Word Stock Market: Immersive

The Word Stock Market is an occasional feature on SellingOut.com, where I will tell you whether to buy, sell or hold a certain word based on whether that word has a strong future or has seen better days. For example, if you’d bought the word “hybrid” 10 years ago (when it meant a cross between a horse and a donkey, not an eco-friendly car), you’d be rich today. On the other hand, if you’d bought “digital camera,” you’d be broke.

Today’s Word Stock is “Immersive,” by which I mean the recent trend toward events and performances where, to one degree or another, the audience isn’t just a stationary spectator. Shows like Sleep No More, Here Lies Love, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 and more recently Queen of the Night are great examples of this.

Shows like this can be great, and the demand for them can be robust and ongoing. They’re harder, in a way, to stage than regular, seated shows because you have to take account of where the audience goes, and how the story can be told in nonlinear ways (or if there even is a story), and how the whole experience works into the “show.” If you had bought “immersive” just two or three years ago, you’d have made a fortune. At this point, it’s somewhat less clear. The interest continues, as Queen of the Night is off to a hot start, and more and more shows are influenced by immersive works.

What we’re in for is more, including some pretty bad work. It’s bound to happen, and at some point, there will be those who declare that the whole immersive project is unwinding or jumping the shark. But just like anything that succeeds, it will have good and bad examples, and the more of it that there is, the wider the spectrum of quality. Still, there will be more productions, more success and more interest in the future.

RATING: BUY. Don’t get nervous when things get a little wobbly over the next period of time. This is a long-term winner.


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