Immersive experiences are certainly having a moment, from art galleries to sensory experiences hosted by food brands. One thing you won’t see on your Instagram feed: immersive theatre. Here before the explosion in immersive trends, immersive theatre troubles the barrier between audience and show. Fancy getting involved? These are the best shows to catch in London now.
The Best Immersive Theatre Shows In London
The Gunpowder Plot
Journey back to the events of 1605 with this immersive theatre show, which follows Guy Fawkes and a group of conspirators plotting to blow up parliament. Taking place in a purpose-designed space beneath the Tower of London – the site where much of the prelude to the Gunpowder Plot actually took place – the show features a mixture of live theatre, technology and virtual reality, making you the protagonist with Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films) taking on the digital role of Guy Fawkes. Visitors are tasked with infiltrating the plotters’ inner circle and making a dangerous attempt to escape the Tower. Expect a high-energy experience that engages all your senses, complete with motion simulators and impressive special effects.
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When? Currently booking until September 2023
BOOK IT: gunpowderimmersive.com
The Burnt City
Acclaimed theatre company Punchdrunk returns to London for the first time in eight years with The Burnt City, which tells the story of the greatest Greek tragedy, the fall of Troy. Set across two Grade II-listed buildings in the company’s new home in Woolwich, The Burnt City takes viewers to a dystopian world where Greece teeters on the brink of victory. This is no traditional theatre experience: you’re invited to wander at your own will, opening doors and crawling through secret passages. Will you choose to follow the characters who emerge from the shadows? Or will you break free from the crowd and discover mysteries lying in wait at the heart of the labyrinth?
When? Currently booking until 23 September 2023
BOOK IT: punchdrunk.com
Dead On Time
Ever wanted to step into the crime novels written by the likes of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle? With the help of British Pullman, now you can. Hop abord the iconic steam train – journeying through picturesque Kent, starting and finishing at London Victoria – and be transported back to 1951, where a group of characters are making their way to London for the Festival of Britain. Disaster falls, however, when someone is found murdered. It’s up to you, along with your fellow passengers, to solve the case and find the culprit before it’s too late. Read more about the experience here
When? Dates throughout 2023
BOOK IT: belmond.com
The Murdér Express
Speaking of trains, climb aboard The Murdér Express, an immersive theatre experience set on a glamorous 19th century-style train in East London. Sip drinks from Pedley Street Station’s ‘Seven Sins’ Bar and enjoy food from MasterChef finalist Louisa Ellis as the mysterious story unfolds around you. As you journey to the (fictional) town of Murdér, expect to be joined by characters such as East End Costermonger Frank, music hall star Tilley and local antique dealer Cliff.
When? Currently booking until November 2023
BOOK IT: funicularproductions.com
The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience
Travel back in time to HG Wells’ dark Victorian England in a multi-sensory immersive experience, taking place at The Old London Metal Exchange. Using immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality holograms and other cutting-edge technology, visitors will be able to experience the fictional Martian invasion narrated in HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds, and in Jeff Wayne’s musical interpretation of the story. Audiences will be guided along in small groups of 12 by live and virtual actors, as they walk, crawl and slide through different scenes: from drinking tea in a Victoria household while Martians roam outside to witnessing an enormous Martian Fighting Machine rise above them in virtual reality. The experience stimulates all the senses – you’ll smell the grass and feel the chill of the story’s famous Horsell Common, and feel the ground shake as the first cylinder lands. The total run lasts for 110 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission in the Red Weed Bar. Finish by enjoying a bite to eat and a drink at the steampunk themed bar.
When? Booking until 31 December 2023
BOOK IT: thewaroftheworldsimmersive.com
Witness For The Prosecution
Situated in the spectacular Chamber Room in the old London County Hall on the Southbank, Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution is London’s longest-running site-specific theatre production. A story of justice, passion and betrayal, viewers are immersed in court room surroundings as the gripping plot unfolds. Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. Will Leonard survive the shocking witness testimony? Will he be able to convince the jury – and you – of his innocence, and escape the hangman’s noose?
When? Until 24 April 2024
Featured image: Dead on Time, courtesy of British Pullman © The Other Richard.