Punchdrunk: Immersive Doyens Return In 2024 With "Moonlit Fever Dream"

Punchdrunk: Immersive Doyens Return In 2024 With "Moonlit Fever Dream"
A mansion house with a huge moon hovering over it
Punchdrunk promise an audio-led 'moonlit fever dream' for their next show. Image: Punchdrunk

If most theatres requested you to take your shoes off at the door, you might reply rather curtly.

But when its Punchdrunk — doyens of immersive, mask-wearing, non-linear plays — you're more than happy to go with the flow.

Following their ancient Greece-tinged hit show The Burnt City, Punchdrunk will open up a new experience, called Viola's Room, in May 2024 at their Woolwich home. Taking inspiration from Barry Pain's gothic mystery The Moon-Slave, Viola's Room is penned by Booker Prize-shortlisted Daisy Johnson, and invites you to don headphones and walk barefoot in small groups, through a maze-like installation as an unseen narrator guides you on journey revealing a story of 'innocence lost and obsession unleashed'.

The preview notes are — as is par for the course with Punchdrunk, who've been going since 2000 — somewhat nebulous. Although because Viola's Room is an adaptation of sorts, you can surmise the kind of things you might encounter: we'd wager unconventional dancing, perfumed air, ominous drumming and floods of milky moonlight. We are promised "an intimate, linear, audio-driven adventure that promises to suffuse the dreams of those who dare to follow the light."

It's interesting that Viola's Room bucks Punchdrunk's non-linear trend (and masks may not be required for this show either), although now the outfit are comfortable in their permanent south London home, more experimentation and variety in general is on the cards.

Says Felix Barrett, Punchdrunk's founder and artistic director: "When The Burnt City closed, our laboratory opened, and Woolwich became Punchdrunk's home to experiment, play and develop — allowing us to prototype long held dreams and new ideas. Our ambition over the coming years is to open our doors as never before, offering audiences a chance to experience the evolution of these ideas from limited runs to larger-scale works."

Viola's Room launches with previews on 14 May 2024 and opens on 22 May 2024 for a limited run. Tickets go on general sale 20 March 2024

Last Updated 19 March 2024