After chairing events for London transfers of Creation Theatre’s The Pit and The Pendulum and Dracula, I was chuffed to be invited to see them on their ‘home turf’ in Oxford and host a post-show Q&A for their new gaming take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
I’ve seen a few productions of The Tempest – including earlier this year, Lazarus Theatre’s Brechtian gender-swapped approach at Greenwich Theatre – but I’ve never seen it done this way! And I’m willing to bet you haven’t either.
After boarding “Creation Cruises” at The King’s Centre, Oxford, the audience becomes shipwrecked along with the characters, experiencing the charms of Oxford’s Osney Island while traipsing through the woods, along the river and behind the scenes of local businesses turned into magical playgrounds. (How many Tempests involve a zombie chase in a butcher’s shop?!)
On Friday night, the fun continued after the performance with my extensive, and ever-expanding, Q&A with Creation’s executive director Lucy Askew and cast members Al Barclay, PK Taylor, Ryan Duncan, Madeleine MacMahon, Itxaso Moreno, Chris Robinson, Simon Spencer-Hyde, Annabelle Terry and Giles Stoakley, plus game interns William Van Walwyk and Michael Deacon.
What do we mean by so many different terms: game versus immersive, site-specific, site-responsive and experiential theatre? Where did it all start? What special challenges are there for performers, companies and theatregoers? How do the cast deal with real-world interventions – dogs, cyclists, weather? And just how brilliant are adapter/director Zoe Seaton, designer Ryan Dawson Laight, as well as the behind-the-scenes team and participating businesses that make it possible?
Watch – and please share – the full #CreationTempest post-show Q&A below. If you’re in, near or can get to Oxford, I highly recommend you experience this one for yourself. But you’ll have to act quickly: it’s selling out fast.
Event photography by Peter Jones.
Production photography by Richard Budd.