Taking “Immersive” Theater to a Whole New Level

A scene from Jeff Stark's The Dreary Coast. Photo by Dan Glass.

A scene from Jeff Stark’s The Dreary Coast. Photo by Dan Glass.

A typical theater experience: You buy your tickets, arrive at the theater, maybe grab a drink or a snack, settle into your comfortable seat, silence your phone and enjoy the show.

The experience of “trespass theater”: You buy your tickets and wait for the secret meetup location to be revealed. You arrive in a dark alley or abandoned warehouse, surrender your cellphone and board what looks to be a condemned boat. As you float down the river you watch the scene unfold, but also keep an eye out for security guards or police, who might shut the whole show down.

Theatrical entertainment is certainly evolving, and Jeff Stark’s version of immersive theater in his show The Dreary Coast, which involves utilizing public waterway’s and industrial buildings (sans permission) is taking the trend to a whole new level.

However, Stark said in an interview with Dan Glass at CityLab.com that his shows aren’t necessarily about changing theater, but heightening what it’s intended to do:

“I think from the very beginning that theater is about sharing [a] moment together,” Stark says. “And what shows like [The Dreary Coast] do is remind the audience of their complicity in this relationship; you are on board, literally.”

Your show may not take place in an abandoned subway station or condemned power plant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to connect and share moments with your audience.

As Jim says, “A ticket to a great show or game is not just entertainment — it’s a personal upgrade.” 

What are you doing to elevate your audience’s experience and connect with them?

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