EMPACT - ЕMPACT Project: Socially Engaged Art Intervention

The Nature Outside and Inside Me (A theatrical performance – Social action)

By the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts “Kr.Sarafov”

In collaboration with Dance & Art Company “SOFISTIK-JIVO” and “Unseen Theatre”
Author and Project Lead: prof. Velimir Velev Artistic directors of Dance and Art Company "SOFISTIK-JIVO": Elina Topalska and Nikoleta Ilcheva


This action is a performative form of artistic expression that seeks direct impact and provocation by involving directly the audience or random people in what is happening. The artistic action is a short-term behavioral intervention in the public space. With it, the artists try to make direct contact with the attendees by involving them in an unusual situation.

Genre: It is based on mixing several genres:

– Site-specific (art created for the place itself outside the theater stage);

– Immersive (theater with immersion and involvement of the audience in the action and experience);

– Performative action.

The performance is an interdisciplinary form of artistic expression that could bring together the means of expression of all arts in any combination. There are no restrictions on duration and places of realization. The only constant is the living presence of the artist, at the basis of which are placed the expressive possibilities of the body and behavior in natural or intentional situations. The simplest definition we can provide is: presenting an idea through a live public performance.


On a music background, two blind actors enter the crosswalk to cross it, but in the middle seem to get confused about the direction. At that time, starting from one sidewalk, eight sighted performers «afforest» the pedestrian path with trees on stands, and within 5-7 seconds, the path turns into a grove. The blind find themselves among «Nature», they hear the buzzing of bees, the chirping of birds, the sound of a river. The sighted performers are part of it, as mythological forest creatures (elves and fairies), in the next 5-7 seconds the actors act out their interactions/studies in this «natural» environment, around the blind. For the last 5-7 seconds of time, they clear the crosswalk by moving the trees to the other sidewalk. The blind actors follow the «forest» on the sidewalk. The action moves to the sidewalk for about 2.5 minutes, then returns to the sidewalk and then moves to the other sidewalk. In this way, all the time the Forest «moves» from one sidewalk through the pedestrian path and from there onto the other sidewalk and vice versa. In the time fragments between transitions, while on the sidewalks, the actors stop pedestrians who have to pass between the trees and invite them, if they are not in a hurry, to stay until the end of the performance and then plant a tree in a nearby park.

After the action, the actors together with willing passers-by go on a procession, in which the trees constantly move, «creeping» along the road to the park. There are trees prepared for planting. Holes are dug in the places provided for the purpose and set. The entire action is filmed and an option to broadcast live on the Web can be offered.


The idea is an artistic way of empathically immersive involvement of society – it is like an artistic and aesthetic shock, which aims to awaken, to take the modern person out of the context of the automated dynamic everyday life, by transforming the everyday urban environment into an artistic one, by turning the usual a daily route in an unreal secondary aesthetic time-space.

This idea carries out information on two semantic and symbolic levels, which are part of the essence of the Project – the relationship between Human-Nature and Human-Human:

First: The human as a biological individual is not just a part of the Nature of the Earth. He is the very Nature that is within him. Despite the changes in human consciousness in the Information Society, the person must realize that the Information Society itself could not exist without the global ecosystem called «Nature on Planet Earth». Its preservation is paramount to the survival of mankind. To preserve it, a change in the relationship between Humans and Nature is necessary. Restoring the relationship of mutuality, care and support. From one-way, consumerism, it must turn into dialogue, into unity.

Second (but not in importance): The relationship between Humans in society. The need for a change in the relationship between people is identical to the aforementioned relationship between Man and Nature – the relationship of mutuality, care and support. Relationship – dialogue and unity.

Place of the performance: Crossroads in the center of Sofia (ul. G.S.Rakovski / ul.Gurko) with a traffic flow and pedestrian crossings. The play is performed on the footpath and its two adjacent sidewalks.

Performance date: October 20, 2023, 15.00-17.00h.

Performance time:  On three consecutive days in October 2023, 30 minutes each. The performative action takes place on the sidewalk and on the footpath itself between them. On the crosswalk, this happens in 15-21 second chunks, the natural length of crosswalks, with pauses of about 160 seconds in between. This makes ten 3-minute sessions.


  • Dance and Art Company «SOFISTIK-JIVO»
  • Blind actor/s from the Unseen Theater (the world’s first theatre company of blind artists in the field of Visual Performing Arts, without the use of sight– Shadow Theater, Marionettes, Black Box, Visual Impressions).


  • To provoke public attitude towards environmental issues, especially deforestation.
  • To help promote the human-nature relationship.
  • To awaken public empathy towards people from social groups with special needs: blind/.
  • To engage public attention to the focus and objectives of the EMPACT project.
  • Broadcast the creative intervention in real-time and film short parts to be used for the EMPACT project.

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Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.