Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre is transformed into a Proustian fin de siècle Paris salon

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The Independent Culture

It's for anyone who's interested in the future," says Stewart Laing of his immersive experiment The Salon Project. So why does the project hark back to the past, and why will the Traverse Theatre be transformed into a Proustian fin de siècle Paris salon and the audience required to wear pre-supplied period dress? "It pulls in different directions and I'm quite comfortable with that," he says. "I didn't want to create a heritage project, something you could do in a National Trust location."

Director Laing describes the piece as "a group of people getting together to have a conversation". In adopting the personae of 19th-century salon-goers, the audience's reaction to and engagement with proceedings is as much a part of the performance. It will begin in the dressing room and move into the mirrored main theatre space, where a variety of academic guest speakers from London, Stock-holm, Iceland and elsewhere will hold forth on modern subjects such as astrophysics, architecture and economics. The Salon Project promises an experience that is less local and more international.

'The Salon Project', Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh ( www.traverse.co.uk) 10 to 22 October (even dates only)