A labyrinth is distinct from a maze in that it is a single path (with no deads ends) that leads into the centre, the most famous example being the one laid into the floor of Chartres Cathedral.
Alongside my acting work, I have for some years been creating, designing and making labyrinths in a variety of settings. From vast mown paths for English Heritage on Holy Island (pictured) to octagonal labyrinths made from rope or masking tape (York Minster), my fascination with these paths began while working as Associate Director with North Country Theatre where, along with Director Nobby Dimon, we experimented with a rough mown path for the Richmond Walking Festival.
Often used as a contemplative tool within monasteries, labyrinths are enjoying something of a resurgence in churches, stately homes, monastic ruins and public spaces. The visual impact is quite stunning – either as a piece of art itself or as a moving image as others walk round; often the draw of just following a path to its logical end is inviting to the casual passer by and irresistible to a family who are looking for something to do.
“…a brilliant and engaging performer, audiences have always given excellent feedback….a pleasure to work with – hard working, collaborative, highly-motivated, endlessly creative and fun!”
Sheridan Piggott York Walk/Cycle Festival
On many occasions the labyrinth is manned by actor/facilitators dressed as monks or other appropriate characters, who may also sing, play music, quote from readings or talk to visitors about labyrinths in myth, religion and mysticism. When not manned, people can still engage (children love running round them!) so that the labyrinth has a double attraction – an ecclesiastical/meditative quality and a fun/playful activity.