Megan Stewart - Resident Director

"I have a deep love of traditional theatre - but when I think about the difference between directing and creating for traditional theatre versus immersive theatre, I feel a little like I’m looking at flat earth theory versus the sudden realisation that the earth is spherical. With traditional theatre, the play often lives in front of you. In immersive, it lives everywhere, all around you, in the nooks and crannies and in the peripheries. With traditional end-on theatre, you observe the world of the story. In immersive, you live within it, you wander through it, you are active and engaged and participate with a newfound power and energy. All curiosity and playfulness. 

The main character in a traditional show is a great actor, a trained performer. In immersive, the main character is you. The audience is the lifeblood of the show, they are an equal participant, contributor and star in the narrative. That is very exciting to prepare for: directing immersive is essentially making surround-story; meanwhile, gearing up for anything and everything that an audience can bring to the table. The audience become the actors’ scene partner, and so everything they give you, you must take and respond to in the moment. The show becomes its own living, breathing organism, delivering consistent story but also constantly adapting and moving. 

Your actors need to have the ability to deliver narrative consistently every time; whilst also staying open and fluid enough to know that no two performances will be the same. Too much improv, and the audience won’t know where they are or what the hell is going on in the overall story; too much locked scene, and the audience will be blocked out of the story, not able to feel seen nor involved in its outcome. When the balance is struck, the result is a fluid, exciting and adventurous ride where actor and audience take the reins of the story together. Both steering the ship. 

For anyone who has never tried immersive theatre; it’s ultimately fulfilling the childhood dream of stepping inside the fantasy; of going on your own adventure; of being the hero. If you think it’s not for you - it is. We’ve had everyone from ten year olds to eighty year olds coming through our walls. People who jump right in, to people who are quieter and less keen to dominate the story - every audience leaves invigorated at having been involved, even in a small way. You find that whatever kind of audience moves through, the gap ends up being narrowed anyway - when you’re being hit with the spray of the ocean, watching giant flames erupt, going down slides or simply just chatting to our lovely actors over a glass of bubbly or a sweetie, everyone just becomes a big kid having fun anyway. Come see for yourself, have a play."