Welcome to St. Theodora’s College
The year is 1986 but in some places, it is as if time has stood still. At St. Theodora’s College in Poland, hand-picked students experience a place of academic excellence, pressure to perform, intense curriculums, as well as antique ideals and vestiges of old.
The official story, the facade that everyone upholds to the outside world, is that the school is a conservative college focused on personal development and academia, perfect for the children of powerful families. It teaches that it is through dedicated excellence that the enrolled students shape their future and their path ahead. The students are encouraged to engage in philosophy and ancient literature, in Latin and Greek, in architecture and art. They are also encouraged to have close and personal relations with the eccentric professors, hand-picked by the college board for their original and thought-provoking teaching methods. Only through these connections can the students find themselves and find a place in a world that has been placed at their feet.
But, there is another part of the college that no one speaks about in the open. The forbidden story, the one that everyone knows about but everyone keeps secret and hidden from the outside world, is a very different one.
St. Theodora’s College has always accepted exceptional students, regardless of if the rest of the world agreed with the College’s choices. Behind its walls, the rules are different, an existence kept from the outside world and its expectations. To attend the College is to have four years where students can find themselves and decide who they truly wish to be, no matter what the world outside dictates. Identities, sexualities and true passions are explored, hidden from the judging eyes of the world.
Every student and every professor at the college are also tied by invisible strings, both to each other and to the secretive organizations that unite them. Tight-knit mentor groups explore their own romances, friendships, limitations and potential together with their mentor professor or older students, creating life-long connections that will aid them going forward. Even more elusive are the societies, the secret groups that tie everyone together. Some are occult or spiritual, other historical or even decadently libertine in nature.
St. Theodora’s College is a place of contrasts, where students can strive to reach their potential, and make friendships for life, while also coming to terms with the darkness of reality both inside and outside the College’s sacred walls.
The Forbidden History: Eden Unmasked is a larp about an exclusive liberal arts college. It is about friendship, discovery, and the search for the sublime. Academic aspirations are mixed with secret societies and romances, and family expectations must contend with the search for a higher truth. It is inspired by Donna Tartt’s ”The Secret History” and will take place on the 15th of October to the 20th of October, 2024 at Czocha Castle in Poland.
It is organized by Linnéa Cecilia, Ann Christensen, Freja Gyldenstrøm, Mikolaj Wicher, Julia Woods and Atropos Studios. It is produced in a cooperation with LarpVenture.
Photos by: Nadina Dobrowolska
Here are some testimonials from the participants of The Forbidden History: Paradise Lost which ran in 2023.
The world of St. Theodora’s will change you as a person. It will teach you things about yourself and others that so few of us got to experience in our real lives at university. It will challenge you but also be there to help you grow. Atropos and the other organizers have made something truly magical in these darkly academic halls and I can’t wait to walk them again.
– Ericka Skirpan
A beautiful event that easily shifts from the academic search for Beauty and Truth to the secret passions and ties that bind us behind closed doors. The Forbidden History is a unique larp experience in atmosphere, design and play, which should capture the interest of anyone with a love for intense drama, complex relationships and simply geeking out over your favourite Romantic poet or most hated ancient Greek philosopher.
– Jimmy Raaijmakers
These times cry out for a place where people can follow their passions; The Forbidden History is that place. This world of twisted academics and youthful fantasies delivers what it promises: a chance to live life to the fullest, for good or ill, and it can potentially change your life.
This larp is one if those that leave you speechless, because you cant find the words to describe why it have such an impact. It’s magical, it’s art, and yet so very very mundane and normal. Its one of those larps that leaves you with the feeling of: my life is changed but I can’t really explain why.