audiences to make an informed choice about the suitability of a performance without spoiling the surprise. Our aim is to provide the opportunity for our audiences to engage in transformative theatrical experiences. We aim to challenge our audiences, providing a safe environment in which they can explore and possibly break down perceptions of themselves. Currently the company is formed of the following collaborators: Mark Ellis: Artistic Director / Writer / Academic (The University of Bradford, The Open University, The University of Huddersfield) Sarah Dobbs: Writer and Academic (The Open University / University Centre Blackburn College). Michelle Pogmore: Performer / Director / Artistic Collaborator. Rebecca Lawes: Choreographer / Performer Kristian Rowe: Set Designer. Performance Collective Unconscious are interested creating exciting and challenging theatrical performances that incorporate audience members into fictional worlds. Our current performance work is aimed at adults. Past and current projects include: Menagerie (January, March, August 2011): An encounter in attic filled with junk that asks the participant to think about their life and consider their untimely death. Forever Falling (May 2011): A solo encounter with one’s own reflection. A Thousand Leaves (June 2011): An immersive adventure into the world of nightmares. Baptism 1 (July 2011): A group ritualistic performance developed for Harrogate International Festivals’ psychogeographical piece “Across the Town”. Jane Mills (August 2011): An audio-facilitated self-performance. Atrium (August 2011): On her death bed, my grandmother told me a secret that I’ve kept hidden until now. Together we will build a pot to contain our secrets and each place one inside. Epiderm (August 2011): A novel written on the bodies of participants. Photographed and published online during its development. Baptism 2 (September 2011): A ritualistic self-performance directed by an anonymous voice at the other end of the telephone. Three Kisses (September 2011): An exploration of the meaning and circumstances behind three very different kisses. Wonderland: An immersive adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland set in real venues across an entire city. Artist Development Collective Unconscious are committed to working with other artists, performers, promoters, venues, set designers and musicians to provide a means for new work to be created. Currently this is articulated through Alone a festival of performances for one audience member that has commissioned pieces by companies around the UK and Europe to be experienced in Worcester on the 7th August 2011. On top of this we are keen to work with local tradespeople and volunteers in assist in the creation and administration of our productions. Enrichment We are in the process of developing a full programme of enrichment opportunities, aimed at young people of various ages, to take into schools, youth centres and other institutions. Our philosophy is ‘”Naughty but Nice” and we see the benefit providing novel opportunities to challenge young people and push boundaries as a means of exploring the world around them. Our immersive work aims to provide personalised affective experiences that are impossible to create in a normal classroom environment. Projects currently under development include: Schism: An immersive encounter in a hotel room which asks participants to consider the emotional landscape surrounding sex and relationships to provide advice to a woman who has got herself into an emotionally complicated situation. Horrorshow: An immersive theatrical workshop which utilises a room or set of rooms in a building and asks participants to collaborate on creating a scary experience for their colleagues or classmates. Litscotheque: A collaborative project where excerpts of participant’s writing, generated in preliminary workshops are incorporated into the mix of professional DJ during an evening event. Research As practicing academics, Collective Unconscious are committed to undertaking research relating to our creative practice and to articulating the results of our explorations through the publication of articles in relevant academic journals and presentation at academic conferences.
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