The New Forest

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More real than life

More real than life

The New Forest is a platform for social change. The New Forest depicts this transition and casts an eye on tomorrow’s society. The New Forest is a growing cooperation between actors’ group Wunderbaum and numerous partners, volunteers and spectators. The New Forest consists of theatre performances, seminars, a film project, context programmes and online content. The New Forest is more real than life.

The New Forest is a four-year project (from the beginning of 2013 until the end of 2016) with which we, actors’ group Wunderbaum, focus on the phenomenon ‘transition’. Transition is a collective term for all sorts of great social, economic and political changes that take place in our current ‘society-in-crisis’. Transition is the denominator for numerous initiatives by innovative thinkers and doers in a great diversity of social issues. We bring them all together under the foliage of The New Forest and we offer them a stage for their ideas, providing theatre performances, seminars, a film project, context programmes and online content.

In other words, The New Forest is a cooperation between all these social innovators. In the course of these four years, the group will grow; by now it consists of partners from the business community, the advertising sector, politics and education, but also of a large group of volunteers and critical, involved spectators. Together we are building The New Forest.

The New Forest is a mobile project without any clear-cut ultimate goal. It is neither a utopia, nor a dystopia but – according to sociologist Willem Schinkel – a heterotopia: a place from which the world can be observed in a different way. The New Forest moves just as easily between fiction and reality, because is there actually any difference between these two? The New Forest is about the process of changing, and is in itself continuously susceptible to change too. At first we thought that we had to formulate ready-made answers about what the new society should look like. We have abandoned that idea, as these sorts of answers will always be incomplete and incorrect.

From now on, we will thematise the transition towards that new society, and the complex processes that go hand in hand with such huge changes. This approach works, also towards the audience, as became apparent during our performance The Coming of Xia (2013). As theatre makers, we are much better equipped to provide a platform for social changes, than to generate easily manageable – and therefore always incomplete – answers. In our upcoming projects, even more than before, we will follow well-known and less well-known transition thinkers and doers. We want to support them by offering them a stage, both literally and figuratively. Because after one-and-a-half years of The New Forest (dd April 2014), a beautiful form of reciprocity has come to life: the social innovators provide us with inspiration, and we offer them – and our audience – imagination.