Psychedelic ‘amazement park’ prepares to open in Bristol

Visitors to Wake The Tiger enter the parallel world of Meridia – a maze of rooms and tunnels exploring humanity’s relationship with the environment.

28 July 2022

An immersive art experience issuing a call to arms to protect and restore the natural world is set to open in Bristol this weekend.

Wake The Tiger, from the creators of music festival Boomtown, occupies a former warehouse in the industrial neighbourhood of St Philip’s and styles itself as the first-ever “amazement park”.

It takes the public on a journey through the parallel universe of Meridia, which is flooded with a constant stream of junk from our own world.

Like us, the Meridians are facing the looming spectre of climate change but, unlike us, are living in harmony with their forests, soil, water and climate.

The story begins on a dismal housing development promising luxury living, where the only truly living thing is a solitary tree.

Visitors are then sucked into Meridia’s labyrinthine network of tunnels and dens, where thousands of knick-knacks line the walls as inhabitants try to make sense of the tat flowing in from Planet Earth.

The route passes through the “mycelium room”, the dense network of fungal threads vital to soil health and almost all plant life, before entering glades dense with huge, psychedelic flowers.

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The mycelium room in the Wake The Tiger ‘amazement park’ which is gearing up to open in Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

Twenty-seven different spaces branch off from the path, including dark forests, ice caves, and an eerie underwater world, populated by nightmarish mermaids and clogged with plastic.

The attraction is dotted with chambers and workshops belonging to the never-seen Meridians, which are full of levers and buttons that trigger a host of animatronic surprises.

The intense visual experience is accompanied by a dense soundscape, where the cacophony of a healthy ecosystem is interspersed with the sound of ticking clocks and clicking machinery.

Wake The Tiger’s creators said the driving force behind the idea was to inspire people to reconnect with their environment and the community.

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Visitors to Wake The Tiger are pulled into a parallel world (Ben Birchall/PA)

They said they aimed to create an experience of “creativity, discovery and play” which mixes lessons in science with spiritual messages about the planet.

More than 100 installation artists, robotic experts, costume-makers, architects, videographers and prop-makers collaborated to make the fantasy landscape.

Lak Mitchell, the project’s creative director, said: “Wake The Tiger is an abandoned time capsule of fantastical experiences just waiting to be discovered.

“It will invite you to explore connections with the environment around you as well as challenge you to transform the world we all live in.”

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A woman stands in a mirror room in the fantasy world of Meridia (Ben Birchall/PA)

He added: “This is a vision that plays into and expands on everything we have spent our lives building, taking raw underground art and fusing it with the latest technology.

“We can’t wait for guests to explore what we have created in the heart of Bristol.”

– Wake The Tiger is due to open on Saturday July 30.

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