Delightful. Intriguing. Resonant.
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@ A E Harris, 1st - 19th March, 18.30 & 20.30 (running time 70min)
(no perfs. Sundays or Mondays)

The Black Maze is an adventure in the dark for one person at a time.

It is a five minute journey into the darkness of your own imagination.

It doesn't look very big from the outside, but once you dare to enter you find yourself in seemingly never ending narrow, black twisting corridors.

You feel your way through the dark, you hear you heart beat echoing all around and you catch glimpses of your frightened face staring back at you from the gloom.

Your feet feel unsteady beneath you but you must keep going and never turn back, keep going until you see the stars.

The Black Maze was commissioned by Alan James for Birmingham City Council's Revolution event, which took place on 2nd & 3rd January 2000, part of the city's Forward Festival. It was designed and built by Stan's Cafe in collaboration with Mark Anderson from the Multi-Media Co-operative Blissbody. Customised electronics were built to Mark's specification by the excellent Graham Calvert, also of Blissbody. Special optical effects were kindly supplied by P.A.Lights. From initial discussions through to completion the maze took six weeks to build. It contains nine speakers, four microphones, a video camera, four sampler boxes, what seems like miles of cable and a host of secrets.

The Black Maze used to be flat packed but is now built into the back of a 7.5 tonne lorry and so is now entirely self contained and ready to go.

It has been incredibly popular wherever it has been - it has toured villages on the outskirts of Paris, it has been in a shopping centre in Ireland, the middle of a field in Berkshire, a pub beer garden in Devon, the seafront in Bexhill on sea to name but a few.

It was decommissioned late in 2010.

No video available - yet.

Designed and built by
Mark Anderson, Craig Stephens and James Yarker

Custom electronics Graham Calvert

The Black Maze was commissioned by Alan James for Revolution, part of Birmingham City Council's Forward Festival.
The lorry conversion was made possible by an Arts Council England Touring Grant.

With Thanks To:
Paul Arvidson & P.A. Lights
Parcel Force and Cadbury World each for giving us parking space for a number of years.
John Sloyan of A E Harris & Co. (Birmingham) Ltd. for giving us parking space in the final years.
Phil Collier for dealing with the implications of John's kindness.
Graham Clavert for his on going PAT testing help.

With No Thanks At All To: Whoever stole our batteries whilst it was parked at Cadbury World.

"Imagine a whole lifetime's worth of exhilaration and confusion condensed into five minutes and you have some idea of what The Black Maze is like. It offers the same breathtaking thrills and choking excitement as a good ghost train but in a subtler form and with more of your own involvement ...."
Nicholas Royle - The Independent On Sunday

"It was an exhilarating experience pushing forward through the darkness. It seemed to be a metaphor of life, going into the void, yet emerging into the light after a successful journey."
Irene (Audience Member)

"A wonderful experience of the excitement associated with fear, darkness and the unknown"
Anon Audience Member

"An outstanding example of how to trust ones touch, the importance of our hearts, while also struggling to form a sense of direction."
Anon Audience Member

"The transition of physical space to imagined space, reminiscent of many aspects of life today."
Anon Audience Member

Unfortunately you are too late to buy The Black Maze, it was sold to someone more interested in lorries than mazes. It exists now merely as memories and photographs.

I came across The Black Maze in Budapest when I went to the dentist there. It was brilliant and so unexpected, I wandered by chance to the truck in the street and watched people come out a little door in the back one by one, visibly affected by their experience. I had no idea what was inside, people were waiting to go in, it was very mysterious. Each person had to pass through the installation alone. It was like a mad dream inside, with the walls squeezing you and ethereal sounds being triggered by your movements, doors into different fractured dimensions, hidden doors, and clever manipulations of our normal senses. Altogether a top class show. Thanks.
Sarah Lovett

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