Grimms’ Fairytales in immersive theatre

As you may remember, one of the 30 new things I wanted to do this year was go to immersive theatre, and I’ve finally done it! I went to see Grimm Tales, a performance of five of the Grimms’ Fairytales rewritten by Philip Pullman. I’ve been a fan of Philip Pullman since childhood way back in the days of The Ruby in the Smoke, and he was the first author I saw at a book reading; he signed my copy of His Dark Materials and I loved him!

When I saw that Pullman had rewritten Grimms’ Fairytales, I knew this was the perfect production for me. Performed in the underground tunnels of Shoreditch Town Hall, and it was the eerie atmospheric setting I hoped for as soon as I walked through the door. Some people may have an issue with the term ‘immersive’ being used to describe this production, because it’s more like promenade theatre. On arrival the audience is given a coloured band, black or red, and depending on your colour depends on the direction you turn when you walk through the entrance door. From there, the audience follows the actors from room to room through dark corridors, sitting on parts of the stage but not being ‘part of the performance’. The actors act around you, and don’t engage or interact with anyone in the audience. That’s just the way I like it! 

Little Red Riding Hood in Grimm Tales (Picture from The Standard)
Little Red Riding Hood (Picture from The Standard)
The Juniper Tree in Grimm Tales (Picture from The Times)
The Juniper Tree (Picture from The Times)
The Three Snake Leaves in Grimm Tales (Picture from What's Peen Seen)
The Three Snake Leaves (Picture from What’s Peen Seen)

Each performance lasted 20-30 minutes and there weren’t more than 40 people in our audience group. Along with Little Red Riding Hood, The Juniper Tree and The Three Snake Leaves we also saw Rapunzel. (Apologies for the borrowed images – cameras were band during performances, unsurprisingly.) 

My biggest concern with immersive theatre has always been the amount of walking involved. Grand performances in large warehouses may be more commonly associated with the term, but I (obviously) far preferred the smaller scale performance that allowed me to be seated in every performance. Not only was this a tick on the activity list, but it was fibro-friendly one at that!