CAVE / Brunel Museum Grand Entrance Hall

CAVE is a site-specific performance based on Plato’s allegory. It features 20th-century works for ensemble and vocals based on texts by Plato, Erik Satie’s Socrate and Louis Andriessen’s De Staat, performed in the first watertight underground structure, the Brunel Grand Entrance Hall.

The site is the world’s first caisson and functioned as the entrance hall to the first underwater tunnel in the world, the Thames Tunnel. When it opened in 1843 it boasted a million visitors in the first three months. After being sealed off to the public for 150 years, the space was made accessible to the public by TATE HARMER, reopening in 2014. Now a performance and gallery space, the chamber is half the size of Shakespeare’s Globe.

Production design for CAVE was directly inspired by the story of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. It featured silhouetted vocalists on stair platforms, a revolving shadow play with model trains with LED’s rigged to them, and a ring of red LED lights lining the smoke blackened walls – encircling the performers and audience – timed to music cues.

CAVE is the first site-specific performance collectively orchestrated by production and lighting designer Laura Hilliard, music director Eli Brown, and visual artist Sam Schanwald. Together they believe that space and light need to be intentional factors in the overall presentation of musical concerts. Harnessing the creative potential of scenic design, architecture, and light, they seek to create more accessible, immediate, and visceral meetings of performer and audience through placing unusual music in unusual spaces.

Country/Region London, United Kingdom

Designer Elias Brown and Laura Hilliard (USA)

Project Collaborators
Music Director: Eli Brown
Producer / Production and Lighting Designer: Laura Hilliard
Associate Designer / Visual Artist: Sam Schanwald
Robert Hulse: Museum Director
Documentarian:  Yuta Koga

Video Collaborators
Image Directed/Captured/Editied: Laura Hilliard
Sound Directed/Captured/Editied: Elias Brown
Additional Videography: Yuta Koga
Graphic Design: Sam Schanwald

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Designer Contact