Sometime around the summer of 2018 (I’m posting late), I received an obscure invitation which was subliminally also a mysterious call to adventure. I was asked to join something that ended up being irrevocably, positively transformational.
It was called Stone Soup. Inspired by the old Portuguese folk story, it was part summer camp, part idealistic festival and part spiritual retreat – the perfect antidote to a (less attractive) side of the entertainment industry that has made me question my aspirations of being an actor of late. In here, I was the only actor present, and joined a group of 36 talented chefs, quantum physicists, entrepreneurs, architects, designers, educators and other intimidatingly intelligent craftspeople in a dreamlike forest in West Poland. Our aim? Work towards a shared intention, which in our case was to create and share experiences with each other in whatever form. Every meal, workshop or get-together had an accompanying experience designed by its facilitators, giving me next to a hell of a time also a new understanding of experience design, the term for the new medium currently informing immersive theatre and other types of contemporary entertainment.
A village with its own democracy quickly ensued and started to encompass hubs of creativity, even a synecdoche of a “New World” in which I got to stand at the portal and act as Morpheus himself, gleefully initiating the abductees of the Old World into a bubble of possibility and positivity.
The reason I’m adding this as a singular news post and not some hippie social media essay is because this specific event has so directly influenced my perception of the notions of ‘performers’ and ‘audience’ that it has led into an important new chapter in my working life. If the rest of this chapter is as promising as its beginning.. I’m in for an exciting time.