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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Things We Don't Know on stage in Berlin

The Sophiensæle, Berlin - former meeting place of the German Communist Party, and now a theatre, is probably not the sort of place you expect to find a group of entrepreneurs explaining their new business ideas. And yet earlier this week, that is exactly what happened.

Sophiensaele, Berlin
Sophiensæle, Berlin
When I received an email from Thom Reinhard via the Hub, it immediately leapt out at me as something special. A business school graduate turned artist, Thom was looking to combine the worlds of business and art with his partner Monica Truong. Specifically, they wanted to put social enterprise on the stage.

You probably know Things We Don't Know is a social enterprise. What may not be obvious is that in order for us to focus on explaining science well, we have to pay a lot of attention to aesthetics, design, language, imagery... in other words, art. 

Their concept was quite straightforward - they wanted to conduct an experiment. "What happens if you take an entrepreneur looking for funding, have their pitch rewritten by a team of artists, get a professional actor to train them and put them on the stage?" The result is the theatre performance "Invest In Me!", part of the Freischwimmer international arts festival, now touring Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The opportunity to connect with "non-traditional" science audiences was too good to miss. When I contacted Thom and Monica, they were immediately as excited about what we're doing as we were about them, and in August we announced that we would be joining their project.

A few short but very intensive months later, Tuesday evening was the show's première where we had a very warm reception from the audience. I can't say too much about the show itself without giving away surprises for our future performances, but it was great to connect with people from both the art and business worlds, and hear their feedback and perception of what we're doing. I will say that we have three very unique social entrepreneurs, with very different concepts and equally unique performance styles.  It was particularly interesting to hear one person describe our concept as creating the first "uncyclopedia", we hadn't really looked at it like that!

The "Invest In Me!" stage setting
Setting up the "Invest In Me!" stage

For anybody who saw us on stage and is now reading the site, thank you for your support! Next stop: Vienna.