Root Experience Interview

Published On September 16, 2013 | By We Love Brighton | Music & Nightlife Features

Root Experience’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes’ is part of Brighton Digital Festival
28th – 29th September
The Old Market
Performance times – 1.30pm, 3pm, 4.30pm and 6pm.


What was the inspiration behind creating Root Experience and how and when did you begin?

Root Experience was founded in 2006 by Simon Magnus with the aim of exploring the relationship between performers and audience in a radical way. Root Experience creates interactive theatre pieces which gently pull the audience into the world we have created.


What was your first project and how did it go?

Mirrorgame was our first project and it allowed us to experiment with interactivity. For the first time we debated with the audience as we had brought them into our world. Artistically it was great, and the basis for everything since, but practically it showed us that we had a lot to learn, e.g. ferrying props and actors around London in taxis trying to tour!


What kind of projects have you been working on over the years?

All of our projects have been interactive and used unusual spaces to perform in. Simon spent some time in South Korea where he worked with local performers to create cross-cultural pieces. Root Experience has been to the Edinburgh Fringe, and has recently relocated to Brighton where we have been embraced into the local theatre scene.


How did you come to start merging digital technology and theatre practices?

The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes is the first project where we have worked with digital technology. This is because the structure of the piece is based on gaming, and is our first totally participant-led show. It’s also outdoors, so we needed a way for each participant to stay connected and invested in the piece.


How did ‘The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes’ your current project begin?

Simon has been working closely with a group of performers since he moved back to London, and one of them pointed out that the next step for Root Experience was to make a theatrical game. So we were awarded some research and development money from Arts Council England and set up a series of workshops during a residency at Lighthouse Arts. We knew the audience needed to stay connected through mobile technology, so we began exploring apps and found WhatsApp – an instant messaging service which runs across platforms. Using this we twisted traditional games including Hide and Seek to include a secret messaging or geo location aspect.

The work at Lighthouse Arts lead to us creating our own games and running around the North Laine area ‘shooting’ each other with smart phones! From there, the narrative of The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes developed through researching quantum computing and realizing at some point in the not too distant future, our every move could be predicted and even predestined by technology.


Can you tell us some more about the project?

When you arrive at The Old Market to play The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes you will hand over your mobile phone and be given an envelope containing some information and a map. This will lead you to the point where you can find your team and be given your audio headset.

There are tasks to solve and clues to find out on the streets as news reports and phone calls from your team mates are broadcast over the headsets. You need to work out how this strange new world of glitchy predictions works…and how to twist the situations to your team’s advantage.

But we can’t give away any more information!


And where is it headed next?

We would love to take The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes on a national tour. We are currently in conversation with a number of venues across the country. If you would like us to bring Geo Goynes to a city near you – please get in touch!


Is there anything else in the pipeline?

Yes, there are a number of projects in the very early idea stages that would extend the work started by The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes even further. We are very interested in the issues surrounding resources and sustainability. We would also love to travel and encounter different cultures by bringing theatre to them.


If you are interested in participating in games trials click here

Check out the trailer of ‘The Making of ‘The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes’ here


Other Great Stuff:

.Brighton Digital Festival Highlights

.Brighton Japan 2013

.MEATliquor Heads to the Seaside

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