If going to the theatre for you still means sitting quietly in a darkened auditorium, it’s time to think again. Immersive theatre puts its audiences firmly in the middle of the action, allowing you to lose yourself in a different world. With elaborate and sprawling sets and characters who may well interact with you, you can expect to become part of the action. The great news is London is a world hub for this genre, so here’s some of productions we’re most excited about.
Alice’s Adventures Underground
In the Vaults underneath Waterloo Station there is a portal to another world. Wonderland, in fact. Audience members are taken on a tour of this alternative universe, meeting some of its inhabitants, attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party and joining the resistance against the Queen of Hearts. Your route through Wonderland is influenced by some choices you make in the course of the show, and the scale and beauty of the set is mind boggling. The company produce a separate children’s version but don’t make the mistake of thinking this show is just for kids; this is for anyone who could do with some escapism in their lives. It’s not the cheapest show, but you won’t regret a penny.
Alice’s Adventures Underground runs 15 April 2017 – 23 September 2017, at the Vaults, London, tickets from £54. Find out more here.
Photo credit: Jason Joyce
Montagues and Capulets - The Immersive Story
‘Fair Verona’ is a distant memory in this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, set in a nineties warehouse squat. Audience members become a Montague or a Capulet and find themselves immersed in the nineties rave scene, with their actions having a bearing on the story. Who knows what Will would make of it all, but we like to think he’d pull on some double denim and enjoy it with the rest of us. Nineties dress and comfortable footwear are recommended.
Montagues and Capulets – The Immersive Story runs until 27 April 2017 at The CoLab Factory, 74 Long Lane, London, SE1 4AU. Tickets are £19.50. Find out more here.
Adventures in Moominland
We all remember the slightly surreal hippo-esque Moomins of Moominvalley from our childhoods. Now kids of all ages can discover them afresh in this immersive show at the Southbank Centre. You’ll be strolling, scurrying and crawling through some beautiful sets, with hidden passages and the accompanying jazz score adding to the whimsical feel. They also offer British sign language interpreted shows, relaxed performances and adults only sessions.
Adventures in Moominland runs until 20 August 2017 at the Sountbank Centre, tickets are from £12. Find out more here.
Photo credit: Moomin characters
The Great Gatsby
It’s the roaring twenties, the height of the Jazz Age. Cocktails and glamour and conversation and flirtation abound. You’re at one of Gatsby’s parties. Among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars, the host mixes with his guests, but goes mostly unnoticed and unacknowledged. This production received great reviews during its run at The Vault Festival, and the good news is it’s now transferred to a secret central London location. Expect Charleston lessons, hedonism and lots of nice frocks; themed dressing is encouraged.
The Great Gatsby runs 30 May 2017 – 30 July 2017 at a secret location in Central London. Tickets are £30.40. Find out more here.
Hansel & Gretel and the Witch Baba Yaga
If we’re honest, the promise of a life size edible gingerbread house sold us on this one. Audience members will be led through the grounds of St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, following Hansel and Gretel in their quest to escape from the evil witch who lives, in said house, deep in the forest. Like all the best fairy tales, it’s a dark story, involving kidnap and cannibalism. It’s sure to engage kids, and grown ups seeking an adventure over the summer holidays.
Hansel & Gretel and The Witch Baba Yaga runs 3 August 2017 – 3 September 2017 at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden. Tickets are £18 with concessions available. Find out more here.