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WHIST World Premiere

  • Gulbenkian University of Kent Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NB UK (map)


Journey into the unconscious mind as Interactive Theatre and Virtual Reality combine

World Premiere: The Gulbenkian, Canterbury 12-13 April 2017, various time slots (duration 60 minutes)

AΦE announces the world premiere of its newest dance and Virtual Reality production, ‘WHIST’, which will take place at the Colyer-Fergusson Hall at The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, 12 – 13 April 2017. Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s dream theory, WHIST invites audiences on a journey into the unconscious mind, where instincts will be the guide through a narrative of surreal dreams and fears.

Combining Physical Theatre and Mixed Reality Technology, the production bring the magic of theatre together with the type of special effects only possible in the world of film. WHIST incorporates 360 ̊ interactive film, soundscapes and an architectural art installation to create an environment that blurs all boundaries – between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual.

Immersed in a world of unfolding dreams, the viewer chooses his or her own path, creating a truly unique narrative dependent on choice – their personal decisions made through the course of the mesmerising hour- long experience.


PRESS RELEASE February 2017

Enter a large open room and the viewer is faced with a series of large-scale, geometric objects. This is the real world, but once the VR headset is worn, we are in dreamland, invited into the world of three main characters, figures lifted from Freud’s own patient case studies.

“We had many conversations with psychoanalysts working at the Freud Museum and were introduced to several patient case studies. We thought: ‘What if those patients formed one single family?’ And there we were, completely immersed in their worlds...Freud’s own theories about fears, dreams, symbolism in dreams and the notion of the unconscious is just the beginning.” Esteban Fourmi & Aoi Nakamura (Founders of AΦE)

52 is the number of narrative possibilities that exist, to create a unique experience for each viewer. No simple ‘red pill vs. blue pill’ format, WHIST implements interactive elements, subtly woven into the film to effect unconscious decision making. This puts the production at the very forefront of immersive storytelling innovation - leaving the strings that bind and pull at all times invisible. Regardless of choice being on either a conscious or an unconscious level, however, one thing is clear: once a decision has been made, the story's perspective will be drawn in one direction.

As always, we are both attracted by the unknown, and we wanted to exploit the full potential of VR to achieve a total immersion of our audience. The audience, in fact, is the live element of the performance. Everything else exists according to its individual decisions. The viewer is his own director. His decisions influence the entire perspective on the story. We hope people will leave with a strong sense of the narrative possibilities and their implications; we hope people will think about the many other ways of looking at things. We all have the tendency to forget all this in our daily lives." AΦE

From a technical point of view, it was challenging for us to come up with solutions to incorporate more than 110 minutes of film in high resolution with interactive 3D sound, and to create a seamless interactivity between real objects and the world within the VR headset. We feel that WHIST represents innovation in theatre making and also touring formats, as well as pushing boundaries in Virtual Reality Storytelling. We hope that people from all walks of life will fall in love with the work.” AΦE

The creative collaborators of WHIST include global creative studio Happy Finish as technology partner, composers Scott Gibbons and Jozef van Wissem (winner of the Cannes Best Soundtrack Award), and set designer James Shaw.




Event: Venue:

Address: Dates: Times: Duration: Tickets: Website:

The Gulbenkian
University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NB
12 – 13 April 2017
12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm , 7pm, 8pm (both days) 60 minutes


For further information, interviews or images please contact Tani Burns: T: +44 (0)207 377 5665
M: +44 (0)7888 731 419
FB: TBurnsArts on Facebook
TW: @tburnsarts


About AΦE

AΦE is an Ashford-based dance company founded in 2013 by Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Fourmi. With the vision to bring the art of dance closer to audiences, our mission is to create high-quality productions and experiences that are not bound by a stage.

Driven by the power of body and movement in space, our productions are environments that allow the audience to enjoy total immersion. Each element in the performance space – the set, performers, audience, sound, objects – is part of an ecosystem, carefully constructed to allow audience’s own reflection on the subject explored.

We choreographed, directed and performed for award-winning works, such as Sean Rogg’s immersive experience The Waldorf Project, stage productions (Wound, Für Eli), 360 films (The Night Opera, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg video for Google Arts & Culture) and short films (Kai, Bysju promo, Chasing Mirror by Padre ft Jova music video).

Twitter / Instagram: @AoiEsteban


WHIST Credits

Artistic Directors: Technology Partner: Composers:

Production Designer: 3D Sound Designer: Dramaturg: Performers:

Creative Mentor: Management Mentor:

Esteban Fourmi and Aoi Nakamura (AΦE) Happy Finish
Jozef Van Wissem
Scott Gibbons

James Shaw
Oliver Kadel (1.618Digital) Amanda Fromell
Robert Hayden
Tomislav English Yen-Ching Lin
Nina Brown
Steve Rimmer

JiaXuan Hon (Blackwinged Creatives) Jasmin Vardimon
Ian Ross


Co-produced by Gulbenkian Canterbury and tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Special thanks to Ashford Borough Council, Daniel Cheetham, Scott White, South East Dance, Watermans Arts Centre, Ashford Youth Theatre, Jasmin Vardimon Company, Kent Wool Growers, and Freud Museum.


Age guidance: 16 years and above
Warning: Contains partial nudity and sexual reference


World Premiere of WHIST.

Ticket booking here.

Earlier Event: March 16
WHIST Tryout
Later Event: April 22
WHIST Tryout