Immersive theatre - where to start?

Following on from my post about immersive theatre, here’s a rundown of what’s currently going on in the world of immersive theatre, as well as some shows to watch out for. Given that I live just over an hour away by train, most of my recommendations are for London-based productions, but I’ve included a couple of shows from outside the UK.

The War of the Worlds (Layered Reality)

This is one of two Layered Reality shows in this list, and, while both are great, The War of the Worlds has the edge for me. It has a permanent venue in the heart of the City of London, with a themed bar where you can relax and have a drink and something to eat before or after the show. The show is built upon Jeff Wayne’s rock opera version of the H G Wells novel, and it uses live action, VR sequences, pyrotechnics and other formats, to tell the story of a deadly alien invasion. You experience the show as part of a small group and you are guided through the set by various characters. Interaction is encouraged, and there are some humorous moments. It’s suitable for older children, and my eleven year-old thought it was one of the best things he’d ever done, despite the fact that our whole group kept lining up behind him and shoving him towards any threatening danger with cries of ‘Take him! Take the child!’

It’s a nice, light introduction to immersive theatre, if you’re not sure about leaping in. You experience the whole show with your group, and the performers are practised guides, so you can just relax and let the story happen around you.

Find out more and buy tickets at

The Gunpowder Plot (Layered Reality)

This is the second show by this company, and it’s another good one. It has a different feel to The War of the Worlds, with a slightly bigger audience – although the maximum capacity is still only sixteen – and slightly less direct interaction. It feels slightly more like a particularly engaging history lesson than a show as such, with video performances from Tom Felton who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, as well as VR segments and a set designed to take you back to early seventeenth century London. Once again, it’s a good way to dip a toe into the world of immersive theatre, particularly for families.

Tickets are available at

Sleep No More(Punchdrunk/Emursive)

Probably the most famous immersive show in the world, Sleep No More is a reworking of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with various other stories woven into it. It’s staged in what has come to be known as Punchdrunk’s trademark format, with the story looping three times, giving the masked and silent audience an opportunity to see different scenes each time. The show occupies several floors of a building in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood and, like all Punchdrunk shows, the set is a big part of the experience. The audience can explore freely, opening draws and searching through paperwork for a more detailed insight into the stories playing out around them. Separate to the main show, there’s a rooftop bar and a restaurant in the building, and the venue often hosts other live performances. The show was due to end its thirteen year run on 31 March, but has recently announced an extension to 27 May. It’s an intense, dreamlike experience, and if you’re based in New York or visiting over the next few weeks, I’d definitely think about booking tickets. It will also continue at its second location in Shanghai.

Have a look at the show’s website at

A Morte do Corvo(Lisbon)

A relative newcomer to the immersive theatre world, A Morte do Corvo is receiving rave reviews and has already been extended three times. Based around the work of Edgar Allen Poe and set in 1920s Lisbon, this show is being compared favourably to Punchdrunk shows. I’ve recently returned from a visit to this show and will be reviewing it shortly, but I can confirm that it’s very much worth the trip. It’s currently only booking till 21 April, but I’ve heard rumours that it may run on occasion beyond that date.

More information can be found at and tickets can be booked through Fever.

The Lost Estate

The Lost Estate are a company who stage what are probably best described as theatrical dining experiences. Their Dickens-themed The Great Christmas Feast has had several seasonal runs, and in 2022/2023 they also staged a successful Prohibition era show, The Jazz Age. Their next show, The Great Murder Mystery is a Sherlock Holmes themed production, due to open in March. I think it’s probably stretching the definition to describe these shows as immersive theatre, but given that they’re theatre, and immersive, I’m putting them in this list. I’ve seen both of their previous shows and thoroughly enjoyed them. You dine on the set of the show, with the action playing out around you as well as on the central stage. Most people at least give a nod to dressing appropriately for the theme, giving the show something of a party atmosphere.

You can find information about their upcoming production at

Viola's Room (Punchdrunk)

Following the closure of The Burnt City, Punchdrunk recently announced a new production which sounds as though it will be very different from their trademark masked shows. 

Barefoot and wearing headphones, audiences feel their way through a labyrinthine installation as an unseen narrator reveals a story of innocence lost and obsession unleashed.

Written by Booker Prize-shortlisted Daisy Johnson, Viola’s Room reimagines a classic gothic mystery for a new audience. It distils two decades of Punchdrunk’s immersive practice into an intimate sensory adventure that promises to infuse the dreams of anyone who dares to follow the light.

Find out more and book tickets here.

Phantom Peak

I’m not entirely sure how to describe Phantom Peak. Again, it’s probably not immersive theatre as such, but I’m including it anyway, because it’s great fun. It’s a Wild west themed world which you explore through a series of quests that are delivered to your phone. The quests are fairly simple, mainly involving carrying messages between characters, in order to solve some aspect of the central mystery, which changes season by season, allowing for repeat visits. There are puzzles to solve, utilising some fun steampunk-style technology, and a few challenges along the way. The experience runs for several hours, and there are various themed places to eat and drink. The set is done well, and the performers are engaged and engaging. It’s great for children of all ages, but it’s not just for families – there were plenty of adult groups when we visited. If you enjoy immersive theatre or escape rooms, or if you just fancy trying something a bit different, Phantom Peak is definitely worth a visit.

For tickets and information, have a look at their website at

So that’s my round-up of what’s going on in the immersive theatre world at the moment. If you go to any of these shows, I’d love to hear about your experiences. In my next post, I’ll be highlighting some companies and social media accounts worth following to make sure you find out about new show before they sell out.