The Rooms is a three-day festival showing off the amazing interactive inventions of REACT – the creative economy hub for the South West & Wales – who has made it its job to change and brighten your world.

“We will be showcasing 53 products and experiences that aim to change the way we imagine our world”


REACT, which has one of its bases in The Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, invests in collaboration, cultural experimentation and creative innovation between university researchers and creative businesses, supporting them to make new kinds of digital products and experiences. And now it’s made over 50 of them, it’s ready to show them off!

To do that it is taking over the Old Firestation, Magistrates Courts and Police Station in Bristol City Centre from the 5-7 November. Visitors will be able to experience and interact with battling robots, play with fabulous beasts, dance with a digital Elvis and explore an interactive light garden, haunted study and enchanted library.

“REACT are thrilled to be able to share with the public some of the amazing talent from the South West region and beyond”


React-the-Rooms_CellsRooms Creative Producer, Katherine Jewkes, says: “REACT are thrilled to be able to open the doors to The Rooms and share with the public some of the amazing talent from the South West region and beyond. Across the festival we will be showcasing 53 products and experiences that aim to change the way we imagine our world, alongside the brilliant makers and thinkers who brought these ideas to life.”

She adds: “We’re very excited to be working with a design team whose collective previous experience spans Shangri-la, National Theatre Wales and the Cultural Olympiad to create The Rooms installations which the REACT projects will live within, and help audiences to see this amazing site in a completely new way.”

House parties and film screenings

As well as the interactive experiences, there will also be a programme of free talks, workshops, film screenings and house parties. The Rooms, and the experiences they offer the adventurous visitor, are listed below:

Enter an enchanted garden and play on Lightbug, a swing, which lights up the sky with its movements.

1000 heartbeats in the dark is a maze game that uses a player’s own bio-data as a game controller. The Black Maze is based on an idea developed during the REACT Books and Print project Hyde by Simon Evans, Simon Johnson and Anthony Mandal.

Uncover the future of the book, where technology means more than e-books and self-publishing. How is the way that we read, write and experience literature changing? Meet those at the forefront of this including Volume of Circumstance and Writer on the Train, James Attlee.

Experience the work of Arthur Buxton in an exhibition exploring how colour might tell the story of your life.

A room taking its name from the Welsh word for cuddle, where Mayfly invites you to listen more closely to your life with their sound journal.

Watch the Editor at work at our live content news desk, his team will compile the story of The Rooms as it happens, you might even get an assignment.

Breathing Stone_Adaptive MediaBREATHING ROOM
Get away from it all in this peaceful space for quiet contemplation, hold a Breathing Stone and relax as an original composition grows and changes with your heart rate.

A room of curious objects and animated artefacts which offer adventurous ways to experience the world. Meet those at the cutting edge of heritage interpretation, including Splash + Ripple, yellobrick and Aerian Studios.

Examine your own desires and imagine how experiencing them might be different if we were able to craft our own Intimate Objects.

Connect with someone just out of reach through the tactile power of InTouch.

react-the-rooms-bristolWAITING ROOM
Bear witness to the testimonies of some of the 300,000 women and 20,000 men who were sterilised in Peru in the mid-1990s, often without their full consent. Quipu’s unique approach to documentary has collected and shared these stories, never heard before.

Consider the future of death and dying and contribute our wall of remembrance with our Professor of Death Studies.

Spend some time in Bristol Old Vic, re-imagined here through the recorded memories of its players, audiences and backstage team.

Experiment with a series of intimate installations, each in its own Victorian police cell. Be chased by Oculus Rift zombies, find out how risky you are and get familiar with the world’s most boring element.

The-rooms-Fabulous-Beasts_Sensible-ObjectCome out to play in a yard of fun, complete with tepee, Wendy house and an ever expending den network. Children, big and small, can play games, tell stories and watch films in ways that they never have before. Fabulous Beasts, Reach Robotics and trove will be among the ground-breaking companies and products featured.

Unfussy food and drink in a warm, friendly environment. Explore all of the REACT projects in The REACT Jukebox a new commission from Stand + Stare.

A warm and cosy place to discuss and reflect on what you have seen, that becomes a cinema space on Friday to watch Orion: The Man Who Would Be King and party the night away with Elvis.

You can keep up to date with all the creative goings on at The Rooms website or by following @reacthub on Twitter.