1000 Doors - Brisbane Festival

‘1000 Doors’ // Brisbane Festival

‘1000 Doors’ was eye-opening. 

Alexander Graham Bell once said that “when one door closes, another opens”; to spark hope in individuals to continue on their path towards success. In Brisbane Festival’s latest art installation, ‘1000 Doors’, this idea has been brought to life, and flipped on its head, in an interactive maze-like experience for eager and willing visitors. 

Designed by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who brought audiences last year’s Festival-hit ‘House of Mirrors’, their latest invention aims to launch guests into another realm. Essentially a warren of rooms, openings and chance interactions, ‘1000 Doors’ invites guests to explore its many spaces that weave and cross along corridors and hallways.

Inducing nostalgia with décor reminiscent of childhoods past, each space differs in size and furnishings, with varying entry and exit points. Every door-opening finds a new area ripe to be turned into one’s own imagined world. With each room dressed differently from the last, the maze forces audiences to explore using multiple senses. Especially as you pass through different rooms in varying states of disarray.

There are rooms with broken chairs, candles melted on a vanity desk, pictures ripped and scrunched on the ground, and flickering lights ready to scare the next visitor. Audiences hear thumps, gramophones turning out eerie old-fashioned music and other guests add to the atmosphere, chattering through the obstacles, passing one another.

‘1000 Doors’ has the ability to muddle up one’s reality with their own fantastical conjuring. Was that smell of mould real or imagined? Did that thump come from under the stairs? It’s almost like a ‘choose your own adventure’, where the audience is the key player making their own assumptions and drawing their own story of what happened in that room.

With inspiration clearly drawn from a Victorian-era vibe, each space transcends time periods and makes startling jumps between past and present. There’s a horror-styled theming to ‘1000 Doors’, particularly when encountering a fluorescent-lit hospital corridor that is crackling with electricity and was fashioned suggestively like something from ‘The Shining’. In other spaces, dim-lit lights created spooky dark rooms of the early 20th-century and even some doors lead to pure darkness.

The maze continues through what feels like an endless series of doors, entries and portals, with the many spaces still haunted by its past occupants. It’s a totally unique experience that will frighten some, intrigue others, and is sure to be an eye-opening night out for everyone.

‘1000 Doors’ is like the cool kid at this year’s Brisbane Festival party, and its long line-up easily reflects this popularity. While there is a wait time to enter the maze, (30 minutes at least), the maze is unique and provides some spooky fun for the whole family. It’s situated to the far right of the Arcadia precinct, and luckily the energy of nearby Festival activities will speed up the waiting time. The maze is also located next to drinks and food, live music and the Brisbane sign, which any little ones can climb over as a distraction from queuing.

In its own abandoned way, ‘1000 Doors’ welcomes guests to try something new but offputtingly familiar. It’s like Brisbane’s own version of a Halloween cornfield maze and is a wonderful combination of the creative arts and experiential theatre. 

While the waiting time may be longer than the time spent inside, visitors are encouraged to make the most (or least) out of their adventure. There’s plenty of cool nuances and hidden gems to explore within each room. Not to mention, the maze will also give you some pretty unique backdrops for those Instagram-worthy pics.  

‘1000 Doors’ opens until Saturday, 28 September 2019; with day and evening sessions available. For bookings, visit Brisbane Festival’s Website.

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