Natasha Tsakos’ shows combine performance with cinematic techniques, music dynamics, and technology © Natasha Tsakos

3, 2, 1, showtime!
Is performance the perfect formula for communication?
1 Mar 2024

With many strings to her bow, Natasha Tsakos enjoys an international career as show maker, conceptual director, performer and producer. She combines her interest in important global topics with her passion for communication through the performing arts. 

Most of the world’s institutions are trying to share their sustainability efforts to contribute to a healthier planet. Conservative communication channels and styles are not convincing the younger generations – who are demanding concrete actions and results. Natasha found a formula to pass on these messages through performances that integrate dance, music and high-impact audiovisual components.

Natasha’s work spans a multitude of sectors, which she summarizes as existing “at the intersection of theatrical adventures, technology and impact. You could say I have the passion of a Greek, the precision of a Swiss and the soul of the Tropics. I fell in love with theater at five, produced my first play when I was a little taller, took film classes at twelve and went to study at a classical conservatory. But I wasn’t sold on conventional theater, I was excited about its potential.”

Today, her work fuses performance with cinematic techniques, music dynamics, and technology to make statements on the way we live in an utterly original language. The medium is fluid, ranging from multimedia theatrical adventures, immersive experiences, to art films. She elaborates saying, “I have created and performed for the G20 Summit, The Museum of Memory and Tolerance, Discovery Channel, Climate Reality Project, Tribeca Film Festival, The Super Bowl, Cirque du Soleil and frequently speak at events ranging from TED to the United Nations General Assembly, about the importance of the Arts and its convergence with technology to drive positive change.”

Her recent projects include Humanode, an Interactive Reality (IR) experience based on the Sustainable Development Goals, combining real-time data, gamification, blockchain and performance in ways that inspire audiences to generate impact at scale. Caraboom was awarded by the Knight Foundation, produced during the pandemic, and voted #1 Best Attraction of Miami in 2023. And OPUS 9 closed the Frontiers Forum Planet Prize Awards, as an homage to the Planetary Boundaries.

Multimedia shows are both informative and visually exciting © Natasha Tsakos

As such, she holds many titles and accolades such as: a United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Fellow, former Ambassador to the TwentyThirty UNSDSN Youth Project, a Singularity University Global Impact Competition Winner. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Florida, a certificate of completion from MIT New Space Economy, and a NASA Certificate of Training (her moonshot is to create shows for space environments!).

She confesses that her need to start bridging the gap between art and the message of sustainability “began with my grandfather, a devoted biologist who stopped his research to start the first Swiss Resistance Reseau during World War II. My grandfather imparted his love and respect for nature very early on. Fast forward to watching ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ which shook me and activated a deep sense of responsibility.”

“I’ve always regarded theater as one of the greatest vehicles for reflection and change. When else do you find yourself in a space with strangers, willfully suspended in a state of disbelief, engaged in an experience that provokes you to feel and probe the unknown.”

When asked about using art to communicate urgent messages, Natasha replied, “there is an often forgotten dimension to the creative process. It begins by asking ‘What do we want our audience to feel, and how do we want to transform them?’ Questions an advertising agency would ask. I apply the same framework to show making.”

She believes that she can use her creativity to have the most impact through “creating experiences that are shapeshifting, universal, driven by electronic dance beats and classical music, that feel as exciting as a video game and look as sharp as a movie. I believe in getting this generation excited and waking them up from a numb, content-dumb, saturated place. I believe that entertainment and technology combined can galvanize collective action and catalyze real change.”

Her main sources for gathering information to produce material and messages for her shows are “books, interviews, scientific reviews, good questions and music to pair with the research discovery! The subconscious ultimately converts all the information gathered into an emotional journey. If language is the operating system of society, art is the interface.”

Many in the same sector have dabbled into more corporate settings, and Natasha said she would love to work with cities where she could presentlive multimedia shows that translate dense data sets pertaining to topics such as education and climate action into mind-boggling adventures that move and inspire new behaviors. She explained she could “invite mayors on highly curated journeys to the stratosphere to discuss policy while in awe of our planet; produce community-centric experiences that scale joy and celebrate togetherness; create irresistible campaigns that aspire to our greatest human potential. There is a certain playfulness at the crossroads of substance and pop culture, and this is where you’ll find us.”

What show would she produce for the United Nations community and with which message? She said simply: “I would create an ambitious experience that elicits unity, deepens diplomacy, triggers catharsis, and causes paradigms to shift. When can we start?” 

* Julián Ginzo is a member of the Editorial Board of UN Today.
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