In collaboration with the Theatre Royal Stratford East, artists Suzanne Kersten, Clair Korobacz, Paul Moir & Julian Rickert of ‘One Step At A Time Like This’ have brought their unique creation, ‘En Route‘, to the mean streets of Stratford for the next month.
Part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, ‘En route’, is an meticulously planned personal tour where participants get to explore both the physical and emotional landscape of Stratford. Equipped with just a pair of headphones, an iPod and a phone, after a brief pep-talk with one of the organisers the journey starts down a non-descript alley leading away from the high street. For the next ninety minutes ‘En route’ takes you across bridges and through alleways, up on rooftops and down in basements, all accompanied by the music and sounds of the local area. Clues for continuing the journey come in the form of physical signs, texts, audio messages and even a ‘dead drop’ or two along the way.
Expect to be emotionally challenged ‘en route’ – one moment you will feel absolutely invisible but in the next you will feel incredibly exposed. One particular encounter will see you examining your deepest regrets and another will have you putting yourself into the shoes of passers-by. I found the experience deeply profound, but I don’t want to reveal too much about what is involved because I think its best to come at this fresh, with no preconceptions. Enter into the ‘En route’ experience with a completely open mind and you’ll get the maximum benefit from it.
‘En route‘ runs from central Stratford until 21 July, with the experience starting at 10am, 1pm and 4pm on most days. Tickets are £15 for solo travellers, £24 for two people and £30 for three. Make sure to wear some stout footwear, something waterproof if it looks like rain, and do take along some cash just in case you need to stop along the way for a bottle of water or to grab a coffee (I regretted not doing this!). Also bear in mind that ‘En route’ has been organised with a safety net in place if you get lost or find yourself in difficulties along the way – I started to take the wrong path at one point and someone was at my shoulder immediately to guide me back onto the straight and narrow, so it obviously works.
I highly recommend going ‘En route’ – I made new discoveries throughout my hour and a half journey even though I’m very local. If you’re unfamiliar with this part of London no doubt you’ll get even more out of it than I did…