What is Immersive Theater?

Immersive Theater 101

Most theater productions are simple. You buy your ticket, you sit in your seat, and you watch what happens on the stage.

Here at the Speakeasy, things are a bit different. The entire space is the stage. From the moment you step down the dark stairwell, it’s as if you’re walking through a time portal into a different world. You’re not simply sitting in a seat watching things happen, you’re a visitor (and sometimes even a participant) in a parallel universe. You’re surrounded by the characters who inhabit in this world, living their lives, drinking, laughing, arguing, falling in love, falling out of love. And you’re right in the middle of it all.

After the first 40 minutes, you’re free to wander where you want (except for the doors with a plaque marked “private”), listen to who you want to listen to, pay attention to your surroundings or not pay attention at all (as long as you keep your voice down for those who are paying attention).

If one area seems comfortable, stay there. If you see a character doing something that seems interesting, follow them. If you feel like having a more traditional show experience for a bit, swing by the cabaret and enjoy the torch songs, chorus girls and vaudeville antics from a bygone era.

Having this sort of freedom is unfamiliar to many theatergoers. It may be hard to tell who is a performer and who is another audience member. It may be hard to tell where you’re supposed to pay attention, or where you’re supposed to go. Just relax. There’s no right way to do it.

We can’t tell you which part of the stories you will see, which character you’ll learn about, or even whether the night will end in tragedy or celebration. That depends on where you go, who you end up with, and where the night takes you. The experience will probably be unlike any you’ve ever had, but thousands of guests and dozens of reviewers agree, it is not to be missed.

Once you experience the full breadth of immersive theater, you may have a hard time going back to sitting in a seat and staring at a stage…