Monday 27 May 2024

Enter an alluring bachanalian world with new immersive experience, When Night Comes

With much anticipation, Broad Encounters' new immersive experience is coming to Melbourne next month. After the record-breaking and award-winning production of A Midnight Visit and the recent, equally captivating Love Lust Lost, Broad Encounters are back with something different, something wilder, and something more rousing than ever before.

We spoke with the minds behind this upcoming theatrical adventure with co-creators and directors, Kirsten Siddle, Mike Finch and Scott Maidment.

 When Night Comes appears to be Broad Encounters' most ambitious and exciting project to date. Promising a unique, multi-sensory and intoxicating performance with theatre and cocktails, When Night Comes invites people into a tempting, intimate soiree with visions, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings to be met via its cast of sublime characters.

When Night Comes was born from an earlier work by Broad Encounters over two years ago, A Journey Most Unusual. "This was also for small groups only where they journeyed within a fantastical world where the senses were indulged and ignited," Siddle tells me. "I’ve often contemplated Hedonist and Dionysian philosophies and wanted to explore this more deeply in something that argued for sensorial pleasure and delight, both physiological and those of a magical and intuitive nature. Like much of our former work, When Night Comes, aims to be an escape from the ordinary, and an evening of marvellous extraordinary."

Previous productions allowed audiences to wander through the maze of rooms and locations and follow the characters they were interested in, or scour the rooms and admire the astonishing design of these shows, but with When Night Comes, the structure has been reconsidered. "Rather than the choose-your-own adventure experience, When Night Comes is a progressive piece, with a linear narrative, through a series of interactions and encounters. It is made for groups of 16 people at a time, whereas in the past we have had large numbers into the space," Maidment explains. "The intimacy of When Night Comes is truly special, and the action is continuous throughout. It still contains the Broad Encounters’ immersive style though, so everyone will be in the same room with the performers and can choose to engage with them if they wish."

"People should expect an amazing time within a wholly distinct and bespoke environment," Maidment continues. "They are in for a surprising, decadent, spectacularly fun evening. When Night Comes will be a night that will never be forgotten, a night where people can let themselves go and sample The Society’s (the hosts for the night) hedonistic approach to life."

Included in this hedonistic approach, attendees can try a number of delicious drinks during their visit. "The sense of flavour and taste is a really unusual element to activate in a piece of theatre," Finch tells me. "In Love Lust Lost a few audience members had an occasional shot, oyster or other delight, but in When Night Comes, we are taking this further. We’ve concocted elegant cocktails and mocktails that are woven into the show for every audience member, placing an additional layer to the storytelling."

"Each aspect of immersive theatre is like a unique track within a complex piece of music – that when it is played, makes something greater than the sum of the parts. Switching on and engaging everyone’s taste buds become another element along with the visual and tactile offerings of sets and props, touch, sound, scent and, of course, your sixth sense.

Clearly Finch's enthusiasm of immersive arts extends beyond providing cocktails for guests but watching their wonderment as they are transported to another world. "Immersive theatre is the opportunity to attend a series of intimate and fantastical dinner parties. For people to drop their inhibitions and suspend disbelief, but past that, it prepares them to see the real world, the world they walk out into after the show, in a new way," he says. "My favourite kinds of performance send audiences back out onto the street seeing the world differently, and perhaps behaving differently too!"

Broad Encounters have made incredibly elaborate and dazzling productions over the years, and When Night Comes seems like it will be another memorable event. It’s something the team are keen to continue doing for as long as possible. "We’re really keen to just make absorbing, entertaining and enriching experiences," Siddle concludes. "Experiences that provide an escape from everyday woes or boredom, that ignite imaginations and create a sense of awe and wonder, and perhaps fresh love for life!

Show Details

Venue: Austral Theatre, 200 Johnston St. Collingwood
Season: 11 - 3 August | Tues - Sat, various times
Tickets: From $63
Bookings: When Night Comes

Secondary image credit:
Anna Kucera

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