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0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Times New Roman’; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 15.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} My first immersive experience was well, when I read. I couldn’t feel anything couldn’t hear anything and I was fully into the world that author had created, and it was my drug.

I had half of my youth spending reading. However as I grow older I found out that not lots of people were able to feel the way I was feeling while reading a book. They did not enjoy the feeling or able to go on an adventure with me. So I used to give an example to my friends to make them understand how it feel like to read. It started like this. We all have had similar experience of immersion, where you zone out of your own usual world and stepping into a new world like alice stepping into a rabbit hole in book ‘Alice in wonderland’.

When they still don’t understand water was the medium I used a lot to explain the feeling. When you jump into the deep water pool you are plunging your whole body into alternative medium and experiencing weird sensation. Placing yourself in a strange environment where it can be potentially dangerous but somehow comforting. Then you can’t walk straight or breath normally, the normal things is not normal anymore, and the rules that used to apply in your world doesn’t always work on that world. The feeling of total immersion might sounds like I’m in drug, which I’ve never done in my entire life, but when I think of it carefully I think that could be like how I feel while I read. I was having this amazing feeling while reading when no one- actually except for one person, I did met one person who agrees with me about reading book perfectly- can understand my feeling. And all my life I wanted to create something that can make people feel the same way, until I went to have this amazing performance called ‘dialog in the dark’. Before that film was closest as I could get, when people can not understand what I meant I thought using visual language of art and showing them would be the perfect way to communicate with them.

However Then I found out instead of communicating with audience of using just 2 senses, seeing and hearing, there are new way of communicating with audience using all 5 sense, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling, and that was ‘immersive theatre’. In the work of immersive theatre I was able to feel that holds brief moments of immersion within a wider artistic performance. Another possible way of visually communicating the world I create I thought the Virtual reality, and Game design was another way. I can see the similarity between two very different design. They both produce the wild range of work under research deeply into strategies to create all human contact, which is simply called ‘interactive design.’ When graphic design, which includes game design, and user interactive design with virtual reality videos and stuff are stopped in 2 dimension world, immersive theatre went forward and created 3 dimensional world. By creating 3 dimensional world which could be connected to audience more than ever they are to consider the human interaction in various ways, specially focus on creating intimidate relations to 5 senses. Since I am a graphic design student who study design and interaction, which consider the interaction with audience, user, consumer, I wanted to study immersive theatre, and how they create a space, or experience of people they are communicating with.

Understand the perspective of performer, and the audience. I also thought immersive theatre have very intimate reaction to branding design, another part of design which I am very interested at. I believe one of the main purpose of branding design is to create the experience of consumer. I loved the idea of creating an amazing experience of people, and make them happy, which is also very similar to event design. I thought immersive design have the same goal eventually, letting people have amazing time, and make them appreciate the time they are having using art.  Immersive theatre started from immersive practice which arises from the fusion of installation art and physical and visual theatres of 1980s. It’s mix of ingredients involving architecture, landscape, scenography, sound, performance, scenography, act, and direct human contact.

 I only had the experience of theatre but not a single knowledge about the theatre itself, so I had to start my research from very beginning. While writing this essay I prefer to use the term immersive theatre more than immersive performance because performance covers more various parts of arts and that the barrier way more larger than what I was trying to explore so I prefer to say immersive theatre. When I first started the researching I thought immersive theatre, or immersive performance, was just all about presenting their performance which no longer had boundary called stage and theatre work that has direct human contact, and interaction with audience. However there were more to learn and there were so many distinguishable range of work. I was amazed that immersive performance works were not actually stopped in the theatre and they go way beyond the board of theatre and explore on the stage called the world. I had researched several performance design studio to see and explore the wide range of internationally recognised practitioner called Blast theory, First God, Royale de Luxe, De La Guarda, Fuerza Bruta, Sound & Fury, Ontrerend Goed, Shunt and Reial Companyia de Teatre de Catalunya. When I was looking at Blast theory there were a performance called ‘Operation Black Antler’ which was co-created by Hydrocracker, another critically acclaimed immersive theatre company.

I makes you enter the murky world as an undercover surveillance and you will to be a spy in a small group of people your job is to get to know the wanted people. In their website it is written that this project willl make you ask yourself about the morality of state- sanctioned spying, and from a first- hand perspective, you have to reflect on the consequences of your decision when making your own decision. I thought that was amazing but what shocked me was as I mentioned, and that you can easily see from the trailer people go into a club looking place, out into the world. Another example was performance called ‘Midnight madness’ by third rail projects, the company quickly became my favourite immersive theatre company while researching for the work, their works were fasinating and I think that their work actually consider the audience’s interest and the wants that they never knew that existed in their heart. I would want to go and experience their work someday.

Anyways, back to the point, the ‘Midnight Madness’ was based on New York city, and the stage was New York city itself! It was first time in event history that they have adding city-wide mega puzzle to an interctive performance element at the very centre of East New York.There were various theatre company including secret cinema which I have been to, and the others were Oily Cart, Lotos Collective, Forster & Heighes, Periplum, Oily Cart Skewed Visions, Oily Cart, walkabout Theater. Also the leading exponents such as Art Angel, Back to back Theatre, Coney, Dreamthinks speak, Adrian Howells, Lundahl & Seitl, Silvia Mercuriali, Nimble Fish, Punchdrunk, Wild Works, Louise Annwilson. While exploring those companies and artists it showed that the they produced wild range of work under research deeply into all strategy of human contact. How they see, feel, smell, touch, and taste on each circumstance in detailed way.

For example I watched an interviews of David Korins (‘Here Lieu Love’ Scenic Designer), Randy Weiner (‘Sleep no more’ producer), and Zach Morris (Thrid Rail Projects’ co – artistic director). They have each stage effect and state of each choice made in set or the way of placing the performance even the corner of the corridor was established considering based on immersive movement of the audience. I thought that had very close relation to Interactive design that I am currently studying at Central Saint Martins.

We learn to communicate with the audience considering what they see. However in our sense most of the time we only have to consider the visual reaction, because creating web design, poster design, publication, advertising, illustration most of us creates 2 dimensional design. I thought by understanding the all the circumstances in theatre design and interacting with audience I though I would be able to understand more deeply into the understanding of audience, that was why I wanted to explore on immersive theatre even though it might not make sense, but by exploring further in other part of the art I thought I would be able to get to understand much more various ways. I always wanted to beyond the border of the Graphic Design, I do understand the reason the made the boarder, however I hate the thought that I have to just explore within the boarder. Therefore I would like to understand the perspective each audience, and the performer in 5 senses more in dept which can be apply to Graphic design eventually.

 The whole idea started from my interest in theatre. One day after going to one of immersive theatre in London I have been in love with theatre more because as a audience, I feel rather passive during the show. I can glaze at the actors eyes, I can feel the story more personally. Every act can be same but different in various ways, different audience creates different atmosphere of the theatre every show. However in the interactive theatre show, which are called ‘immersive theatre’ in professional word, audience can be, and will be more passive than any other theatre.  When you see a scene of a actor found himself in a room dead bodies covered with blood, we could think ‘oh he must be terrified, it must be scary for the actors on stage’, but when you are actually standing in the space when actor is running through the room covered with blood, that is whole different experience.There are many ideas of immersive theatre and each artist describe their own particular intrusions and special approach and style in creating such work, consistently supporting work which explores boundaries of art and life.

However unlike other form of art immersive theatre does not stop there. Audience play more important role than any other form of art as an interactive artwork. Immersive oneself means to involve oneself into particular medium or get interested in one activity or interest. To experience the immersive theatre audience’s act of immersion, their will to be immerse into the scene should be combine. It’s like open – ended conversation with artist’s initial idea and rest to be left enabled by audience’s imagination.

Inside the sensory theatrical world audience experiencing epic storytelling ad including role – play to give the final touch to the show. Without audience participating we won’t be able to finish the show. There are several ways to create to be interactive with audience, by having intimate encounters in the performance experience such as ‘one-on-on’ or ‘one-to-one’ audience explore direct connection, space and individual interaction. And people have this desire for genuine physical connection, which means people have genuine wish to make human contact in everyday world. When people try to be imaginatively and they need to be touch they should walk themselves to to go beyond understanding the theatre.

 In that was we can ‘minimize the fiction’, which is a way for audience to be fully immersive, the setting should be theatricalise for audience to touch things to make the scenery feel more realistic. Installation intimacy should be consider creating one because the viewer physically enters the art. It is the fundamental immaterial -material utilised by designers creating sites for theatrical performance. To create those space in immersive theatre there need to be many different designers. Space is a stuff of architects, who construct it, scenographer, who abstract it, audience, who experienced by in habitants and immerse within it.(emphasis original, 2011) Also to create the immersivity designers should consider in it’s own world, space, scenography, sound, duration, interdisciplinary, hybridised practice, bodies, the audience, and the safety for both the audience-participants, and the artists during the event. But the most important thing to have on creation is of course  intension and the expertise. Another thing to consider is immersive technologies and sensual technologies which came form the recent influence of installation art.

Also the immersion can be in different form such absorption, transportation.Susan Bennett once said ” the involvement of the audience in the theatrical even is undoubtedly complex’ and this is specially true on immersive theatre. The audience’s involvement evolve the theatre culture these days. immersive theatre is performance in which the audience really finds themselves within a world which they are able to navigate one which they have agency.

The landscape that you find yourself in rather it is literal landscape or a cynic landscape. you might find yourself in the water, the play is all around you. It is most powerful visual experience you can have on theatre. There are no lines between the actor and the audience, whole experience is blur like a dream. ‘Alternates between the status of the individual experiencing the work. Alternates between that of a passive consumer, and that of witness, an associate, a client, a guest, co-producer, and protagonist (Bourriaud, 2006)  passive observer but have ability to explore opportunity to have intimate encounter with the actor, and the situation.

The best part is that we can interacting with the performers. There is no central story, there is no answer to the story. Each one will go home with different story on their mind from the theatre. That was one of the weirdest experience I had after the interactive theatre. For the most theatre after the performance when you walk out the door I have never felt curious.

However after watching, or should I say participating in the ‘Alice in Underground’ my brain was full of question marks. I was so curious that what would had happened if I choose ‘drink me’ instead of ‘eat me’ what will I see if I have choose black spade card instead of red diamond? I wanted to go back to theatre and watch it again. It was such a new and great theatre experience. When everything is blur and the whole experience is blur you get attached to the material in a so much more powerful way.

emotional content is very important with immersive theatre. I think as a designer I think we need to know that why we are doing this and what we want people to feel like.It’s how people move through space. performance and designers set thing up and the audience comes in and everything is different. actors are dealing with the audience who are the set.

so without the set who knows what you are going to have? some cases designer would expect one thing and it’s gone completely in a different direction and the different direction could be much greater in a way.Sally Banes detailed classify needs for performance in six categories. First to illustrate the words, character, places, and actions. Seconds to evoke a mood or ambience. Third to complement or contrast with aural, visual signs. Forth to summon specific memories. Fifth to frame the performance as ritual, sixth to serve as a distancing device.

I’m no expertise of immersive theatre however I think I have begun to understand the importance of interaction with audience, and the way to have communicate with them beyond the visual language. I think with my barrier of language I am feeling a bit sad that I think I wasn’t able to put everything I have learned from writing this essay, however as a designer I feel like I have developed myself one step a head and I think I wlll be exploring more into other design parts during the summer holiday. I enjoyed writing and reading books about new part of design, and listening to the interviews and searching for the new things.


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