Game thinking from Adam Clare

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Radio Programmes Talk About Immersive Theatre

In a 30 minute segment, BBC Radio 4 looked into the world of immersive theatre and came out alive. In It’s Fun, But Is It Theatre?, they explore what the world of immersive theatre holds and why it’s worth looking into.

If you’re new to the idea of immersive theatre it’s worth listening to, as well as checking out the links they have assembled to some of the more popular troupes creating immersive events. One of the theatre companies making immersive theatre has a great name: You Me Bum Bum Train.

Sarah Hemming, theatre critic for the Financial Times screws her courage to the sticking point and embarks on a series of theatrical experiences, to help you decide whether you too might enjoy this type of theatre trip: the sort that doesn’t involve a stage, a programme, an ice cream at the interval – oh, or a seat. Experiences can range from Lucien Bourjeily’s re- enactment of imprisonment in a Syrian detention centre – “we promise you will be released at the end” ,to a magical storytelling moment by a cosy library fireplace – but is it theatre?

Just think of the future when augmented reality and immersive theatre collide!

The CBC radio show Spark covered immersive theatre back in January. They have a firsthand account of what it’s like to go through Punchdrunk by Sleep No More.

It would’ve been great if they mentioned ZED.TO.

ZED.TO at Toronto Fringe Festival

I’ve been keeping a close eye on what the ZED.TO folks have been up to and their most recent event is something worth experiencing. It’s a theatrical performance that carries the story of ByoLogyc and the impending end of the world further along.

The performance is called Byologyc: Where You Become New and it is an immersive interactive piece of theatre that feels like a corporate event. ByoLogyc has a new product they want to promote, and they want you involved. If you’re in Toronto then I highly recommend going to see this!

The best description of what the play really is about is captured in this review at Mooney on Theatre.

ByoLogyc is not a play, it’s an experience. It takes viral marketing and interactive sharing to a whole other level. From the introductory phone call and the separate info line you’re encouraged to call to the hands on experience inside the event. From the need to think fast and speak up when asked to progress the experience to signing up online for the VIP program and speaking to the characters over Twitter and on the forums.

Your experience grows the more you interact. You are not bored when you participate. You are a vital and integral part of the show. The fourth wall does not end in front of you, it extends and ends behind you so it is up to you as an attendee not to break that experience.

You don’t need to know about anything in the story that has happened prior to the play, but it can make the experience more fun. The ZED team has done a good job of providing all that info in one spot on their homepage.

The show runs every night at 7:30pm until July 15th at the Annex WreckRoom at Bloor and Bathurst. Pro tip: be there for 7:15. You can get tickets are the door or order online via the Fringe’s site (be warned, the site is horrendous).

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