Darkroom, a show for one person in complete darkness, performed for COP26.

Photo credit : Janine Everitt
Our next adventure is to perform Darkroom at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023.

Darkroom will be performed over 100 times at Edinburgh Fringe in Summerhall. Tickets on sale soon.

Darkroom has had 3 iterations. Dec 2020 in our house, Sept 2021 Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Nov 2021 Listen Gallery Glasgow for COP26.

Darkroom has been performed 170 times to individual audience members including over 40 Climate Scientists and COP26 delegates. An important and arresting sound and senses show to connect us with the climate crisis.

“Virtual reality for the ears” COP26 audience member, Nov 2021

“Thank you for taking me from my head into my body” COP26 Delegate, Nov 2021

” Like I’d been given a shot to wake up my senses” audience member Darkroom: Listen In, Dec 2020

Darkroom is a live performance from critically acclaimed KlangHaus Collective, who have performed multiple times at Edinburgh’s Summerhall and London’s Southbank Centre. A multi-artform performance, blending art, music and theatre. 

One show that truly delivers the shock of the new, the most innovative presentation of live music I’ve ever seen – a total game-changer’. Alex Needham, The Guardian

Darkroom is a solo audience performance show that is presented in complete darkness with a duration of approximately 10 minutes with an additional 5 minutes debrief with the artists.

It is a sound and senses installation that uses a range of speakers, sound sources and sensory equipment positioned around a room.

The soundtrack is curated from a wide range of musical genres, sound effects and natural sounds ranging from intense sea to contemporary choral music and from footsteps to rock guitar, spatialised live in real time. 

” We go to the darkness to see” Robert Macfarlane

The impact of the show:

Visual sensory deprivation allows deeper connection to the sound, a fast track to the nervous system, allowing a personal, deeply felt interior journey.

Our current research:

The presentation of the show Darkroom within the COP26 context, using the soundtrack, the pitch dark and solitude, could facilitate deep personal and emotional reflection, potentially enabling attitudinal shifts in relation to the climate crisis. 

Working with The Barn, Scotland, being part of their highly respected ‘Becoming Earthly’ Residency in 2020, we developed the questions stimulating our current research.

Darkroom was performed for climate scientists at Tyndall Centre for Climate Research September 6th-10th 2021 at UEA.

One by one we sat with the scientists post-show and they talked about how they felt and what, if any, impact there was . There was a resounding, ‘This must go to COP26’, Darkroom was performed for COP26 in Glasgow Nov 2021.

Comments from Tyndall Centre scientists…

‘Being alone in the dark invites you to imagine being alone with a complete climate breakdown – brings home the power of the natural world – the powerlessness of a single human being in the absence of society. Humans need society’ Catherine Rowett former Green MEP and Professor of Philosophy, School of Politics, UEA

I hoped I wouldnt be led down a particular path and I wasn’t‘.

It’s not didactic. The sound induced a kind of ecstatic paroxysm. There may be eco-driven social collapse, but… we can live and love through it all, and create what we humans call ‘light’. See you at COP26’ Dr Rupert Read Associate Professor, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies UEA.

If there is no glimmer of hope people won’t try. The debrief room is important, a collective way of learning’

The darkness helps you forget about yourself, takes you out of yourself.

Intense, profoundly emotional and affecting experience. It’s opening. It was refreshing, it wasn’t didactic. A context and opportunity to feel things. Professor Charlie Wilson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change in the Environmental Change Institute at the School of Geography and the Environment, Oriel College, Oxford.

Ideal Venue/Space

Gallery, empty shop, living room, free standing box in a foyer or next to the buffet table at COP26, shipping container, shed, university basement.

Technical Requirements

An ideal room is minimum 5m x 10m, it could be carpeted, irregular wall shapes are good for sound reflection, but not entirely necessary. Two-door access is good for show flow an entrance and an exit. A one-way system is also a good Covid-safe back-up.

A meet and greet space minimum 2m x 4m next to the performance room. Also connected or adjacent, a sound source room/area minimum 2m x 3m.

Ability to black–out the room. We will bring black-out materials, but early discussions with your team re attaching black-out are helpful.

We will need access to a good electricity supply, plenty of 13-amp sockets. The show has moments of very loud noise and silence. The room doesn’t have to be soundproof, noise leakage can be a teaser to the audience something to invite you in.

This is how we arrange booking for the show: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/darkroom-a-sound-and-senses-show-exploring-climate-chaos-for-

The Team:

Mark Howe – Musician – onsite host, meet and greet. Live guitar in the dark.

Karen Reilly – Musician, onsite safety inside the room and vocal appearance.

Jonathan Baker – Musician/sound designer – onsite live mixing of the sound piece.

We can perform 3 shows an hour.

Darkroom ; Listen In Dec 2020
Darkroom: Listen In Dec 2020 room reveal

Darkroom shows for Tyndall and COP26 were developed at Made At The Red House hosted by WILDPLUM ARTS and developed during the residency BECOMING EARTHLY hosted by The Barn, Aberdeenshire.

Darkroom Tyndall Centre UEA – September 2021 kindly supported by Tyndall Centre for Climate Research

Darkroom COP26 was kindly supported by Norwich Arts Centre and donations by friends, colleagues and supporters, we extend our huge thanks.


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