David Byrne’s 15,000-Square-Foot Immersive Experience titled Theater of the Mind, premiered at Denver’s Center for the Performing Arts, specifically at its experimental Off-Center space, former cannabis grow house in the Clayton neighborhood on August 31, 2022.
As Art News reports, it is a hands-on show, created in partnership with technology investor Mala Gaonkar. Byrne and Gaonkar collaborated on a similar project in 2016 at Pace Gallery’s Menlo Park location. Called Neurosociety, the experience contextualized brain research for the gallery setting.
Byrne told Rolling Stone that he chose to debut the show in Denver based on the center’s previous experience with immersive programming. “Not quite like this,” he said, “but they’ve cultivated an audience in Denver.”
Theater of the Mind guides small groups of attendees through sensory experiments demonstrating how negotiable consensual reality actually is.
Actors and actresses from the Denver Center’s stable play the guides who lead each group through “sensory experiments that reveal the inner mysteries of the brain,” inspired by actual stories from the lived experiences of Byrne and Gaonkar. They’ll engage sight, but also scent, touch, and sound.
Unlike Byrne’s zeitgeist Broadway show American Utopia, attendees at Theater of the Mind won’t really get to see the musician perform—unless they make it out for a live conversation between Byrne and leading neuroscientists moderated by Radiolab co-host Latif Nasser at the Denver Center on September 12.