‘The Conference of the Birds’ is a Context Oriented Theatre adaptation of the 12th Century Persian poem by Farid Ud-Din Attar. The poem describes the journey of a group of birds through seven valleys to the castle of the magical bird called the Simorgh. But it is also an allegory representing the sufi path towards liberation. Our adaptation progresses from classical to participative to immersive theatre, taking the audience on a journey inward to know ourselves so that we can explore the secret of our existence.
“OK. Let's try this and see what happens. We've gathered here because there is a clear need to address the catastrophic effects of the current constitution of our world. We might want to pretend that all is well but underneath this facade, when we take care to notice, we can feel the cracks. So in the spirit of unity I'm inviting you to go on a journey.”
The Conference of the Birds tells the story of a group of characters dealing with a crisis. The crisis varies to be relevant to the hosting community. For the Cardiff performance the issue is immigration. But the issue is not the issue. Rather it is how different characters respond to the crisis, according to their interpretation of themselves in the story.
The play takes place in a yurt, where the audience are invited to join an important meeting by the Hoopoe who engages the audience in an effort to persuade the other characters to find an action that will break the pattern. Eventually the audience themselves go on the journey too, passing through seven valleys to engage with all the senses in transforming consciousness.
The play can be up to 3 hours long and in the final 40 minutes the audience are invited to wear a blindfold
The Republic of the Imagination is an intercultural network of creative citizens that acts as a meeting point for research into Context Oriented Arts.
While there is no fixed definition of Context Oriented Arts a working definition could be that it describes 'arts that invite us to fall awake to the miracle of being alive.'
We are excited to present this performance process as part of International Performance Festival Cardiff.