Online Series: How We Work
Join the Parabolic Theatre creative team over the course of 5 weeks for an insightful series on our approach to interactive and immersive theatre.
Each session will introduce a key element of creating interactive theatre and is designed to equip participants with the tools to begin devising interactive work.
DATES (Tuesday Evenings):
11 May (Q&A, £5)
Time: 6pm-8pm, BST
Tickets: £15 per session,
£5 for the Q&A
(£50 for all 4 sessions + Q&A)
Events will be delivered over Zoom.
Each session lasts 2 hours, with scheduled breaks.
There are free spaces available to artists from underrepresented backgrounds, please email us to book a free place.
Please get in touch if you have any access requirements: firstname.lastname@example.org
Week 1 | HERE BE DRAGONS
Making work off the edge of the map
Owen Kingston (Artistic Director) and Zoe Flint (Artistic Associate)
Parabolic Theatre's work is known for responding dynamically to the creativity of the audience, offering remarkable levels of audience agency. In this session we will examine Parabolic Theatre's unique approach to creating immersive and interactive performance. We will look at how the immersive/interactive sphere is developing, and how distinct new creative roles are emerging within this sector. We will also examine the concept of adaptive narrative, and explore in detail the process of creating a show that will dynamically adapt to audience interaction whilst maintaining its overall structural integrity. Parabolic has pioneered a range of tools and processes for making this sort of complex work, and we will be discussing them here publicly in depth for the first time.
Week 2 | EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD
National anthems for fictional countries
Tom Black (Artistic Associate) and Owen Kingston (Artistic Director)
How do we draw someone into a story where their actions matter? How do we invest them in saving the country, rescuing the hostage, or not crashing the ship? We build a world that feels real, and that they want to be part of.
World-building is a fundamental part of creating a successful immersive experience. Huge amounts of work can go into building the backstory and setting of a Parabolic show, and just as much thought then goes into how the audience can find and interact with that information. Successful world-building ensures that every detail in the show points audiences towards the wider world, avoiding overwhelming streams of information or ‘info-dumps’.
This session explores where to begin when creating a world for your show to inhabit and the details to consider in the design, activities and characters that will enhance audience experience.
Week 3 | HANDING OVER CONTROL
Building interactive games that give audiences control over a show’s narrative
Christopher Styles (Artistic Associate) and Tom Black (Artistic Associate)
We’ll admit, ’Games’ can be a broad term in this context - for us it refers to the planned moments of interaction, that require audiences to roll up their sleeves, do some work and take control over how the narrative moves forward. Whether that’s negotiating with trade unions, writing (and delivering) a press statement on behalf of a political party or creating a battle plan for an entire army, these games are all designed to give our audience agency.
Taking it back to basics, we’ll look at the components of mechanics/games used in interactive theatre, where to begin when creating them, and what they can add to a show (with some tried-and-tested examples).
Week 4 | TOOLS OF THE INTERACTIVE PERFORMER
An introduction to acting for immersive theatre
Zoe Flint (Artistic Associate) and Christopher Styles (Artistic Associate)
Interactive performance is a key element of Parabolic Theatre’s work. Actors and audience members not only speak directly to each other throughout, but both have the agency to change the course of the show. Our actors need to be ready to embrace a dynamic show structure, whilst maintaining the integrity of the world they have built. Theatre that is truly interactive.
Aimed at those who wish to develop their skills for performing in immersive theatre, whether this be your first job or your thousandth, this session will introduce you to some key principles of interactive performance and discuss the tools we use to deliver such work. We will also discuss safeguarding within immersive theatre and how actors, and the infrastructure of a production, can keep themselves safe.
Week 5 | JOINING THE DOTS: Q&A
How Parabolic Theatre Make Experiences
A Q&A/forum with the core Parabolic Theatre team, discussing how each element explored across this series fits together to create a successful show. We’ll present case studies from previous Parabolic Theatre shows, both in-person and online experiences, to demonstrate our unique approach to interactive and immersive theatre.
Panel: Owen Kingston, Tom Black, Zoe Flint and Christopher Styles
Moderated by Dr Joanna Bucknall (University of Birmingham)