Punchdrunk: A Game Changing Form of Theatre

Punchdrunk came about from a desire to put audiences at the heart of the action. I had been involved in plenty of traditional theatre productions and I began to feel that there was something too passive about the experience people had when watching conventional theatre. I wanted to change that, to jolt audiences into a more engaged reaction - that is how the idea started.

The Creative Process

Normally music is the trigger, I can be listening to pretty much any genre of music and suddenly I will hear something that will spark an idea. More often than not it is an idea of a place, a world, into which people can be placed and then their story will take shape.

The Aesthethic

Our aesthetic is hard to pin down — I suppose but we try to conjure up the ghosts of the past - we are striving for a flavour that is familiar but somehow not quite right - dreamy but slightly unsettling. Frankly everything and anything can be inspiration - I wouldn’t be able to pin it down to a list!

The Production Challenges

For our main shows, finding buildings is often the first and biggest problem we encounter. Once we have secured the building our main challenge is the sheer volume of material that we have to generate.We get over these hurdles by having an amazing team of people and some amazing backers and supporters.

Collaborators

We are currently preparing a project in Shanghai - a Chinese production of Sleep No More - instrumental in making that production happen has been our Producing partner Shanghai Media Group. For each production we have similar co-producers and presenters.

Brand Partners


We work with brands when the opportunity allows us to try out new creative ideas. The brand partnerships are therefore exciting experimental opportunities for punchdrunk. For our main shows, it is extremely rare that brands are involved in the production itself. We may have sponsors but they are unlikely to be ‘in’ the show. In brand terms the most recent was Absolut Vodka.They helped us try out an idea which involved the intersection of digital gaming and live performance that we hope one day will become a full blown show.

Immersive Theatre

Most theatre only engages with your head. It is sometimes emotional, sometimes cerebral… but with immersive theatre all your senses fire at once; it is visceral, physical, emotional. You cannot be passive, the more you put in as an audience member the more you get out. I am proudest of the team of people that we have assembled to help realise all the amazing ideas. Audiences have got immersive theatre now - it has been around for while - so we as the makers of immersive theatre have to stretch ourselves even further, that in itself is exciting..

Team Credits

Project Tags

Companies

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    Felix Barrett
    Artistic Director of Punchdrunk
    Jon Davis
    Creative Producer
    JT
    Deputy Country Director