The Valley of Astonishment

“A wonder-struck contemplation of the enigma of the human mind. Uses a small cast of vibrant actors to create a gallery of exceptional lives.” - New York Times

“★★★★ The acting is precise, patient and measured. Kathryn Hunter is always fascinating…” - Time Out New York

“★★★★ A fascinating exploration of the human mind from Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne.” - Financial Times

“Intriguing and lyrical.” - New York Daily News

“Well-crafted and smart.” - New York Post

“All of the actors' performances are genial, bighearted, and memorable.” - TheaterMania

US Premiere
C.I.C.T. / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord’s


Written and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne
Featuring Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, and Jared McNeill

September 14 – October 5, 2014
Three Weeks Only!

“As we explore the mountains and the valleys of the brain we will reach the valley of astonishment.”

Imagine a world where every sound has a color. Where every color has a taste. Where the number 8 is a fat lady. This breathtaking new play explores the fascinating experiences of real people who see the world in a radically different light.

The Valley of Astonishment is a kaleidoscopic journey into the mysteries and wonders of the human brain, inspired by years of neurological research, true stories, and Farid Attar’s epic mystical poem “The Conference of the Birds.”

Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne return to TFANA after Fragments and their international hits The Suit and A Magic Flute, with a company featuring Kathryn Hunter (A Midsummer Night’s DreamKafka’s Monkey), Marcello Magni (Fragments), and Jared McNeill (The Suit at BAM).

Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Running time: 80 minutes.


Peter Brook has been creating work for theatre, opera, and film for over 50 years. During the run of The Valley of Astonishment, written and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, Theatre for a New Audience will honor Mr. Brook’s achievements with “Celebrating Peter Brook,” a series of events designed to explore the life of his work.

CLICK HERE to learn more about these events, including film screenings; a TFANA Talk with Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne, and the cast of The Valley of Astonishment; and books and films for purchase.

Co-Producers: Theatre for a New Audience, New York; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

Associated Co-Producers: Théâtre d’Arras / Tandem Arras-Douai; Théâtre du Gymnase, Marseille; Warwick Arts Center; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Attiki Cultural Society, Athènes; Musikfest Bremen; Théâtre Forum Meyrin, Genève; C.I.R.T.; Young Vic Theatre, London.

This production is made possible, in part, by support from The National Endowment for the Arts.


Pictured above (left to right): Peter Brook, photo by Colm Hogan; and Marie-Hélène Estienne, photo by Álvaro García.