The Atrium is the space at which all our threads collide. The flagship, the beating heart, resplendent beneath a giant canopy in a rolling valley, The Atrium sits at the very centre of the show. This is the place you turn up with the whole ragtag, multi-generational family and everyone will love the craziness you find – though you can never predict what that will be.
You may witness some of the finest correspondence ever written performed by the greatest actors of our time. (Perhaps you were part of the Letters Live crowd that sang Benedict Cumberbatch Happy Birthday? Or cheered on as Olivia Colman told jokes?)
The dancefloor may be peopled with yogis engaged in morning chant or a raucous Bollywood dance workshop. Or a world record attempt at the largest Spooning Cuddle. You might happen upon a Strictly-style Dance Off, opponents in tutus shimmering in the breeze.
You may find yourself singing soprano in The Choir alongside a symphony orchestra in a hundreds-strong harmonic celebration. Or amidst a late-night, hands-high jazz jam with scene-leading musicians. You could potentially come round on stage with a mic in your hand and your favourite rap song belting surprisingly out of your mouth at Hip Hop Karaoke while the crowd goes wild. Mass moments of joy meet pin-drop silence and awe.
The stage has come to represent everything wonderful about Wilderness itself. And the lessons gleaned from what occurs here have wider meaning. Collaboration is everything. Together is better. Life’s more fun if you get involved. Sing loud. If in doubt – dance.
Ronnie Scott’s has become a fixture, bringing an annual jazz legend to recreate their trademark smoked-out jazz atmospherics. The Wilderness Choir always perform here. It plays host to world leaders in dance – returning favourite Sadler’s Wells and the newly established Rambert2 perform this year.
Home of the dinosaurs (who are also back this year…), the stage has developed its own traditions over the years. God’s Jukebox is an idea just one year old which has quickly become part of the fabric of Wilderness. You request the songs that have backtracked the most monumental moments in your life. The orchestra plays them. Everyone cries. It’s communal joy so potent the air crackles.
For The Atrium, in all its multifaceted glory, is simply about the audience. It’s all about YOU. It’s the place where you actually have some control over the entertainment. You get to be part of the show. You make the magic.
Formerly The Bandstand and The Wilderness Stage, The Atrium has grown up to become the capital. It’s an assembly of the wonderfully weird and ecstatically great. It’s a celebration of our people and everything we love. Song, dance, music, silliness – and it boasts a house band which just happens to be a 47-piece Symphony Orchestra.
Everyone’s invited. Come and join the fray…