Empty spaces and seeing places

Artistic Director Annette Mees was recently an invited keynote speaker at Assembly Creative Tech 2021 in Helsinki, Finland.

Annette opened her talk with two compelling quotes about the nature of theatre. The first is from ‘Empty Space’, a 1968 book written by English theatre director Peter Brook:

“I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.”

The second comes from American acting teacher Stella Adler:

“The word ‘theatre’ comes from the Greeks. It means ‘the seeing place’. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time.”

These two perspectives set the scene for what Audience Labs does today. As Annette said on stage, “We want to connect with each other, have shared experiences, feel alive and reflect together on how we want to live together. Art and culture offer spaces to come together to reimagine the world, to laugh and to cry…”. At Audience Labs, Annette and her collaborators are imagining where theatre could take place and what is needed to deliver new public spaces for theatre and collective imagination.

You can watch Annette’s full keynote here: