Immersive theatre can be tricky to define. With proscenium and traditionally staged productions making innovative leaps and bounds, the line between forms of theatre can be a bit blurry.
At the most basic level, immersive theatre is any form of theatre in which the audience inhabits the same world as the performers. In other words, the audience is placed inside the fourth wall. Many traditional shows have played with this idea, stretching the world of the show to include the audience, like productions of Urinetown charging audience members to use the toilets, or the 2019 Broadway revival of Oklahoma! serving cornbread and chili to audience members. However, while these tactics may increase an audience member's immersion in the world of the play, it doesn't necessarily qualify as immersive theatre.
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The main difference between traditional theatre and immersive theatre is the role the audience plays within the production. In traditional productions, the audience primarily operates as an observer, watching the narrative or performance unfold without any influence over the outcome of events. In immersive productions, the audience live in the same world as the characters in the play, with agency and influence over the environment, narrative, and dynamics between characters. In an immersive production, an audience member may be able to interact with characters or the set, and their actions have meaningful repercussions on the course of the performance.
No. There are a wide variety of styles of immersive theatre, with new versions created every day! However, immersive styles generally fall on a scale from Promenade to Interactive, rated based on how much agency the audience has during the production. Promenade productions are frequently very narratively focused, with audience members guided throughout the experience by actors. Audience members rarely have an opportunity to alter the story in these productions, and instead explore the world of the play while the story unfolds around them. Interactive productions frequently involve game mechanics, in which audience members are required to make decisions, solve riddles, and interact with characters in order to progress the narrative. The story of these productions can change each night based on the audience responses, and sometimes even have multiple endings.
While our style shifts from production to production, LTC generally creates interactive immersive theatre. We use game mechanics and adaptive storytelling to put you smack in the middle of the action. We feel very strongly about our community engaging directly with our productions, adding your voices and opinions to the work we create. In a Ludens show, you can expect to be at the center of the story, crafting the world around you with the help of your fellow audience members. We want to start a conversation, and we want you to be at the heart of it.